Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Final Girls ~ Riley Sager (earc) review [@riley_sager @DuttonBooks]

Final Girls
July 11, 2017
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancĂ©, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Final Girls is a novel full of thrilling twists and turns, the unexpected and true shocks and surprises.
Quincy Carpenter is a Final Girl, "the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre." But that was ten years ago and she is doing fine now; she has a baking website, a live-in boyfriend, a great apartment. She's moved on.

Or at least, that's what she wants everyone (including herself) to believe.

Though the Pine Cottage Murders are what made Quincy a Final Girl and finally remembering everything that happened may be so important, Final Girls is not a grisly, gruesome, bloody horror novel. Due to Quinn's lack of memory readers only see the before and the after of the murders. As she tries to remember things and as other details are given (through other means) we do get more specifics, but don't not read this because you don't like horror novels.

The more we see of Quinn and Sam, the more we know how deeply their pasts have affected them. Even though Quinn is 'fine' and has moved on, the appearance of Sam causes some cracks to form in that put together image. It becomes only a question of if it's for Quinn's betterment or to her detriment.

There were so many times I questioned Quinn's actions, her decisions, her thoughts on another character ("The only thing Sam lied about was xxx, and I know all about that now." [pg117] Except you don't know something's a lie until told/shown otherwise.) but all of it fit her character. As frustrating as it was, I also understood it - and it all came together fantastically well.

We are given enough to know that all is not what it seems (nor is everyone who they seem) but what makes this such a great thriller and mystery is that we're not sure what - or who - is the truth. When we do finally have it all, when the full truth (and not just this character or that character's idea of it) is revealed it's shocking and startling, even a bit of a betrayal. But at the very end it's all so very satisfying.
Quincy Carpenter's friends are murdered at a cabin in teh woods -
and Final Girls is full of just as much of the unexpected
I am looking forward to more from Riley Sager and absolutely recommend Final Girls.

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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