Cover Image: The Last Girl

The Last Girl

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Member Reviews

Really great atmospheric edgy of your seat read. This book had me up late reading wanting to discover all the secrets and find out what was going on. Really well written. Great job.
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This YA thriller was a real page Turner! 

A year previously Rachel was subject to a home invasion by two masked whilst home alone, and still has nightmares about it.

To try and combat her fears she submerged herself in horror films to try and dull the fear.

At a new school she befriends a girl, Saundra who persuades her to go to a party at a derelict house.

Ghost stories are told and a prank is played by what is later discovered to be the Mary Shelley Club. Somehow Rachel gets herself accepted by this disjointed group and takes part in their fear tests.

During these tests an unidentified masked man appears causing all sorts of rumours at school.

Is he connected to her home invasion and more importantly is he a member of the club?

I found this a little slow at first until Rachel discovers the club and then it’s full steam ahead.

Although a YA the first chapter about the home invasion is chilling and made me a little scared to go to sleep!

A really great book for any age even if you’re not a YA fan. 

I will definitely be checking out more of her books!
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I really enjoyed this book, I did guess some of the ending but enjoyed the really interesting concept of the club. The book starts with a really dramatic event so I was hooked and wanted to keep reading. 

It’s a great YA book that I’d definitely recommend for fans of One Of Us Is Lying! 

Thanks to @netgalley and @electricmonkeybooks for the ARC
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I received a free ecopy of this book in return for an honest review. Many thanks to Egmont Publishing and to NetGalley for the opportunity. 

I love a good horror story so of course I jumped at the chance to combine that love with my passion for Young Adult Fiction. The title “The Last Girl” wasn’t a title that immediately reeled me in, but the description of Scream meets Gossip Girl was intriguing. When I saw that the US version was released as “The Mary Shelley Club” I knew I’d made a good choice.

Rachel was attacked in her own home a year ago, by two masked men. She fought back against one, the other ran. Since then, she and her mum have moved to New York and Rachel has enrolled at Manchester Prep School where her mum is a teacher. Rachel feels like she doesn’t fit in among the rich kids that surround her, until she discovers the Mary Shelley Club. The club members are horror film fanatics but are also responsible for a series of pranks that they call ‘fear tests’ against people who upset them. Slowly the ‘fear tests’ begin to awaken her repressed memories of the attack and her fears about the second, never-unmasked, attacker. At the same time, the tests begin to spiral out of control.

I loved how many horror films were mentioned in this book, some of my favourites among them. I would not be surprised if someone somewhere makes a list of all them for a Mary Shelley Club marathon. The discussions about horror story tropes are not unique to this book, I enjoyed them anyway.

Though the start of the book seemed a little clichéd, once the action got going, I became totally caught up in the story and the pages just flew by. I’m not going to lie, I saw the twists coming (it’s rare that a twist takes me by surprise), but actually that helped to ratchet up the tension for me. 

One YA trope that the book succumbed to was criminally neglectful parenting. Rachel’s mum is sensitive and caring but doesn’t seem worried by her recently attacked daughter roaming New York at night. Without this, though, there wouldn’t be much of a story, so I will give this one a pass.

Rachel herself is a likeable character, remarkably outgoing for someone whose life has been threatened and then turned upside down by moving home and school. I felt for her feelings of being an outsider and wished good things for her.

