It’s October! So begins the season of falling leaves, all things pumpkin and sweater weather. October also happens to be my favorite month literary-wise. It’s the perfect excuse to curl up under a warm blanket with a book that scares you so much you won’t be able to sleep a wink. October is the one month where my obsession with true crime and serial killers is accepted and doesn’t make me look like a crazed lunatic. It means I can watch as many horror films as I want and – you know what? It’s okay.
But I’m not here to talk about how October finally makes me look like a normal person. I’m here to share with you a little gem of a book that, if you’re like me, might make you excited for October, too.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Final Girls by Riley Sager since I turned the last page. It is everything I could have ever wanted for a Halloween read and if you’re a fan of slasher flicks then you might also get a kick out of this book.
The title of the book gets its name from an “exclusive” club that the main character Quincy and two other girls (Lisa and Sam) are part of. It’s definitely not a club you want to be a member of. All three girls were victims of a mass murderer and were the only ones to come out of it alive. Lisa lost nine sorority sisters after a man wielding a knife came into their home; Sam barely escaped “Sack Man” who attacked the Nightlight Inn during her evening shift; and Quincy lost her friends after a man brutally stabbed them at their cabin getaway in the woods.
Due to their similar experiences, the media dubs these three the “Final Girls”. Years later Lisa, the first Final Girl, has decided to use her experience to helps others and acts as a sort of mentor to the other girls, although they never meet; Sam has gone off the grid and no one knows her whereabouts; and Quincy, the reluctant Final Girl, has moved on to a fairly normal life, which is aided by the fact that Quincy can’t remember much of what happened that night.
Then one day the peace Quincy finally feels suddenly ends. Lisa has died. The authorities suspect suicide, but Quincy knows better. Sam does, too. Not long after Sam shows up on Quincy’s doorstep in the hopes of solving Lisa’s murder, and getting Quincy to accept her place as a Final Girl.
I can’t tell you how hard this book was to put down. I thought I had a pretty good idea what the plot was going to be when I started this story, but it kept changing into unexpected territories. It’s a tale of not just being a survivor, but also the importance of remembering and coming to terms with the good and evil in your life. Not to mention there are some crazy thrills along the way.
The ending was so unexpected to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for like a week after. I finished the last page and then kept repeating over and over again in a zombie-like trance, “Oh my god. What? I can’t. I just can’t.”
My fiancé then told me it was late and I needed to go to bed, which I tried to do until five minutes later I heard him mumble, “You’re still thinking about it aren’t you?”
Final Girls is that kind of book.
What I particularly like about this story is how it merges the horror and psychological thriller genres. As Quincy starts to remember things we get flashbacks that read like a campy horror film. Yet the rest of the plot is spent exploring her life after that infamous day and how becoming a Final Girl has impacted her life. It’s great if you like a little bit a scare, but also want to be able to sleep at night.
So if you’re like me and really enjoy your horror films and serial killer stories then add Final Girls to your list. It’s the perfect Halloween read you won’t want to miss out on.