The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky

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The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Amber Wells
Reviewed by Amber Wells
Summary: A highly addicting thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. I was left wanting more of this story, and I can only hope that this is expanded into a series.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: April 2021
Publisher: Electric Monkey
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0755501526

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Rachel Chavez is the new girl at Manchester Prep. A school filled to the brim with the richest children in the city – and Rachel doesn't belong. She's not rich, she has no ties to some royal family in Serbia, and most of all, she spends the majority of her spare time watching horror movies as a source of comfort. She struggles to find anyone to connect with, until one day she stumbles upon the Mary Shelley Club. A secret society with one aim: pull off the best prank in true horror movie style, and unless someone screams, you have failed. Rachel becomes immediately engrossed in the competition. But as the pranks escalate, and Rachel finally feels like she has found her place in this school, things start to go wrong; a masked figure keeps showing up to the pranks, and people begin to get hurt. When the competition then takes a deadly turn, Rachel must figure out who this masked figure is before it's too late.

I would describe The Last Girl as a love letter to all horror movies. The character types, the construction of the plot (especially the climax), and all the red herrings are crafted with classic horror movies in mind. If you are nerdy about horror – or know someone who is a big fan – then this is definitely the book for you. The cast of characters also absolutely adore horror. There's nothing other than that fact to bind them together, and so a lot of the things they talk about is the horror movie that they've all just watched as a group, or they're debating a classic trope seen in the genre.

I myself am not a fan of horror. I am a complete wimp and will dive for the covers at even the slightest hint of something scary. Despite this, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. The premise was what initially caught my attention; a secret school club that pulled pranks on the elite? Yes please. Even if this book was scary, I was willing to push through it to see the havoc they caused. Watching them pull off their pranks was really fun, especially with the added element of secrecy, and I really enjoyed how we got to learn about the club's members as they slowly started accepting Rachel into their group.

I even liked the constant discussion of horror movies – something which I definitely didn't expect at all. There's just something about listening to someone talk so passionately about their interests that make you interested in them too. I got caught up in her giddiness when she found a group of people to match her nerdiness, and I even found myself grinning along with her as she debated horror theory with them. There were so many references that went straight over my head, but anyone who knows the genre well will definitely appreciate them.

I wouldn't consider this a scary book though. It has its moments, but because they are the ones orchestrating their classmates fear, I wasn't that scared (which is a major plus from me). The majority of the book is a teen drama, with focus on conflicts at school, relationships, and a mystery sprinkled throughout. If you're worried about it being too scary because it's labelled as a thriller, then don't be. It's a nice entry point into the genre for people who are hesitant.

The best part of this book for me was the ending. Until this point, I had found the middle to be quite frustrating because I felt that all the clues were too obvious for no one to be picking up on them, and I thought that I had it all figured out. However, I was wrong. And this made the book a thousand times more interesting. Many misdirects were thrown my way, and even in the final scenes, I was still second guessing everything that was happening and everything that I knew.

One thing to note is that the American edition of this book is under a different title. Instead of being called The Last Girl, it is called The Mary Shelley Club. Both titles suit the book quite well for different reasons, but I think that I prefer the UK one better (although I might be a little bit biased there). Also, the ending of the two books are supposed to differ slightly. Which I think is such a cool concept! It definitely makes me want to pick up the US version of the book if I can get my hands on it, just to see what it's like.

Overall, this book outsmarted me, and I am grateful for it. If you enjoyed this book and want more, then I would recommend One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus, S.T.A.G.S by M A Bennett or Solitaire by Alice Oseman.

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