This is a very visual book. I could see all through how this would play out on film. I would love it if this book was picked up for a film. I would have my popcorn ready quicker than you could say “I want to join the Mary Shelley Club!”
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When Rachel starts in a new school, after having survived a home invasion, she instantly finds a friend in Saundra. The other kids in her school are rich,entitled children. Rachel desperately wants to belong and when she gets invited to the exclusive, secret Mary Shelley Club she doesn’t have to think twice. In the beginning everything is just like she thought it would be, new friends sharing their greatest hobby - watching and discussing horror movies. But after a while, things starting to get out of control and Rachel feels like somebody is after her.
Really good story I read in one sitting and enjoyed.
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I loved loved loved this book!
I had really high expectations for this read because Mary Shelley is one of my favourite authors and I love the Hitchcock era and the 90’s slasher movies that are scattered throughout this novel. I am very happy to say that this read was everything I wanted in a YA thriller and more.
So as with all good horror stories it begins with a backstory; Rachel Chavez experiences a traumatic home invasion and hopes that Manchester Prep is the fresh start she so desperately needs. Although as a scholarship kid she is a bit of an outsider but then she is recruited to a secret society who create daring pranks bringing her favourite horror tropes to life.
But then someone starts twisting the group’s plans against the club and details of the pranks begin to remind Rachel of memories she was so desperate to escape. 
This book is perfectly paced and if you’re a fan of ‘Scream’ or any kind of ‘last girl standing’ kind of horror you will really appreciate all the little details and twists that Moldavsky weaves through this book. I personally couldn’t put it down and am hoping that as with all good horrors films that a sequel might be in the pipeline…(?)
Five stars- obviously.
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What a wild ride! I was hooked from the description of this book and it did not disappoint me. This genre isn’t something I would usually pick up, but I’m now convinced I need more! The story follows Rachel, a horror enthusiast, who has recently moved after a traumatic event in her life. When she finds out about an exclusive ‘horror’ club at her elite school where she is a total outsider, she is determined that she must join it. I was not prepared for just how thrilling this journey was! It was fantastically twisted, and I am so glad I got to read it as this really was an experience. I feel like the plot hoodwinked me so many times but in the best ways and I am so here for it.

This has instantly rocketed to one of my all-time favourite books and I’ve just ordered my own copy as I need a physical copy on my shelf.
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I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and publisher Egmont Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Oh boy, this book had big expectations to live up to with a blurb like that and it somehow managed to meet every one of them. The Last Girl is the story of Rachel, a girl who moves to a new school and town after surviving a traumatic home invasion. At her new school she stumbles across a secret club dedicated to watching horror movies and 'making the horror real'. Taking it in turns to pick a victim, the club stages elaborate pranks to get back at people they don't like. A fan of horror, Rachel feels like she's found her people until certain aspects of the pranks start to go too far and remind her of her trauma.

I really really loved this book. Almost every aspect is spot on and delivers exactly what I wanted when I picked this up. The plot feels sort of predictable but it's delivered in such an entertaining way and it makes such good use of the horror tropes that I didn't mind one bit. You find yourself drawn into the mystery and you start second-guessing your assumptions, wondering which horror movie trope the author is going to go with for the reveal. It's very subtle but any of them could work in this way and it adds a clever touch to the mystery aspect.

The characters themselves were great and one of the strongest aspects of this book. I liked how Rachel never had to make any dumb decisions to drive the plot forward, and she felt very grounded in reality as a protagonist. I fell in love with every member of the club in different ways, and I never had any trouble distinguishing them from each other. There is an interesting love triangle of sorts here but it is very downplayed and amounts to romantic tension more than anything explicit. I was uncertain about it at first but I appreciated how it played out in the end and it didn't feel like there was unnecessary romance drama or like it took over the plot.

Two of my favourite characters were actually from outside of the club. Saundra is Rachel's first friend when she starts at the school and she is a happy, gossipy girly-girl. I loved how she wasn't dropped as soon as Rachel joined the club and how she was never implied to be shallow or less important than the club members simply for not sharing their interests. Similarly, Lux is Rachel's bully and the resident mean girl of the school. She receives much less attention and time than Saundra but there are moments where you get to see that she is also a real person with her own stuff going on. I felt all the female characters in this book were very different and all were important in some way, and that was very refreshing to read.

Overall, I strongly recommend this book. There is a lot to offer fans of horror movies here and, while the actual tone and style of the book is a lighter horror than most, there is a strong plot and sense of mystery and tension throughout. It was a lot of fun and I am very excited to see what this author does in the future.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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Rachel is the new girl at Manhattan Prep desperate for a fresh start where no-one knows her past. Keeping under the radar and staying at home watching horror movies rather than hanging out spoiled rich kids' parties is just how she likes it. So she is surprised when she gets an invite to The Mary Shelley Club. To the rest of the school they seemingly have nothing in common and would never hang out together but they come together for their love of horror movies. Their other love is fear tests which involve targeting classmates and scaring them out of their wits. The aim of the test is to get a scream although someone is determined to go further than that.

