I’ll be posting some reviews here for Blogtober throughout the month, mainly taken from the reviews I’ve written for Divination Hollow. We’ve got lots of things going on throughout October over there, so please check it out!
By: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Rating: 5/5 Stars
At times, I’ll read books that remind me exactly why I love this genre, and why I feel privileged to be able to read these books, whether it’s an arc direct from an author or accessed via NetGalley. This is a NetGalley title from Titan, and my thanks go out to them not just for this, but for the other titles they have sent my way, too.
The Final Girl Support Group is full of nods and references, which even if you haven’t seen all the movies touched on here will still be familiar if you know the genre. And if you have seen them all, well, there’s likely a lot more you’ll pick up on.
Because you’re on this website, you’re likely a horror fan, and therefore likely know all about the Final Girl. But just in case you don’t, the Final Girl is the term used for the girl who survives the massacre, usually against all odds. They’re the ones who emerge victorious, sometimes killing their tormentor – or thinking they’ve killed them – or just escaping, though never unscathed. There is a fascination with these characters, often crafted by men but admired by women as survivors. We love them, don’t we? In all their various forms.
And in The Final Girl Support Group, we see their lives after the massacre. After the sequels, after the killer has had another go, after their lives have been taken and twisted into spectacles. Lynnette Tarkington is a Final Girl, and her torment has defined her life since she survived a massacre twenty-two years previously. But she’s not alone, and she attends the support group with five other Final Girls and a therapist, all putting their lives back together.
Of course, nothing can remain peaceful in a Final Girl’s life for long. What really intrigued me almost instantly about this book is how different the girls are from one another, and the variety in their back stories. Their circumstances and stories would be familiar to any slasher fan, but Hendrix still makes them stand out from their movie counterparts. As in real life, each woman’s reaction to her trauma is vastly different, as they all learn to cope through their own unique ways.
The story really is written as a slasher, and we feel the same sort of beats throughout as we would in a film. Lynnette is a great point of view character, with a heavy dose of unreliability, as she seeks to hide things from the group and from the readers. But despite this – or maybe because of her very real human vulnerability – we’re made to feel totally on her side throughout, as the characters scramble to make excuses for what they might be experiencing, as Lynnette cycles through different explanations, and urges the others to believe and trust her.
Lynnette’s past very much influences her present, and it’s shown through her attitude, personality, and actions, really enforcing the idea it is a weight she carries. With the other women, they have all dealt with their trauma in various ways, and there is a lot of consideration gone into ensuring each of these women feel very real, and very different. Each Final Girl stands out from the others, only the horrific incidents of their past the one thing they have in common.
If you’re a fan of slashers, you definitely need to pick this up. It’s an excellent book, which plays with the Final Girl trope while feeding into it, making it different but using the core elements to create a book full of tension and realistic characters. This is an absolute must-read.