Written by Riley Sager
Published by Dutton, July 11, 2017
My star rating: 3 stars
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-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, 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. Add to Goodreads
When this book was released everyone was freaking out about it! I had a few bloggers literally yelling at me to read this when I said that I was on the fence about it! So after a few months of waiting, I finally got it for a spooky October read. By that point this book had been so hyped up on the blogosphere and inside my own head………. sadly, it didn’t live up to the hype. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this book. I did! And I actually managed to read it in two sittings which is something I rarely do! I really liked the middle portion of the book but the beginning and the end is what caused my mixed feelings.
I struggled so hard to get into this book. It was literally 145 pages of nothing new. Seriously! Everything that happened in those 145 pages was outlined in the synopsis: Quincy was the sole survivor of a mass murder, she remembers no details about that night, she bakes to forget her awful past, she’s labeled as a “final girl” along with two others – Lisa and Sam, Lisa ends up dead and Sam comes to visit her…… I get that all of that seems like a lot but not really – all of that was laid out in the synopsis and, due to her memory loss, we were left in the dark about the events of the night that made her a final girl. Those first 145 pages were so very repetitive and plot building that just fell flat for me.
This is where the story excelled! I devoured this book SO fast! It was a quick read and managed to do something well that I normally hate – SUSPENSE! I struggle so hard with suspense. It’s usually done in a way that we get no facts or details and we’re left with this lost and confused feeling, like we are constantly out of the loop and disconnected from the story. But this book was suspense and doubt done right! I always felt like I had things figured out. I felt a little like I was playing the role of judge and jury, taking all of the facts that were in front of me and determining what was the root of the problem. But then another piece of the puzzle came into play and my conclusions shifted. For a few chapters I was convinced that Sam was to blame. A few chapters later I just knew that Quincy was lying and she killed all those people……. only to want to smack myself in the head and ask why in the world did I think that?! For me to say that I enjoyed being tossed from person to person in a suspenseful and accusatory way is HUGE! I normally can’t get behind a plot like this but it was just SOOOOOOO well done!!
The characters were good but, to be honest, it’s really hard to relate to characters that have been through a trauma like this. I’ve never experienced anything even close to this so when ever the characters thoughts and actions confused me, I had to take a step back and wonder, “What would I do in that situation?” The story as a whole was something that I had to disconnect myself from in an emotional way and just experience from their perspective. Kind of like watching a movie from the outside.
Speaking of movies, I read in a few reviews that this was like a slasher film. I’m sorry but I kind of disagreed. If there was more details of the murders themselves (the ones that either Lisa, Sam, or Quincy experienced) then I could see that description. But the murders themselves were kept at arms length. The murders that Lisa and Sam experienced were told more in a way of a newspaper article. Very factual and not first person. And Quincy couldn’t remember anything so we didn’t get much of a play by play of that night until later on in the book. Not that detailed killing is something I crave, but in a book where it’s about mass murders and one final girl surviving, I would have gotten more of a sense of fear and dread if we got a first hand account of things.
I have VERY mixed feelings about the ending. On one hand things were tied together so well. On the other hand I feel like the author tried to pull a Gillian Flynn and slap you in the face with a twist. Well it didn’t work for me – AT ALL!! The first twist I LOVED! So much! I actually didn’t see it coming and it made so much sense as to what was happening to Quincy through the beginning and middle of the book, and why. It was especially the why that made my jaw drop. But it was the truth of what happened at Pine Cottage that just pissed me off. It was so out of left field and didn’t fit. Once I knew what really happened I tried to go back and piece it together, search for some hints and clues, and there were NONE! I couldn’t connect a single dot and it was just so weird. Didn’t work for me at all.
I really did enjoy this while I was reading it but the ending was just awful. I think i’ll take a page from Quincy’s book and get myself some amnesia and just forget the ending happened. If I can forget the ending then the book was pretty good.
Did anyone else have an issue with this book? I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t love it!
Until next time, happy reading!