“Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.”
Fifteen years later, Emma Davis returns to Camp Nightingale, searching for answers to a mystery that has plagued her entire adult life—how did Vivian, Natalie and Allison disappear without a trace?
When Franny, resident philanthropist and Camp Nightingale’s owner and founder, decides to reopen the camp, she asks for Emma to return as an art teacher. It would be a kind of closure, for Franny and for Emma.
So Emma returns to camp and stays in the exact same cabin she occupied when her friends disappeared fifteen years ago. With a fresh batch of teen girls to watch over, Emma pledges to find out what happened to the previous campers, but she’s haunted by her own lies and deceptions.
So, to be honest, I slogged through the first half of this book.
I love that Riley Sager’s calling card is using overwrought horror-trope landscapes to create something fun and fresh out of the rabble, but summer camp was never my favorite. Not a huge Halloween fan. I’m a big 1990’s slasher film fanatic, so Sager’s Final Girls really spoke to me from the very first page. The Last Time I Lied was a test of my endurance.
The characters are flat, especially Emma. I hate when characters are artists and the author has to describe abstract visual pieces to the readers. It’s never good. I felt distracted by the separate timelines, between Emma’s current stay at Camp Nightingale and her flashbacks to fifteen years prior. For a book spending a ton of time detailing female friendships, there doesn’t seem to be any meat or nuance to their relationships.
That ending, though. I am shook.
Multiple dumb red herrings and pointless sub plots aside, the ending is pretty fantastic. I love a good reversal, and this one was a gleeful surprise. I want to speak more of the final few chapters and the underwater setting that will haunt my dreams, but I don’t want to give away the actual best part of the book.
The best way to describe this book would be Gone Girl lite, so if that perks your interest, give it a try. But hang in there until the end, I promise it’ll be worth it.
Big thanks to Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review, and also to my boyfriend for buying me a copy because he knew how much I loved Final Girls.