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The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix #BookReview

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.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix book cover

Title: The Final Girl Support Group | Author: Grady Hendrix | Publisher: Titan Books | Pub. Date: 13 July 2021 | Pages: 384 | ISBN: 9781789099157 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Starred Review: No | Source: Publisher

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Final Girl Support Group Review

I liked Grady Hendrix’s books ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’ and ‘We Sold Our Souls’ so much that I gifted copies of them to my sister and her wife. Sis loves 80s teen movies and Mrs sis loves heavy metal so it felt like a match made in heaven. So it proved, as they both really enjoyed their respective book, despite not behind horror fans. When I saw Hendrix has written a book that might appeal especially to people who like slasher movies I was naturally delighted. Problematic as it sometimes is, I’m a big fan of it and was very interested to see what he’d do.

And then I started reading it. Honestly, there are a lot of problems with this book, some of which surprised me and some of which I might have anticipated if I’d given it a bit of thought. The biggest one is the central concept. Other reviewers seem to have liked it but it seemed really weird and not that successfully handled to me. Essentially the idea is that all slasher movies franchises are based on real events, with real victims. I think Hendrix is trying to critique the glamorisation and commercialisation of violence against women. It’s a worthwhile subject for horror writers to consider, but his approach is ham-fisted and boringly obvious.

The final girls from each massacre come together in a support group and the plot revolves around a threat to one of them, the narrator Lynette. Things quickly escalate into what is basically an extended chase scene with lots of running around and shouting. It feels lazy and formulaic, like so many other thrillers out there. I was almost surprised not to see the words “James Patterson and” on the cover.

There’s no doubting that Hendrix has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the horror genre, and it’s occasionally fun to pick out the references to movies that litter the book. What struck me though, was the fact that the reason I liked the other books of his I have was because they playfully combine horror with other genres. ‘The Final Girl Support Group’ is just straight up horror and fails as a result. It’s not scary or particularly thrilling and the characters and situations completely failed to interest me. Frankly, this is one slasher story I hope stops with the first instalment.

Content Warning:

Sexual assault, addiction, suicide

You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. It can be found here at Indiebound or at Bookshop. Please note the Bookshop link is an affiliate link and each purchase you make through it helps to support Sci-Fi & Scary and keep the site running.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews

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