I had heard a book being talked about called The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky which sounded right up my street so I went to look into it further I saw it is actually called The Last Girl in the UK. I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted it on Netgalley and knew I had to bump it up my tbr.

It seems to be quite a lot of horror books I am hearing of recently are YA and I have been left disappointed when I actually read them as they are not remotely scary or even very readable. This one did not disappoint. It was not really scary but did have plenty of thrills as the whole premise of recreating horror movie tropes to scare their classmates was brilliant and I loved reading their plans come together. As little is known of the planned tests beforehand this added to the tension and the narration switches to the target so you are just as surprised as them when something eerie starts to happen. There is also an element of mystery and intrigue as you try to figure out if the club members are actually who they appear to be. None of the characters were one dimensional and are all integral to the story. I could clearly see the whole thing play out in my head and as such I would love to see this made into a Netflix series. I am going to pass this book onto my eldest son as I know he would love it, but really I would recommend for anyone who is looking for a thrill or two.
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This was the first thriller book I've ever been really engrossed in. I think in total I went through 5 or 6 different theories on who was behind everything and I was somehow still wrong. Amazing! 

I'd recommend this to fans of Donna Tartts The Secret History.
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DNF - no reflection of the book itself but the formatting of my edition was terrible and unreadable.

But since NetGalley won't let me post this unless this is a 100 words long, I will say I will try to get my hands on this when it releases. The book has got very high ratings and praised a lot for being a great YA thriller.

NetGalley please sort of the formatting problems so I can actually read the book and give it a great review.
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A fun horror slash story. I really. Liked it. It was a fun and fairly easy read which I enjoyed. Would recommend for fans of YA thrillers x
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The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky 
⭐️⭐️ 2.5
Publication date: 15/04/2021
Rachel and her mum move house and school following a home invasion which resulted in Rachel killing one of the people. Rachel, encouraged by her mum to make friends, joins the Mary Shelley club- a group of horror fans who create scares for their peers.
Rachel is a likeable character who is clearly desperate to fit in but doesn’t, leaving the reader sympathetic to her situation. If I was a 14 year old into horror films then I probably would love this book. However for me, I felt like the author was trying too hard to appeal to teenagers and that just made it a difficult read.
Thank you to NetGalley, @egmontbooksuk, @EMteenFiction and of course Goldy Moldavsky for this ARC
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Actual rating 3.5/5 stars.

The synopsis stated this book was "Scream meets Gossip Girl with a dash of One of Us is Lying" and I'd say that was a pretty apt comparison. 

Rachel Chavez has overcome a tragic ordeal and her go-to coping mechanism is horror films, the gorier and the ghostlier the better. Few in her new school understand her obscure references and those who do seem to want nothing to do with her. Rachel is determined to infiltrate their ranks, but when she manages to do so she discovers there is far more than just a penchant for watching horror that binds them together. These differing individuals also like to create it, as well.

The crafting of different horror scenarios was such an awesome and unique addition to this story, but the more drama and angst filled sections in-between failed to appeal for me, in quite the same way. The contemporary genre was represented just as much as the thriller genre was and as I am someone who reads little from the former category, I found myself wading through some sections and longing to return to the thrills and chills I had come here anticipating. This was still a thoroughly engaging story, with many concluding twists I did not see coming, but wasn't wholly my vibe, throughout. 

Also, the US title, The Mary Shelley Club, along with its creepy cover is far superior to the UK title, The Last Girl, with its bland gold one. Just sayin'.
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Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky. The Last Girl was published by Electric Monkey yesterday (that's Thursday 15th April 2021) and is available in paperback and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Last Girl but that has in no way influenced my review.

Everything about this book called to me. I'm a huge fan of the Final Girl trope and like to dabble in the odd spot of horror fiction every now and again (OK, it's fairly often!). So as soon as I saw that fabulous blood splattered, yellow cover and read the blurb, I knew I had to read The Last Girl. Yes, I may be a smidge out of the books YA age range but so flippin' what! I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining homage to horror movies.

