Review: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Where to Buy:

Bookshop, Amazon


A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

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.


I read this a month or so back, but this is one of those books that I had to really think about what I wanted to say before I reviewed it. First off, I love the way Grady Hendrix writes. I read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, and I loved every sentence of it. The women are fun characters, and the story is great. I picked up The Final Girl Support Group almost immediately after finishing it, and this novel definitely does not reflect the same sort of charms that The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires has.

A final girl is a phrase coined for the girl who makes it through the slasher movie until the end, when the killer is finally defeated and the girl can ride off, bloody, into the sunset. The plot of Hendrix’s novel is that a group of these girls meet in a support group, but someone is starting to hunt them. While the girls get killed off one by one, it is up to Lynnette Tarkington to get to the bottom of who is the killer and how to survive again. The tone of the entire novel is very dark, and I think that this is why I did not like it as much as some of his other works. There is no joy in this novel. There is no fun. It is all about running and survival, and even though the plot sounds like it could be a little silly, there is very little lightheartedness or joy in this novel at all. It is about the final girls becoming the final girls again.

I was on the last one hundred pages of this novel when I realized another reason why I was not really enjoying The Final Girl Support Group. In the films, final girls tended to be the good people in the story. Whether they were virginal or not, there is a wholesome aspect to them and they are people that we want to survive. In this novel, none of the final girls are good people. I did not care who survived and who did not survive because they were interchangeable to me. There was not a single one that sticks out as not being a horrible person. By the end, I was rooting more for the killer than the girls. I suppose that this could be a real thing. These women are not good people because the trauma and anxieties they have endured have changed them for the worst, and this causes them to betray one another. Only looking out for themselves is a trait that could be the result of living through their individual ordeals, but as final girls who are becoming final girls again, every one of them lack the element that causes us to feel any sympathy for them.

This is a good novel because it is written by Grady Hendrix and he is very masterful at storytelling. Unfortunately for me, I did not enjoy The Final Girl Support Group, and this will not be the book of his that I recommend to new readers.

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