The Final Girl Support Group
Author: Grady Hendrix
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Berkley Books
Original Publication Date: 2021
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, Adult fiction
The final girl is a trope in horror films (particularly slasher films). It refers to the last girl(s) or woman alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. –Wikipedia, “Final girl”
Lynette is a real life “final girl.” For years she has attended a support group with women like her, others who have survived their own massacres years prior. Each of them has coped with the trauma in their own ways. Heather turned to drugs, Adrienne to self-help. Lynette became paranoid. She learned as much self-defense as humanly possible and barricades herself inside her apartment, leaving only when necessary. She has escape routes in place, among other extreme cautionary measures. Because it’s never really over for a final girl: there’s always someone out there hoping to take up the mantle and finish her off. Suddenly, Lynette’s worst fears are coming to life: someone knows about the group and knows where to hit each final girl in their weak spots. Someone is determined to kill all the final girls. But final girls are hard to kill.
Back in 2019, I read Riley Sager’s Final Girls and hated it. I thought the premise sounded cool, but it was extremely boring and the execution did not meet my expectations. With a similar-sounding premise, I was nervous to pick up Hendrix’s take on the final girl trope. Would it be just as bad? I’ve only ever read Horrorstör from him, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with the author. But I was able to borrow the book from work, and it is spooky season, so I figured, why not. I should have figured into the equation how much of a giant baby I am, but alas, here we are.
The Final Girl Support Group is told in first-person POV from Lynette’s perspective. The story is set in present-day, though Lynette tells readers her final girl origin story, and other girls’ own past stories are referenced throughout. The chapters are occasionally broken up with various articles, letters, emails, book excerpts, etc. The story is action-packed almost immediately and never really lets up off the gas. A thriller it truly is, from start to finish. But it’s not just a thriller—it’s also a horror novel, obviously reminiscent of slashes films. I used to love those types of horror movies, but my anxiety and paranoia have gotten so bad I can’t really stomach them anymore. I was hoping in book form it wouldn’t be too much for me, but man, I was wrong. This book is graphic, gory, and scary. You’ve been warned.
Seriously, though, if you love horror movies, especially slasher flicks, this is right up your alley. It’s fast-paced, messy, and focuses more on the horror/suspense/action rather than character arcs and development. There’s even a bit of mystery thrown in, and let me tell you, I was fooled. I’m really bad at guessing mysteries. I was close-ish — does that count? This is a great choice for spooky season, or any season if you’re really into horror novels.
Though it wasn’t the type of book for me (I’m just a baby, okay?), I can appreciate it for what it is. It’s a good slasher story with an element of mystery and plenty of action. I’m definitely spooked, so well done! Also it’s way better than Final Girls, so if you read that and were as disappointed as I was, try this instead. It’s 11PM, so if you need me, I’ll be staying up all night from anxiety ✌