By Grady Hendrix
Published by Berkley Books
on July 13, 2021
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who's left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she's not alone. For more than a decade she's been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette's worst fears are realized--someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
I was so excited to read this book, based on its synopsis and because I’ve generally enjoyed Grady Hendrix’s previous books. As my interest in horror movies has grown over the past couple of years, I’ve been really enjoying reading thriller or horror stories as well, and this seemed like it was right up my alley.
While I’m sure there were references that went over my head, I appreciated all the nods to horror movies sprinkled throughout the book. It was fun to pick up on them as I went or to look them up. I loved that the story didn’t take much time to get going and the pacing kept me reading, eager to see what would happen next.
This story didn’t go where I expected it to, and while I found it really frustrating at times that Lynnette was so paranoid and constantly changing her mind about who was out to get her, I liked the exercise of taking the ‘final girl’ concept seriously and applying it to the real world. What would things be like if the ‘final girls’ in our horror movies were real people? How would they handle things after what they went through?
There was a lot of the central premise that was really interesting to me, even if in execution I didn’t totally love the story.