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The Final Girl Support Group
Cover of The Final Girl Support Group
The Final Girl Support Group
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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
VOTED GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD BEST HORROR NOVEL OF 2021
A Good Morning America Buzz Pick
“The horror master…puts his unique spin on slasher movie tropes.”-USA Today
A can't-miss summer read, selected by The New York Times, Oprah Daily, Time, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, LitHub, BookRiot, Bustle, Popsugar and the New York Public Library
In horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives…but what happens after?


Like his bestselling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films—movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.

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 INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
VOTED GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD BEST HORROR NOVEL OF 2021
A Good Morning America Buzz Pick
“The horror master…puts his unique spin on slasher movie tropes.”-USA Today
A can't-miss summer read, selected by The New York Times, Oprah Daily, Time, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, LitHub, BookRiot, Bustle, Popsugar and the New York Public Library
In horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives…but what happens after?


Like his bestselling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films—movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.

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.
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  • From the cover

    The Final Girl Support Group

    I wake up, get out of bed, say good morning to my plant, unwrap a protein bar, and drink a liter of bottled water. I'm awake for five full minutes before remembering I might die today. When you get old, you get soft.

    In the living room I stretch and do forty knee strikes, forty palm heel strikes, and side mountain climbers until sweat drips onto the concrete floor. I do elbow strikes until my shoulders burn, then I get on the treadmill, put the speed up to seven, and run until my thighs are on fire and my chest rasps, and then I run for five more minutes. I have to punish myself for forgetting exactly what the stakes are, especially today.

    The bathroom door gets padlocked from the inside while I shower. I make up my bed to eliminate the temptation to crawl back in. I make tea, and it's not until the electric kettle clicks that I have my first panic attack of the day.

    It's not a bad one, just a cramp in my chest that feels like a giant hand squeezing my lungs shut. I close my eyes and concentrate on relaxing the muscles lining my throat, on taking deep breaths, on pulling oxygen into the bottom of my lungs. After two and a half minutes I can breathe normally again and I open my eyes.

    This apartment is the only place in the world where that's possible. A bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom where, as long as I take reasonable precautions, I can close my eyes for two minutes. Out there in the world it's a nonstop murder party, and if I make the slightest mistake I'll wind up dead.

    I go into the living room and turn on CNN to see what the body count is today, and from the very first image I know that the next twenty-four hours will be bad.

    A live drone shot of a summer camp is buried beneath all the other junk CNN puts onscreen. It shows sedans and emergency vehicles clustered outside the cabins, men in white hazmat suits walking between the trees, yellow police tape blocking the road. They cut to recorded footage of the night before, blue lights flashing in the dark, and the slugline hits me in the gut: Real Life Red Lake Tragedy Repeats.

    I turn on the sound and the story is exactly what I feared. Someone murdered six Camp Red Lake counselors who were shutting the place down for the season. They used a variety of weapons-hand scythe, power drill, bow and arrows, machete-and would have had a seventh victim except the last one, a sixteen-year-old girl the CNN chyron tells me is named Stephanie Fugate, shoved them out the hayloft.

    The killer hasn't been identified yet, but there's Stephanie onscreen in a class photo with her round face and clear skin, smiling through her braces with a grin that breaks my heart. After last night, she'll never be that happy again. She's a final girl now.

    You're watching a horror movie and the silent killer knocks off the stoner, the slut, the geek, the jock, and the deputy, and now he's chasing the virgin babysitter through the woods. She's the one who said they shouldn't party at this deserted summer camp, break into this abandoned lunatic asylum, skinny-dip in this isolated lake-especially since it's Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Arbor Day, or whatever the anniversary is of those unsolved murders from way back. The killer's got a chainsaw/boat hook/butcher's knife and this girl's got zip: no upper body strength, no mass, no shotgun. All she's got is good cardio and an all-American face. Yet somehow she kills the killer, then stares numbly off into the middle distance, or collapses into the arms of the arriving police, or runs crying to her boyfriend, makes one last quip,...

About the Author-
  • Grady Hendrix is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter living in New York City. He is the author of Horrorstör, My Best Friend’s Exorcism (which is being adapted into a feature film by Amazon Studios), We Sold Our Souls, and the New York Times bestseller The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (currently being adapted into a TV series). Grady also authored the Bram Stoker Award–winning nonfiction book Paperbacks from Hell, a history of the horror paperback boom of the seventies and eighties, and his latest non-fiction book is These Fists Break Bricks: How Kung Fu Movies Swept America and Changed the World.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 26, 2021
    Hendrix (The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires) delivers a wildly entertaining romp through the conventions of horror’s slasher film subgenre. The novel’s title refers to a Los Angeles–based therapeutic support group for six “final girls”—survivors of mass-murderer rampages whose experiences inspired the splatter-film franchises that saturated horror cinema in the 1980s and ’90s, earning them minor celebrity. When one of the six is murdered decades after she escaped her assailant, and others come under violent assault, Lynnette Tarkington—herself a survivor of the Silent Night Slayings of 1988—realizes that someone is trying to orchestrate an extravagant final girl finale. But is the killer a garden-variety homicidal maniac, an unhinged slasher-film superfan, or someone more intimately familiar with their group? Hendrix masterfully evokes the paranoid existences of his diverse cast in the aftermath of their traumatic ordeals, and he so explicitly details the massacres and fictional film sagas that grew out of them that readers may believe them to be real. The result is a wonderfully suspenseful and darkly comic novel that cleverly subverts popular culture. Horror fans will be wowed. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine This darkly humorous horror story is narrated by Adrienne King, who played the original "final girl" in the movie FRIDAY THE 13TH. Six women comprise the Final Girl Support Group after surviving the kind of real-life horrors that inspired classic slasher films. Now someone is aiming to kill them off for good. King's deep, raspy voice amps up the chills in this suspenseful, violent story. While her narration can be a bit slow for the fast-paced plot, King's performance channels final girl Lynnette, who tells the story. While listeners may find the excerpts from news clippings and police reports between the chapters confusing at times, King fully delivers the creepiness factor and captures the anxiety-filled cast. V.T.M. � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2021

    Hendrix (My Best Friend's Exorcism) covers the slasher movie genre in his latest horror satire, which asks how the "Final Girl"--the one who survives a dramatic serial killer rampage--manages to go on living with the survivor label hanging over her head. Middle-aged Final Girl Lynette lives a paranoid existence, with a support group of fellow Final Girls as her lone source of socialization. Lynette realizes something's wrong when the police find the severed head of another Final Girl who didn't show up for a group therapy session. The resulting chase sends up classic slasher franchises, including Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scream, punctuated by the in-universe newspaper articles that are a hallmark of Hendrix's work. This dark humor hits the sweet spot where solidarity meets resilience. Hendrix knows his craft, but he walks a thin line between exploring a single idea thoroughly and exhausting it. Narrator Adrienne King provides the perfect voice for Lynette, quiet but determined, and neutral enough for deadpan gags and tense moments alike. VERDICT The audio format is a good choice for libraries, especially since this book relies less on visual gags than older Hendrix titles.--Aaron Heil, State Lib. of Kansas

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Grady Hendrix
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