Cover Image: The Final Girl Support Group

The Final Girl Support Group

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THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP was an absolute blast from beginning to end. Hendrix expertly and lovingly pays homage to the slasher film genre, and all the final girls populating the titular support group will sound familiar to fans of the genre. This book walks a very fine line-- it takes the pain and trauma endured by its main characters absolutely seriously, recognizing the grave consequences of survival and loss. At the same time, it's a tremendous amount of fun that will keep you guessing till the very end.
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The Final Girl Support Group
by Grady Hendrix 
Pub Date: July 13, 2021 
Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.  I am not a horror fan but thought I would try this book.  It had a bit too much gore for me, but it was a good story. 
Others will love it.
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I liked this book a lot more than I liked Horrorstor, let me start with that right off of the bat. It's kind of a weird experience reading a person's first book and then their newest book with almost ten years of development in between. Compound that weirdness with the very peculiarity of having read Riley Sager's Final Girls recently as well, which was similar yet vastly different, and I had a very multi-faceted reading experience with The Final Girl Support Group. 

This book breaks down very nicely into a four-act structure, at least in my head. The third act dragged a bit for me, but that's because the rest of the book was absolutely fantastic and I burned through it as fast as I could to find out what happened next. The main character is interesting, although like any good slasher movie/book you do find yourself screaming at her a couple times to not do the dumb thing, but you still always want her to survive and can't help but feel for her. I've seen some criticism online that the other characters in the book aren't as fleshed out or developed as they could have been, and that's a valid observation, but at the end of the day this book isn't their story, and I feel that Lynnette got a great story to develop through for herself. On a serious note, the book also addresses the disposability and consumption of women in the Slasher genre and what it says about society, not in a beat you in the head preachy kind of way, but in a "Have you ever stopped to think about how messed up it actually is" kind of way.

I definitely recommend this book to read. 

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Grady Hendrix’s latest novel, THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP, is an open love letter to the slasher film genre. His other books have touched on exorcisms, vampires, heavy metal rock bands and the scariest of all— a haunted IKEA-like store which comes in the form of an IKEA catalog. In his latest thriller,  Grady turns his attention to the Final Girl trope from ‘70s and ‘80s slasher flicks. 

Lynette Tarkington survived the Santa Claus killer and lives like a prisoner within her own life. Her only true friend is a houseplant named Fine. Her secluded life makes sense when the reader learns about the massacre that claimed Lynette’s family, as well as her gruesome injuries from being impaled on trophy antlers hanging from her parents’ living room wall. 

When Lynette does leave the safety of her  cage-like apartment, it’s to attend a support group with five other women; “Final Girls” in their own right. Now, of course, the fan-fare has died down and each is dealing with their trauma as they reach middle-age. 

Psychiatrist Dr. Carol is the only outsider trusted by all the women, to the extent that they can actually trust anyone at all. They barely trust each other. Most of the time is spent fighting amongst themselves, mainly because the only thing that bonds them all is their shared experience of surviving bloody massacres. Many have had movies made about their tragedies and a few in the lower income bracket are still living off royalties & selling paraphernalia to their crazed fans. 

When Adrienne, the founding member of the support group; is murdered, Lynette sees it as one giant conspiracy to bring all the final girls to the grisly ends they all narrowly escaped.  Yet, due to Lynette’s obsessive paranoia, no one believes her. Not even the other “final girls”. 

While some of the final girls start suspecting each other of targeting their inner circle, the stakes continuously get higher and there are seemingly less places to run. 

This fast-paced horror thriller is sure to quicken your pulse and make you think about what actually happens to the girls when the movies end, the fanfare dies down and the news media moves on to the next horrific tragedy. The reader is left wondering who the real ghouls are in these situations— the sadistic killers or the media perpetuating the bloodlust.
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I'm a Grady Hendrix fan and continously handsell and restock his books in my bookstore. Horrorstor  gave me pure popcorn pleasure. Southern Book made me, a hardened reader, cry at the end with emotion for the characters. I apologize for finding The Final Girl mediocre compared to its predecessors.
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As a fan of horror films and books, I thought I knew what to expect from a novel featuring final girls. I knew there would be action...gore...a more than a heaping spoonful of female badassery. But I didn't expect Lynne's bright neurosis. I didn't expect the exploration of survivor's guilt, of moving on from serious trauma, of not giving up on people who want to give up on themselves. Grady Hendrix has taken the trope and turned it on its end, which we expected, but he also took care in crafting wonderful, flawed, beautiful, realistic female characters. A must-read for any horror fan!
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I've never been a huge fan of slasher movies, but this is an exploration of what happens to the "final girl," or the last one standing after the credits roll. The Final Girl gives an in-depth glance at the damage done to these women, even 15 years after the movie ends.

