Final Girls by Riley Sager
The forest had claws and teeth.
All those rocks and thorn and branches bit at Quincy as she ran screaming through the woods. But she didn't stop. Not when rocks dug into the soles of her bare feet. Not when a whip-thin branch lashed her face and a line of blood streaked down her cheek.
Stopping wasn't an option. To stop was to die. So she kept running, even as a bramble wrapped around her ankle and gnawed at her flesh. The bramble stretched, quivering before Quincy's momentum yanked her free. If it hurt, she couldn't tell. Her body already held more pain than it could handle.
Final Girls got a lot of press last year when it was published. It was recommended by many notable authors and my copy came from Book of the Month. When I decided to read it this year, I also added the audio, narrated by Erin Bennett and Hillary Huber, from my library. As the blurb says below, this book starts with a teen horror movie type beginning, a girl running through the woods after her friends have been killed at a remote cabin. And the action continues from there. Quincy, the girl running, becomes one of the so-called 'Final Girls', a term coined by the media for lone survivors of horrible spree killers. Quincy does not want to be a 'Final Girl' and refuses to consider herself by that term. Instead, she has a baking blog and a quiet life with Jeff - until she doesn't.
I liked this book and definitely wanted to know how it would end. Quincy was interesting, if a little clueless about many things. Samantha was strange and creepy. The reader doesn't get to know much about Lisa, but what we were able to glean was positive. Was someone trying to get rid of the three 'Final Girls'? Well, I'll let you read the book and figure that out on your own. There was a bit of drama about the author, Riley Sager, a pseudonym for Todd Ritter. Some asked why he used such a gender-neutral name and there was discussion. His next book, The Last Time I Lied, was published earlier this month and I'll likely be reading it soon.
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.