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Final Girls by Riley Sager
Horror

Final Girls

by Riley Sager

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A slasher film, a mystery, and a survival story all rolled into one. Think Gone Girl meets American Horror Story.

Synopsis

"The first great thriller of 2017 is almost here: Final Girls, by Riley Sager. If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll like this."—Stephen King

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.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, 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. 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, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Final Girls

From chapter one:

Pine Cottage, 1am

The forest had claws and teeth.

All those rocks and thorns and branches bit at Quincy as she ran screaming through the woods. But she didn't stop. Not when rock dug into the soles of her bare feet. Not when a whip-thin branch lashed her face and a line of blood streaked down her cheek.

Stopping wasn't an option. To stop was to die. So she kept running, even as a bramble wrapped around her ankle and gnawed at her flesh. The bramble stretched, quivering, before Quincy's momentum yanked her free. If it hurt, she couldn't tell. Her body already held more pain than it could handle.

It was instinct that made her run. An unconscious knowledge that she needed to keep going, no matter what. Already she had forgotten why. Memories of five, ten, fifteen minutes ago were gone. If her life depended on remembering what prompted her flight through the woods, she was certain she'd die right there on the forest floor. So she ran. She screamed. She tried not to think about dying.

A white glow appeared in the distance, faint along the tree-choked horizon.

Headlights.

Was she near a road? Quincy hoped she was. Like her memories, all sense of direction was lost. She ran faster, increased her screams, raced toward the light.

Another branch whacked her face. It was thicker than the first, like a rolling pin, and the impact both stunned and blinded her. Pain pulsed through her head as blue sparks throbbed across her blurred vision. When they cleared, she saw a silhouette standing out in the headlights' glow.

A man.

Him.

No. Not him.

Someone else.

Safety.

Quincy quickened her pace. Her blood-drenched arms reached out, as if that could somehow pull the stranger closer. The movement caused the pain in her shoulder to flare. And with the pain came not a memory, but an understanding. One so brutally awful that it had to be real.

Only Quincy remained.

All the others were dead.

She was the last one left alive.

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Why I love it

Have you ever watched a horror movie and yelled, "Don’t go in there!" at the screen? Do you flee at the first sign of trouble? Do you always trust your instincts? Then you too could be a Final Girl, a member of a very exclusive club in this epic, adrenaline-fueled thriller!

"Final Girl" is the term the media gives to the sole survivors of horror movie-like mass killings. Quincy Carpenter is a Final Girl, having lived through a massacre in the Pine Cottage cabin in a forest in Pennsylvania, in which her college friends, as well as the perpetrator, were killed. There’s also Sam, who survived The Sack Man motel attacks near Tampa, and Lisa, who escaped a sorority house bloodbath. Despite the plights of each of the girls being well publicized, the girls never meet.

Years later, Quincy is living a quiet, somewhat normal life. She has a successful food blog, a loving boyfriend, and when she needs to talk about her past, she confides in Coop, the police officer who rescued her from the homicidal maniac. But when she learns that one of the other Final Girls has taken her own life, and another one shows up at her doorstep in distress, Quincy is thrust back into reliving her ordeal as she tries to find out the truth of her past.

Holy cats, this is a fun, twisted thrill ride that moves at a breakneck pace! It’s a slasher film, a mystery, and a survival story all rolled into one. Think Gone Girl meets American Horror Story.

I sped through the book in one sitting. With each twist and turn, I changed my mind about these girls. Are they the victim of horrific crimes, just disturbed young people, or something else entirely? The answer will shock and amaze you. Sager teases out the details of past and present just enough to keep you reading the book long into the night—and leaves you afraid to go to sleep.

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Member ratings (19,275)

  • Amanda S.

    Cedar Grove, WI

    Mesmerizing! The plot twists were BIG and I didn’t see them coming. Great story, exceptionally well written. Another wonderful Sager novel. Would highly recommend to those who enjoy horror. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Ashley S.

    Lenexa, KS

    Officially love Riley Sager books. Ordered this after finishing The Last Time I Lied. Couldn’t put this down. Every time I thought I guessed a twist an even crazier one came out of no where⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Lindsay L.

    Arvada, CO

    I was hooked from page one. Every book I read by Riley Sager is amazing, I love his writing style it’s very engaging and I never see the twists coming. This book was spectacular! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Cheyenne P.

    Woodruff, SC

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book took me on a ride! At NO point in this book did I know who did what. I kept trying to guess but I was always wrong. I don't like predictable books & this definitely wasn't predictable.

  • Jennifer G.

    Summit, MS

    I loved this Final Girl book. I had read one last year that had a similar plot and it just fell flat for me. This book was so much better! The twist at the end was so surprising. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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