This one surprised me. It was interesting, different, and I thought about it when I wasn't reading.
Hendrix gives a unique spin on a familiar trope - excellently weaving in the premise that the slasher moves we all know are based on these fictional women's experiences. It was fun to piece together which woman goes with which film franchise.

Overall, a great story.
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Another winner for Grady Hendrix

I love the nostalgia of this book! It was a bit more gore than previous books of his, but I dont mind, having grown up on the classic slasher movies. Great twist ending and overall just a good horror novel.
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A great book that was a lot of fun to read. Having grown up with 80s horror, I had a great time finding all the nods to the genre.
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It took me a bit to get through this one, but once I did I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely for people who are fans of horror movies/slasher films. I was thrown for a loop by the ending and found it to be an exciting page turner.
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This was an action-packed authentic story about survival and the importance of life - I loved it! I enjoyed the souther book club more, but this one felt more realistic
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The conceit was good, but the twists back and forth were hammy and poorly executed. It made me deeply depressed and its lesson was a little obvious. But it was still an enjoyable read.
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I am a Grady Hendrix fan! Grady added just the right amount of gore and suspense. Many times I had that creepy, gut-wrenching, no-please-don’t feeling. 

Lynette Tarkington is part of a counseling group called The Last Final Girls. All the girls have survived unimaginable horror and massacre. They are all the last girls standing. They meet to keep each other sane and safe. 

Then one of them goes missing and the monsters are at it again! The story is told from Lynette’s viewpoint and boy is she determined and strong-willed, even though she’s scared shitless. 

There is a big cast of characters. Some are truly deranged and people are not what they seem. Thrilling, scary, and somewhat insane.
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The Final Girl support group was a fun, riveting novel for any nostalgic horror fan out there. I will warn that it can drag, but the main character (in my case at least) was interesting enough to prevent that. If you are NOT a fan of pop culture references, horror references, etc. This book has plenty of them. The author’s love of the genre is clear within each novel written, and it is just as present in this book. 
	The trope of the ‘final girl,’ is meant to be rewritten by taking place years after the initial incidents. However, the book isn’t too deep with its characters. It is more of a fun read, similar to the author’s previous books. Despite this, I relate to Lynn deeply as a woman with a deep anxiety disorder, and thought she was quite funny and interesting to read about.
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A lot of the same issues here as with TSBCGTSV...

It's obvious that Hendrix holds a lot of knowledge about the horror genre, but he struggles to revamp the tropes he chooses to write about into something that is truly worth reading.

Unfortunately, even with the potential in all his synopses, Hendrix's characters (who are usually female) and the messages surrounding their terrors are shallowly executed in a way that makes it painfully apparent he is writing from an outside perspective. The idea to focus on final girls after their "15 minutes of fame" are over is smart. However, doubling down on the same old formulas, with a little trite commentary ~as a treat~ and shoving half-baked ideas into a new slasher set up, does not make the self-aware horror that this story seems to think it is.
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Book synopsis from the publisher: 
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.
 
But the thing about final girls is that 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 is the perfect book to read during the Halloween season. Who doesn't remember the cheesy horror movies of the 80s and 90s?  I was terrified of them when I was a kid, but now I look back and see just how cheesy they were. The Final Girl Support Group is a throwback to those movies and what happens after the credits roll. Lynn Tarkington is eccentric. Being a "Final Girl" for Lynn means always being prepared for more "monsters" to find her and Lynn has gone to great lengths to be prepared. I don't blame her, I suspect I would be the same way if I were Lynn. Heck, I kind of am in some regards and I am not a Final Girl. The book was fast-paced, but I struggled with getting through it, it wasn't as gripping as I had hoped. The ending didn't even really provide a shocking reveal, it just felt meh.... CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS


Bottom Line - Just like the horror films of the 80s, The Final Girl Support Group may be enough to entertain you for a few hours or it may leave you shaking your head, wanting something more. At the very least, it will immerse you in the nostalgia of the horror movies gone by. 


Details: 
The Final Support Group by Grady Hendrix
On Facebook
Pages: 352
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Buy it Here! 
Thank you to NetGalley for the book in exchange for an honest review.
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It was ok. I'm a fan of horror/thriller books, but not necessarily movies. I spend a good deal of the book trying to pair the characters with their movies. It made it a little hard to follow. But overall, I enjoyed the dark humor in the book. I thought it was a bit slow and slightly predictable. But it was still an enjoyable read.
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Dnf. I do not appreciate pop culture references in books. However I do recognize there are people out there that do and will be sure to recommend this to them.
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Hendrix should be crowned the king of dark horror with humor. No matter how many times I pick up one of his books, I am never lacking for chills, wit, or dynamic characters. THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP is no different. This book takes the slasher genre and makes it something unique. A bloody good time.
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This book dragged a bit for me. The beginning and middle were a bit slow, but the end was worth it. I was NOT expecting the ending at all.
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