Rachel Chavez has a secret. Something terrifying happened to her and she lives with the trauma and the memories every day. Turning to horror movies for comfort she struggles to come to terms with what she did that fateful night one year ago. Following a move from Long Island to an exclusive private school in Manhattan, Rachel struggles to adjust to her new surroundings. There's no denying it, she's the new girl at school and just doesn't fit in. She is neither privileged nor popular and only there because her mother is on the staff. But she finds a friend in Saundra who is determined to help her get to know a few people and drags Rachel unwittingly along to every party going. At one such party Rachel sees something she perhaps shouldn't and is introduced to The Mary Shelley Club: a group of ill-fitting teens who like to watch horror movies and test whether the horror tropes they love so much can actually play out in real life by staging dramatic and terrifying pranks they like to call Fear Tests. But it soon becomes clear that Rachel can't run from her past....

If you're a horror movie fan this is a must read! You will love the references and the discussions which take place between the characters. I've seen the grand total of zero horror movies [I kid you not! I was present once in the room when Scream played out on the TV - there was another teen slasher about Valentine's Day too but I can't remember what that was called!] and I absolutely devoured it. I may not have seen the movies but I'm familiar with many of the characters and what happens in the more popular films. For the more obscure references Google was my friend!

The Last Girl is a terrific book. It didn't take me long to warm to Rachel who I thought, despite what she had gone through (and her rather intense horror movie obsession), was a pretty normal, likeable kid. The other characters in the book are all very well drawn, particularly the members of the Mary Shelley Club - Felicity, Freddie, Bram & Thayer - who all had their own strong, identifiable personalities and idiosyncrasies. Some of the kids were popular, others weren't. Some were at the school as part of a scholarship, others were there because Mummy and Daddy were part of the New York elite. Despite being quite tightknit during meetings, outside they pretended not to know each other and I really liked that. It added to the whole mystical exclusive club vibe the author does so well. The themes of 'fitting in' and feeling the need to belong run strong through this novel. As someone who perhaps didn't always fit, I felt I could relate to Rachel's awkwardness at times.

However, I have to say as a responsible, *ahem* mature adult, the idea of the Mary Shelley Club is a terrible one (bloody marvellous as a piece of fiction - truly terrible in real life). But I couldn't help but enjoy every moment of it which probably makes me an awful human being! I loved seeing how the club re-enacted the popular tropes. The effort they put in to their 'pranks' was true dedication to the cause.  I'm a keen amateur sleuth - regular readers of damppebbles may already know this - but this is the first book in a while where I've not set out to find out 'whodunit'. I just went with the flow of the story without trying to second guess what was going to happen next and why. And I loved where this novel took me. Whilst the big reveal didn't come as a huge surprise there were aspects of it which I found quite shocking. I don't think I'm quite over it yet!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Last Girl was a thoroughly entertaining read. I was expecting a full-on teen slasher but what I got was a clever mystery laden with great horror movie references featuring a group of teens I actually started to care about, despite their obsession with fear and their insatiable need to terrorise people. A well-written page turner. A story that stuck its meat hooks into me from early on and kept me riveted from start to finish. I would happily read more from this author and will be on the look out for future releases. Recommended

I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Last Girl. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
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I am SO glad I got to read an ARC of this book because it was amazing. I had high expectations for this book after reading Goldy Moldavsky’s ‘Kill the Boy Band’ and it did not disappoint. This book follows Rachel, who has just moved to New York and is trying to recover from last year when she was attacked by two men in masks in her home. As a huge fan of horror, she’s glad to meet people with a shared interest - the members of the secret Mary Shelley club, where they watch horror movies. But they also take their love of horror to the next level - they carry out ‘Fear Tests’ where they pick a target and aim to scare them. It sounds like fun, but what happens when everything starts getting out of hand?

