Friday, July 14, 2017

ARC Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Title: Final Girls
Written by: Riley Sager
Published: July 18, 2017 by Dutton (Penguin Group)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I really enjoyed this book. I probably even enjoyed it more than I thought I would. In summer I love reading thrillers and mysteries full of crazy twists and turns which is exactly what I got in this book. An thoroughly engaging read with a plot full of mystery, great atmosphere, and complex characters.

I think the thing that impressed me most about this book was the atmosphere. When you read a mystery or a thriller one of the things you want in it is a good atmosphere. It had that psychological thriller feel where it messed with my head in the best possible way. I wanted to feel confused and intrigued, and frankly a little creeped out. And this book definitely confused me and creeped me out. It wasn't like a horror book where I was scared but it definitely kept me awake at night in a way that I didn't expect. The author did a great job in pulling you in and capturing your interest in such a great way. It's just what you want in a thriller.

The other thing that I want in a thriller is a plot full of mystery and shocking twists. Final Girls was absolutely full of mystery and twists. If you know me well you know that I am real good and solving twists and therefore am always looking for a book that can surprise me. This book did. There were so many twists and turns and that I think it would have been really hard to solve every aspect of it. Because even though one of my theory was partially true the big twist surprised the heck out of me. I didn't see it coming at all. But this is one of those mysteries where I start suspecting everyone and anyone because it is that complex. I really loved that about it.

I do think that much of the confusion about the plot came from the characters. This is a book full of complex characters. The main focus of it of course is on our Final Girls, a trope that you see a lot of in movies and in books. What I think the author did a great job of is playing with that trope. For one thing this is a book about these women AFTER their big traumatic survival. It takes you into the future of these resilient women which makes for some incredibly complex characters. Our narrator is Quincy who isn't really dealing with what happen to her. She's trying to forget it and just move on but she doesn't even really remember it. This makes Quincy into an unreliable character which I loved. I was totally second guessing her and wondering if she was lying or if she really didn't remember anything. Then you have Sam who cam out of her experience completely jaded. But while I do respect that he feelings were valid she was incredibly frustrating in the way she treated Quincy and that made me second guess her actions. But that was the case for every character. They were all dubious at best.

My only criticism about this book is with the pacing. It is a book that built to a thrilling conclusion and it did slowly built to that with a ton of twists and surprises along the way. Normally that would be a good thing. But I don't really like when books take too long to get to the "good stuff" and I feel like that's a little bit what Final Girls did. It almost felt like two separate books. The first half slowly plodded along as a study of the characters getting over their trauma and then the second half became about something more, a murder mystery. And at that point it really took off. I read the second half of the book in half the time it took me to read the first half. With a lot of books I just wish this one was a little more balanced.

But all in all this was an incredibly engaging read. It had everything that I want in a mystery and psychological thriller. It had an atmosphere that pulled me in a creeped me out, a plot full of mystery and surprises, unreliable narrators and complex characters, and great ending that had me totally shocked.

I give Final Girls by Riley Sager 9 out of 10 stars 

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you like thrillers and are looking for a fantastic one to read this summer I would definitely recommend this book. I absolutely loved it and I think a lot of people will enjoy it as well.

Have you read Final Girls? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. despite your complain, still a nine stars must be pretty good

  2. I think I'd really enjoy this book. So I'm really keeping my eye out for it!

  3. I totally agree-- this was a tale of 2 books. First half was slow and Sam OMG!! But then it got so good in the second half. I wish it was that good all the way through. I'm so ready for the movie (this really needs to be a movie!)