I have a confession to make. Though I don’t know if confession is the right word. Confession hints at something one has been hiding for fear of punishment. Or SHAME. And this is nothing to be ashamed of.
When I was younger, I read 100 million RL Stine books. I started with Goosebumps and then quickly moved on to Fear Street. I then graduated to Christopher Pike, and started dabbling in Stephen King at WAY WAY too young of an age.
I loved RL Stine because of the formula. Guy or girl (usually young, nubile girl who is SUPER POPULAR or if not popular at least BEAUTIFUL AND DEEP) gets into some crazy trouble, or crazy things start to happen to them, there’s some murder and mystery and then BOOM the mystery is solved and the bad guy is caught. I loved the predictability but also NEVER KNOWING WHO THE CULPRIT WAS.
So I was super excited to pick up Final Girls by Riley Sager. It felt like RL Stine for grown-ups. And, like the RL Stine books I was so fond of, Final Girls made me feel real dumb in the end because I really should have figured out the culprit. BUT! I really think there are two kinds of murder mystery readers/watchers:
- Those who try to figure out what’s going on the whole time so they can smugly tell everyone they figured it all out before everyone else. FOR INSTANCE, my father, while watching The Sixth Sense in the theater with my mother, leaned over about 20 minutes in and whispered, “I think he’s dead.” UGH.
- Those who don’t try to figure it all out because they want to be surprised because WHY FINISH THE BOOK IF YOU’VE ALREADY GUESSED THE WHODUNNIT.
(I have been both of these people, I suppose, but I have more fun being the second.)
Final Girls is about a trio of women who all survived horrific murder attempts in which a whole bunch of other people died. Quinn, our hero, watched all of her college friends get butchered while on a fun birthday weekend for her BFF, Janelle. She’s the last one standing, somehow, earning the title of Final Girl.
According to Wackopedia: The Final Girl is a trope in horror films (particularly slasher films). It refers to the last woman alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story.
I had never heard that term before which is super sad considering all the horror I’ve read/watched/loved OH WELL MOVING ON.
Unfortunately for Quinn, she can’t really remember much about the incident that left her a Final Girl, no matter how many people ask her. This isn’t typically a problem for her, in fact, she prefers it, until one of the other Final Girls ends up dead…
DUN DUN DUN.
Honestly, I enjoyed this book but I will probably forget all about it in another few months or so. It was fun to read, and I enjoyed the journey or whatever, but it probably won’t stick in my mind like, say, Gone Girl. Quinn was likable enough until she started doing dum-dum things but she was not an exceptionally deep character. The other characters were similar. The “twist” or finale or whatever you want to call it was a bit underwhelming. You know what, though? I didn’t care. I still had fun AND REALLY ISN’T THAT ALL THAT MATTERS?
(I guess that’s an endorsement.)
(But not a ringing one.)