Final Girls

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Final Girls is a story about Quincy Carpenter, sole survivor of a massacre that took the lives of five of her friends ten years earlier, making her a real life Final Girl just like the horror movie trope.  On the surface, she seems to be doing fine, she's started a baking blog that's taking off, she lives in a beautiful apartment in New York City and has a doting live-in boyfriend, but behind that surface is someone who hasn't ever really dealt with the horror that she faced a decade ago.  That is, until she receives news that the first Final Girl, Lisa, has committed suicide.  Shortly after, Sam, the second Final Girl, shows up on Quincy's doorstep looking to connect in the wake of the loss of their "friend" (I use that term loosely because although the girls all had a terrible past in common, they never actually met in person).  This incites a lot of crazy events that drudge up a lot of unresolved issues from the night that changed Quincy's life forever.

I wanted to love this book.  I really did.  I tore through it because I kept hoping it would get better.  Quincy's character is incredibly frustrating, and she's an unreliable narrator.  She spends most of the novel claiming that she doesn't remember anything about the night after she heard her best friend's scream coming from the woods, but later we learn that she's been keeping secrets from not only the investigators, but the readers as well.

I get it, the author wants to make the ending unpredictable, and I won't spoil it here, however the "twist" is so convoluted that its basically impossible to believe.  Even when she finally regains her memory of that night, the sequence of events is confusing and hard to follow.  It seems to me that had this event occurred in real life, it wouldn't have taken ten years for the truth to come out.  I've seen enough episodes of Law & Order: SVU to know that if a detective really cares about the case, they'll do whatever they can to get witnesses to find the truth, and obviously television is a great source of information on this sort of thing.  Like, seriously, she has a Xanax prescription, so she must have gone to therapy at least once.  It seems to me that any capable therapist would have been able to extract this sort of thing from the black sludge in her brain that was the memory of that night.  

My Official Rating

My Official Rating

To me, this is also an example of a male author trying to write a female character and falling short.  He paints her as a "fighter" but reveals her to be so broken, even prior to the murders, that she becomes borderline insufferable as a protagonist.  It also seems that he did absolutely no research on mental illness prior to writing this book.  Even someone with a basic grasp of mental health can see that the actions displayed in the story make absolutely no sense.  If you're going to write a character who differs from you (gender, sexuality, race, etc) make sure you know what you're doing.  This felt too much like the annoyance I felt when I read The Fault in Our Stars and John Green spent 300+ pages trying to convince the readers that he really understands teenage girls.

I wouldn't say reading this book was a complete waste of time, there were moments that held my interest, but overall it fell so so so short of my expectations.  I definitely wouldn't recommend it.