It’s Riley Sager week here at Jessica’s Reading Room and we will bringing you reviews of all five of his books this week! Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Final Girls. Kim gave it 4 stars while I gave it 3 stars.
Author: Riley Sager
Published: July 11, 2017
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.
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
Holy. Crap. I didn’t see that twist coming at all. Normally, I get a sense, even just a twinge, but not with this book! And thankfully, it’s not a twist that made me feel stupid for not getting it. This is the second Riley Sager book I’ve read and I liked this one best. It didn’t feel like a recycled story and I was much more satisfied with the ending. My only real problem is that I really didn’t like Quincy. She was just prickly and kinda dumb acting. For claiming strength after surviving as a “final girl”, she seems weak and like she doesn’t really think for herself. She’s a follower and that clashes with her survivor persona. But it’s definitely a page turner that I couldn’t put down! This is another good one for Criminal Minds fans, with more of a focus on the victims. I liked it a lot!
Jessica’s Rating: 3 Stars
Dates Read: September 23-30, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
Final Girls is Riley Sager’s debut novel, but I am glad I did not read it first. I’ve basically been going backwards and have read his books 5,4, and 3, followed by this one and I still have his second one to go. His novels have gotten better than his first with books 3-5 all getting 5 stars and this one getting 3 stars from me.
As we read, we get two time periods with Quincy: The past where she survived the massacre that left her friends all dead, and present-day Quincy dealing with life in general and then the effects of final girl Lisa committing suicide and meeting another final girl Sam and them forming some kind of relationship. It helped that I did like Quincy and was rooting for her, while Sam just rubbed me the wrong way so many times!
I was interested in this novel the whole time and it will keep you on your toes. I also had several different thoughts as to who the ultimate villain was, and there were several twists that occurred towards the end. But that final reveal of the villain I guessed wrong, but I was also not surprised by. I do read lots of thrillers and enjoy NOT guessing the twist and getting my mind blown, so for me Final Girls was a decent novel and I did like the ultimate ending.
With only his second book left to read, I do really enjoy Sager, but recommended his third novel Lock Every Door the most! We will see what happens once I have finished The Last Time I Lied to see if my favorite Sager novel changes!
Author: Jasper DeWitt
Published: July 7, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
In a series of online posts, Parker H., a young psychiatrist, chronicles the harrowing account of his time working at a dreary mental hospital in New England. Through this internet message board, Parker hopes to communicate with the world his effort to cure one bewildering patient.
We learn, as Parker did on his first day at the hospital, of the facility’s most difficult, profoundly dangerous case—a forty-year-old man who was originally admitted to the hospital at age six. This patient has no known diagnosis. His symptoms seem to evolve over time. Every person who has attempted to treat him has been driven to madness or suicide.
Desperate and fearful, the hospital’s directors keep him strictly confined and allow minimal contact with staff for their own safety, convinced that releasing him would unleash catastrophe on the outside world. Parker, brilliant and overconfident, takes it upon himself to discover what ails this mystery patient and finally cure him. But from his first encounter with the mystery patient, things spiral out of control, and, facing a possibility beyond his wildest imaginings, Parker is forced to question everything he thought he knew.
A mental hospital with a 41-year-old patient who has been there since he was six and anyone who interacts with him either goes insane or commits suicide … I mean, come on!! Of course I had to read this one!! But first, the missing star. This is Jasper’s first book and unfortunately he does that thing where he tries to write intellectually but it more comes off as pretentious. Thankfully, it wasn’t bad enough that I had to stop reading. There’s also one of those vague metaphor endings, but I didn’t mind that either.
But the formatting!!! He’s actually trying to portray this as a possible true story!!!! That makes this so much more terrifying! He starts with the explanation that he found this on a doctors’ confession website that doesn’t exist anymore. Having that in the back of my brain made this book even better. The characters were realistic and easy to sympathize with. The plot kept me going page after page. It scratched my horror itch and then some! I can’t quite tell if this is actually a horror story or not, but hey, it scared me so I say call it horror! It could definitely pass off as psychological so even those who aren’t horror fans would still enjoy it! Perfect for the change to spooky season!!
Took: A Ghost Story
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Published: September 15, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“Folks say Old Auntie takes a girl and keeps her fifty years—then lets her go and takes another one.”
Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn’t believe Brody Mason’s crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster’s Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody’s probably just trying to scare him since he’s the new kid . . . a “stuck-up snot” from Connecticut. But Daniel’s seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong.
Did the witch strike? Has Erica been “took”?
Another excellent horror story from Hahn! This one was a little more complicated than her others and thankfully didn’t have an obnoxious child that makes you want to just give them up to whatever evil being is around! Creepy dolls, a witch, a man-boar and some twists and turns and you have Took. It’s a simple enough story, but with complicated themes and feelings and that’s what I liked about it. And as usual, I was creeped out through the whole thing. This is another great one for kids who prefer the scarier reads!