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Good Girls Don't Die


Good Girls Don't Die

GOOD GIRLS DON’T DIE is as confounding as it is brilliant. Christina Henry has taken a mash-up of different genres, such as sci-fi, thriller and horror, and completely deconstructed them before our eyes. There are three different stories here involving women in bizarre situations that do not seem real. Yet the danger appears to be very real, and they may not have enough time to figure out what is actually going on before it is too late for them.

First up is Celia, who wakes up in a house she does not recognize only to be greeted by a husband and a young daughter she does not know. She attempts to piece her new life together by looking at her cell phone, which is filled with contacts and photos of people she also is not familiar with at all.

"GOOD GIRLS DON’T DIE is as confounding as it is brilliant.... [The book] finds all of [Henry's] talents on full display in a story of final girls like you’ve never seen them before."

Celia is led to her job at a restaurant where she is in some management role and has an unpleasant encounter with a rude elderly woman. A cop eventually shows up claiming to be that lady’s son. He accuses Celia of assaulting her and giving her a black eye. She is positive none of that happened and begins to think someone is playing games with her. Later, Celia is tossing garbage into the dumpster behind the restaurant and finds the woman’s lifeless body. She takes off in the middle of the night in an effort to either escape or wake up. It is only when she sees the strange door that she decides to push it.

Readers then are introduced to Allie, who is in a cabin in the woods with a small group of friends. Odd things begin to happen, including crashes and various sounds. When Brad goes out to check on his vehicle, he finds it mangled up. He goes off into the night in search of the coward who did this and is not seen or heard from again. Allie has a feeling that everything around her is staged --- from the cabin that is not completely finished to the woods that seem to be neatly conceived. She makes her escape from a large man swinging a blade at her and does stop until she gets to an unfinished part of the landscape, approaching a door in a wall.

Finally, we have Maggie, who is caught up in some sort of an adult mix of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games. She has a number on her chest, and a strange man demands that she get through the maze or else she will never see her daughter again. Maggie has several female opponents, most of whom fall prey to things like planted bombs and weird-looking giant spiders. Even with one of the players turning heel on the rest of the group, Maggie’s concern remains on her surroundings. She feels like she is in a huge warehouse as the sky is obviously fake and no wind is blowing. At the end of the line, she and one of her fellow participants come to a door and push through it.

The last section, titled “All Together Now,” features all of these women who end up on the other side of their respective doors and now are united against whatever is toying with them. I will say no more as the final journey is well worth the frustration that this dynamic novel produces.

I have been a fan of Christina Henry for many years, enjoying her new takes on classic fairy tales, including LOST BOYS and HORSEMAN. GOOD GIRLS DON’T DIE finds all of her talents on full display in a story of final girls like you’ve never seen them before.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on November 22, 2023

Good Girls Don't Die
by Christina Henry