The Last Final Girl

Life in a slasher film is easy. You just have to know when to die.

Aerial View: A suburban town in Texas. Everyone’s got an automatic garage door opener. All the kids jump off a perilous cliff into a shallow river as a rite of passage. The sheriff is a local celebrity. You know this town. You’re from this town.

Zoom In: Homecoming princess, Lindsay. She’s just barely escaped death at the hands of a brutal, sadistic murderer in a Michael Jackson mask. Up on the cliff, she was rescued by a horse and bravely defeated the killer, alone, bra-less. Her story is already a legend. She’s this town’s heroic final girl, their virgin angel.

Monster Vision: Halloween masks floating down that same river the kids jump into. But just as one slaughter is not enough for Billie Jean, our masked killer, one victory is not enough for Lindsay. Her high school is full of final girls, and she’s not the only one who knows the rules of the game.

When Lindsay chooses a host of virgins, misfits, and former final girls to replace the slaughtered members of her original homecoming court, it’s not just a fight for survival-it’s a fight to become The Last Final Girl.

My comfort film genre is slashy, over the top, and murdery. Classic slasher films; Scream, Halloween, Friday 13th etc. I was told that this book was an homage to the genre that I love and it really was!

The thing I love the most about slashers is that there is a formula to be followed. You know that everyone is in danger and not to get attached to any characters. I’ve been having a bit of a slump lately, April is a bad month for me, so I wanted something almost predictable and fun. I know it’s weird to describe a slasher as ‘fun’ but this book featured a slasher called ‘Billie Jean’ who dressed like Michael Jackson.

This book had an interesting format as it wasn’t quite a novel but also wasn’t quite a script. It read like someone had watched a film and wrote down everything that happened. So there were points where the book was a little disorienting as I hadn’t realised that the setting had changed. However, this didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the book.

I loved that there were multiple Final Girls because this was where the book took a turn from the usual genre. Usually there is one and you know that they will make it…at least to the sequel. But with having multiple final girls, I was left wondering who would make it!

I did not manage to guess who Billie Jean was. Even though these films are relatively predictable (this is why I love them!), this book was not. I was so surprised by the reveal as I had my own suspicions.

I really feel like this book was truly a love letter to the slasher film genre. This was my first book by Stephen Graham Jones and what an introduction! I’ll definitely be reading more books by this author.

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