The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky – REVIEW
When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:
– Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
– Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.…
– If there’s a murderer on the loose, do NOT make out with anyone …
New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring them to the bored rich kids of her fancy New York High School. But then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious student club that sets up terrifying Fear Tests; elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and horror movies.
But when a sinister masked figure appears, Rachel realises that her past has caught up with her. It’s time for the ultimate prank to play out …
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Electric Monkey.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“But there was something wrong with me. It clawed at my insides, desperate to get out.”
I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down. The prologue sets the creepy atmosphere of high-school horror and from that point on I was gripped. I’m not a horror film aficionado like the characters in The Last Girl but I’ve seen most of the standard ones and this book gives them a run for their money. It’s already been optioned for adaptation and it’s clear to see how easily this will transfer to screen thanks to its cinematic feel and utilisation of the classic horror tropes.
“And when you’re truly scared, there’s nowhere to hide – no private school, no popularity, no trust fund. It’s just you and your most base emotion. Fear is where the truth lies.”
The main character is sixteen-year-old Rachel who has recently enrolled at a prestigious private school in Manhattan (think Gossip Girl). Horror films have been an outlet for her anxiety and a way of processing trauma from a previous event which is only slowly revealed. Accidentally stumbling across the Mary Shelley Club, Rachel seemingly finds her people. The club is all about exploring fear and horror through Fear Tests. A lot of it is simply rich kids craving chaos and excitement but there’s also a cruel side with the potential to cause serious damage.
“If I was a monster, then so was everyone else in this club. And for once I didn’t feel like such a freak. We could be monsters together.”
The characters in the group were my favourite aspect and I loved getting to know Bram, Freddie, Thayer and Felicity. Outside the group, Saundra is a genuinely kind friend to Rachel and their friendship developed nicely. There is some romance but it plays more of a background role due to the overarching horror elements.
As the club spirals out of control, friendships fracture and trust issues arise. I did guess what was happening but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment at all as it felt like seeing a reboot of an old horror film. Exploring trauma, survival and agency, The Last Girl is a must-read horror that will have you scared to turn the page. Perfect for fans of Scream, When A Stranger Calls and Urban Legend.