The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix #bookreview #horror #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

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.

If you’re one of those people who enjoying yelling at the characters on screen during slasher movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, this book is for you. You’ll find yourself reminiscing.

This support group is exactly what it sounds like – these six women are literally the final girls left standing, each the survivor of real-life horrific situations that were turned into movies. What the slasher movies never show is the fallout of surviving, the paranoia, guilt, and fears these women are left to struggle with. Some are dealing with things better than others, but Lynnette isn’t one of those people. Except for the support group, she’s cut herself off from everyone, has essentially barricaded her apartment (where her roommate is a beloved pepper plant she speaks to – and he talks back), stashed weapons and cash in hiding places, and has numerous escape plans. She’s certain it’s only a matter of time before someone else shows up to finish her off. And then her worst fears are realized when someone kills one of the final girls and then makes attempts on the lives of the other five.

As with the classic slasher movies, you can expect gruesome and gory scenes, some cheesy lines, and poor decisions made by the characters. The climax of the book plays out exactly like the final movie scene – a little long, kind of over the top, with plenty of injuries and blood. I’d guessed the “villain” early on, but I still enjoyed watching the characters piece it together. Another review I read pointed out that the final girl characters are named after the actresses who played final girls in slasher classics from the 70s and 80s, something I thought was a clever detail added by the author.

I was a fan of those movies in their day so I found this to be a nostalgic, entertaining read. If you’re not familiar with those films, keep in mind they’re a little campy, and this book follows that pattern. Not recommended for the squeamish when it comes to gore and violence – you may want to steer clear.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.