Book Reviews

Book Review: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

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.

Title: The Final Girl Support Group
Author: Grady Hendrix
Genre: thriller, horror
Format: Digital ARC
Publisher:  Berkley Books
Date Published: July 13th, 2021
Trigger Warnings: death, self harm,
Rating: 4.8//5 Owls

I recently read Final Girl by Riley Sager and was a huge fan, so of course I jumped at the chance to read The Final Girls Support Group, seeing as it had a similar premise.

I love the whole idea of “the final girl”, the one that survived, the one that killed the killer, the one who we see bloodied, beaten, and drained at the end of the movie, but they’re alive.

This book explores a group of Final Girls, that meet up and support each other. One thing I really loved was that this showed how different people deal with similar trauma; one turned to drinking and drugs, one barricaded herself from the world, one married rich and built herself a security team and safe house, one became a counselor for others trauma, one moved into the middle of nowhere….

The fact that each one of them lived through similar traumatic events but live very different lives after felt so realistic, it wasn’t a carbon copy guide of “how to deal with trauma” but showed that there’s different coping methods and different ways our brains function and react to events. I loved seeing how their pre- final girl personalities shaped how they dealt with life after.

The story is told from the POV of Lynnette: she’s the “fake final girl”, the one who didn’t kill her killer, the one who is only alive by chance. She’s extremely paranoid, only leaves her house for meetings. Has backups of her computer backups, hidden compartments, hidden guns, security doors, hidden money, fake ID’s… get it. So when Lynnette thinks that someone is specifically targeting the final girls, she’s not altogether taken seriously.

I really enjoyed this story, which I found extremely surprising because slasher films are NOT my thing, but there’s something a lot different about reading one versus watching one. I got so engrossed in the story, the running from the villain, trying to figure out WHO the villain was….which honestly was a freakin TWIST and I was absolutely blown away when the truth came to light. It all fit so well with the story and was the obvious answer, but I also was barely able to put the pieces together myself.

There’s just so much I loved about this story and I can’t quite put it all into words without talking about major spoilers, but this was essentially everything I didn’t know I wanted in a thriller/horror novel. I loved the characters, even the batshit crazy ones like freakin Chrissy, the mental health rep, the throwbacks to classic slasher films, all of it was just so well done. I think this book is going to begin leading me into a new journey of reading more thriller/horror novels…and I’m okay with that.

Thank You NetGalley and Berkley Books for the digital ARC! The Final Girl Support Group is out TODAY and is definitely a must read thriller of the summer.

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