If you’re looking for a YA thriller to read, look no further. I loved the twists and turns in this book, the secret club, the references to horror movies and the Fear Tests. The ending was amazing. I highly recommend it!
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Sometimes a book just doesn't click with you through no fault of the book. The book seemed decent but I spent too much time retracing my steps to remind me what had happened as it was failing to stick in my mind. At 25%(my cut off point) I just wasn't connecting with the book enough to continue sadly.
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If Riley Sager was to write a YA novel it might turn out something like The Last Girl, the latest novel from Goldy Moldavsky, who has released several other YA thrillers, including the entertaining Kill the Boy Band (2016). The blurb sells the book story as “Scream meets Gossip Girl with a dash of One of Us is Lying” which is an honest way of selling what is a very clever, twisting thriller which surely has an author who is a massive horror film fan. Who knows whether the average teen reader of today will pick up on the multiple horror film references which populate this novel, but I certainly enjoyed them. Whether any seventeen-year-old girl would truly go to the cinema (on her own) to watch Evil Dead 2 I’m not sure, but she would certainly be a dream date for any genuine horror fans! The novel kicks off a year after Rachel Chavez survives a knife attack in her own home and in the aftermath has emotional problems and has to change schools. Once in the new school she struggles to make friends and becomes an easy target for the cool school bullies. However, whilst trying to start a new life she never quite escapes her past, which is a key part of the story.

For much of the story The Last Girl reads like a teen drama with Rachel doing her best to negotiate high school, which is populated with unlikable, spoilt and unpleasant teenager characters which just get worse as the story progresses. At a certain point she gets recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, who are fanatics obsessed with horror films and ultimately scaring people. Membership is very select and they do not fraternise with each other whist at school and carry out Fear Tests, which are like complex dares or pranks which aim to scare the living daylights out of whichever sucker is the target. However, as things escalate Rachel begins to be reminded of her assault the previous year. Although the novel has considerable fun with familiar horror tropes the various Fear Tests tested my patience and I cared little for these spoilt posh rich kids, with even Rachel letting her old best friend down. It was not a deep book, was a light read and has a tremendous twist at the end which I am sure teen readers will really enjoy.
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Thanks to the publishers for granting me access to this via NetGalley prior to its scheduled April 2021 release.
The Last Girl is a must-read for horror fans...a lovingly crafted homage to movies that revel in gore, jump-scares and violence. Even readers like myself (who can only read horror stories during the day and who can conjure up threats from the merest hint of shadows and strange noises) will find themselves sucked into this story. 
Even knowing the rules doesn’t always help. Sometimes you are up against something for which it’s hard to be prepared.
Our story focuses on new girl Rachel who’s started at an exclusive school where her mum teaches. She is not naturally sociable, and the trauma of killing a masked invader to her old home is something Rachel does not want to share with anyone. She is befriended by Saundra who is desperate to fill her in on the school gossip, but then Rachel finds herself part of a secret club.
Like Fight Club, the rules around this club are tight. Members cannot associate with one another, and nobody should talk about it. The Mary Shelley Club has a seemingly innocent aim, to gather and share a love of horror movies. Another aspect of the Club is the challenge that each member scare someone.
Initially, like Rachel, we see the Club as harmless - but there are signs that’s not the case. Before long we have a decidedly more dangerous scenario, and the question is whether Rachel will survive this experience.
Not to be taken too seriously, and not something you’d ever want to experience in reality, but self-aware enough to feel the author was having just as much fun writing it as I did reading it.
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After a traumatic experience, Rachel and her mother move to New York, where her mother has gotten a job teaching at a posh, private school. Rachel is the new girl, and an outsider, until she meets four other students who form the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club obsessed with fear.

This was a moderately enjoyable read but it had so much more potential. With secret societies, commentary on some of my favourite movies and Joshua Jackson references, this should have been a four or five star read for me. The overall plot was brilliant, but most of the details didn't feel planned out enough. While the seance at the start of the book was a great introduction to what happens at the Mary Shelley Club, I felt that all of the other fear tests were let-downs and while the ending tied things together nicely, it was rushed. 

I can see that there are other editions of this book on Goodreads with the title 'The Mary Shelley Club', a much more appealing title in my opinion, and this yellow locker cover design is generic and forgettable. 

I really think it will appeal to fans of Holly Jackson and Karen McManus.

Thank you NetGalley and Egmont for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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