The 1995 YA thriller, Final Girl, tells the story of Lily. Lily is about to graduate high school and she is determined that she is going to beat out Graham for valedictorian. After all, Graham is just a rich boy who owns a green Porsche while Lily is working two jobs to help support her mother, who has had a stroke. Plus, both of Lily’s older sisters were valedictorians so of course Lily is going to continue the family tradition!
(At this point, let me just say that I’m glad that the only family-related high school pressure that I had came from people who wanted me to become a cheerleader like my sister. If I had people pressuring me to also do well in school, I don’t think I could have handled it. Don’t get me wrong, I did pretty well in school. But there was never any risk of me becoming valedictorian, not as long as I was required to take Algebra classes. I was very happy with academically being in the upper half but not at the top of my class.)
Anyway, Lily is determined to give the big speech at graduation but one of her teachers, Mr. Reiner, has given her a B on what Lily clearly feels was an A paper. When Reiner refuses to reconsider the grade, Lily says that she could kill him. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Reiner dies in a freak accident! AGCK!
Even with Mr. Reiner out of the way, it still seems like Graham might beat her to the top. But then Graham turns up dead, push head first into a — I’m being totally a serious here — printing press! Mr. Reiner’s death may have been a tragic accident but Graham was definitely murdered! And guess who everyone suspects!
Can Lily prove her innocence while maintaining her grade point average? And who is responsible for the latest deaths on Fear Street?
You’ll have to read the book to find out. If I told you any more details about the plot, you’d probably guess who the murderer is. It’s really not a shock at all. But still, Stine has some fun with the way this killer reacts to the truth beingd discovered. This is one Stine book where the killer is even more creepy than usual. Lily’s a bit difficult to sympathize with (because, seriously, it’s not like being the 2nd best student at the school is going to force her to settle for a fast food job or something) but the supporting cast is likable and the the whole printing press death is just strange enough to make the book a bit more memorable than the average Stine thriller.
I guess my grad for Final Grade would be a much deserved B+. There’s nothing wrong with a good, strong B.