Review: The Last Girl

This sounded like the perfect thrilling and chilling read, a wild ride that would pull me into the dark depths of a classic horror film. Luckily for me, the amazing Siobhan McDermott at Egmont sent me an ARC in exchange for an honest 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 …

Publication Date: 15th April

TW: violence, death, gore, blood, murder, flashbacks, PTSD, gaslighting

Goodreads | Waterstones

My Thoughts:

The Last Girl is an incredibly gripping and engaging story that will unnerve, thrill and chill you to the bone.

Right from that classic horror film style opening, I had a frame of reference for the story and it was one that I definitely wanted to sink my teeth into. I am loving the horror resurgence emerging within YA, but The Last Girl expertly weaves together genres to create a brilliant story. This is practically a love letter to the horror genre, with slick writing and clever references peppered into a tight and shocking plot. I loved how it paid homage to classic horror films throughout and really played with your expectations of the genre. 

Ultimately, it gives a nuanced take on the trope it’s titled after. Moldavsky often both utilises and subverts common horror tropes really well, which shows appreciation for the genre but also critiques it. For me, it’s that kind of deft, multi-layered playing with the genre that I absolutely love and makes it stand out. Also, I really appreciated the feminist slant on parts of the book. The titular trope is often steeped in sexist stereotypes and it’s great to see that challenged. 

Every character in the book is somewhat unlikable and flawed, keeping dangerous and dark secrets from the others. However, they’re elevated through the amount of detail and nuance given to each of them. Moldavsky avoids the trap of falling into cliched stereotypes and in fact once again ensures that your expectations are changed. 

On top of that, this is a damn good thriller. The twists and turns come at you thick and fast, making for an intense read that keeps you on your toes, but it also allows the story moments to breathe. The character interaction and narrative arcs are absolutely fascinating. However, even in these quieter moments, you have that creeping sense of dread hovering over you, raising goosebumps on your arms. Like Rachel, you can never really allow yourself to feel safe. This book is genuinely unnerving and frightening. It feels so cinematic and captures the feel of a classic horror film. That sense of dread permeates throughout the book and infects every page. The pacing is spot on for this feeling and I certainly did not want to stop reading. Even after the final page, it took me a little while to leave this twisted tale behind. 

The Last Girl is a razor-sharp YA thriller that fully utilises elements of both the horror and mystery genres to devastating effect. 

5 thoughts on “Review: The Last Girl

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