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My Review | The Final Girl Support Group

Photo shows the book cover of The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads - perireads.com

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.

Grady Hendrix was a name I had heard all over the book loving side of the internet and when I heard his new book was coming out over the summer I had to get my hands on it. Well I should say I listened to it but I gotta say I agree with all the hype the man brings. He’s revered for having mostly women characters but he gives them such depth and humanizes them you forget that a man wrote them. This particular story focuses on a group of “final girls,” a common horror movie troupe where the girl, while being heavily targeted, manages to survive. But now take that concept and imagine them being 20 or 30 years older and we got a story. Lynette is a final girl who survived a crazy murderer on Christmas night. Even though she’s stuck in her old ways of having to protect herself from everyone around her she’s reminded in her support group that those monsters are locked up. Until someone from that support group winds up dead. Now Lynette has to figure out who’s doing this and which one of them is next. I highly enjoyed this novel as it ties back to campy 80’s horror flicks while also following the same kind of storyline where you can’t help but scream at the book telling the character to look out behind them. Hendrix brings a modern age take on what happens to these final girls after the movie is over and I loved every second of it.

"Men don’t have to pay attention the way we do. Men die because they make mistakes. Women? We die because we’re female”

We start with getting to know our main final girl, Lynette Tarkington, the survivor of a Christmas massacre (Silent Night, Deadly Night). There we can see the trauma of that night had on her. Her apartment is rigged with high quality surveillance, she is never without a weapon, and is always prepared for the worst case scenario. Her only semblance of being out in the real world is when she meets up with her support group her fellow horror movie survivors, even though it seems she’s the only one out of all of them that has that mindset. Each final girl is a call back to all the classic horror movies such as Dani survived the attacks of her brother who escaped from a mental asylum to exact revenge on his family, a call back to the Halloween franchise. A fun way to shout out horror movies without stealing any of the exact plots which I honestly adored as a horror movie fan. When one of the final girls winds up being unfinal girl’d Lynette goes into survival mode to try and get to the bottom of the killings. Lots of fun twists and turns that highlighted the campiness of the genre while also adding modern spins. Hendrix breathes a new life of horror, redemption, and being a badass woman who can kill. Giving a new look for final girls everywhere, the killer might not stop but neither will they. 

Reading this book felt like I was watching a horror movie. Lynette is definitely a fun protagonist to have in any situation, just a final girl living in her glory days. By that I mean she’s terrified of everything around her. Her growing suspension arises when she thinks she knows who’s killing these final girls. Since everyone around her thinks she’s the crazy one it’s up to her to put a stop to this. From beginning to end I was hooked! I didn’t know who to trust, even Lynette was starting to act up on me. Hendrix’s fun writing style creates this atmosphere of mystery, adventure, and horror entertainment. The twists and turns in the story were so fun I had no idea where it was going. The ending had the perfect resolution, the same feeling you get when you watch that cheesy 80’s movie and it ends just right. I didn’t have many complaints other than I was annoyed with everyone at different times. But that’s what makes the characters so likable, fun, and especially real. Which is another aspect that I enjoyed, everyone felt so human. They didn’t say or do anything that felt out of line. Hendrix was consistent with everyone and I commend him for it. The attention to detail, the fun call backs, everything about this book was just non-stop entertainment.

“We get subjected to sequels. That's what makes our guys different, that's what makes them monsters - they keep coming back.”

I loved listening to this book on Libby, made it feel like I was watching a cheesy horror movie. There were moments where I saw moments coming and other times where I couldn’t help but audibly gasp. Everything you love about horror movies with masked killers Hendrix provides. Drama, suspense, and death are only some of the words I’d use to describe this book. The characters are so entertaining and feel so real I never felt I was taken out of the story with anything they did. Hendrix did these final girls justice. 

MY RATING:

4/5

MY RATING:

4/5

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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them. 

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