Normally, I don’t read thrillers because they seem so formulaic to me? They always feel like the same story line… or maybe I’m just reading the wrong thriller novels? When I started reading the book, it seemed very similar to In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware… And to be honest, it stayed similar throughout the whole book.
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a 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.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, 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, 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.
Ok, so we have three girls who have survived a serial killer and who have seen all of their friends get killed right in front of them. We have three beautiful girls who just want to get on with their lives but can’t due to the media constantly reminding them that they will never live a normal life and because they can never forget what they endured. I had an odd sort of respect for Quincy during the beginning of the book. She knew what she had gone through 10 years ago, but she wanted to put it behind her, and so she put on a massive front, pretending that she was okay and that she had moved past it all. She lied that she didn’t have nightmares about that night all of the time. She seemed to be doing okay though until Sam turned up on her doorstep. Sam ruined everything. I found her abusive, manipulative, rude and pushy. I can’t believe the kind of things that she would say to Quincy, it just made me feel really uncomfortable.
“We were, for whatever reason, the lucky ones who survived when no one else had. Pretty girls covered in blood. As such, we were each in turn treated like something rare and exotic. A beautiful bird that spreads its bright wings only once a decade.”
– Riley Sager, Final Girls
However, I did think that the character of Sam was brilliantly written and I was intrigued by her from the very beginning – unlike Quincy, who bored me. She just seemed really two-dimensional like a cardboard cutout. She was the stereotypical heroine of a thriller novel: beautiful, successful, happy marriage (blah blah blah). I see that trope SOOOOOO many times during thrillers and it just gets boring. Show me someone with a normal, non-happy-go-lucky life and I will be interested. I think that’s why Sam interested me so much. She didn’t have a lot going for her, she didn’t have a perfect life, and that trait of her life made her more interesting for me.
Now let’s talk about the ending… It was a shocker, I’ll give you that! I was absolutely gobsmacked when I read the few reveals at the end and when all of the loose ends were tied up. BUT! The big reveal was just stupid. I found it a bit too far-fetched and I was completely let down. It was a shock, sure, but it was stupid.
Overall, this was an okay book. The ending was the thing that ultimately let it down for me, but the rest of the novel was fast-paced, exciting and a good psychological thriller. I’m actually quite interested to read Riley Sager’s future books.
Warning: this book contains triggers for self-harm, suicide, rape
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review