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Bunny: A Novel (Paperback)
Awad’s brain is terrifying, but this appealed to me immediately—reviewers compared it to The Secret History, Heathers, The Craft, all some of the truest paths to my heart. A hilariously savage send-up of MFA writing programs (and supposedly one in particular), the plot of Bunny does wildly unexpected things and by the time I finished I didn’t really know which end was up but I was exhilarated. In good conscience, I’ll note that I had to take a break from this novel because it got too scary, but also you should note that it doesn’t take much to scare me.
Samantha Mackey is a student in the graduate writing program at Warren University (get it???) and, never the smoothest social operator, she’s finding her current milieu to be especially resistant to her charms. There are the women in her class—all giving off a palpable air of wealth and privilege—with their edged smiles and more or less impenetrable secret language; the professor, a loathsome amalgam of every self-important teacher you’ve ever had, that Samantha privately refers to as Fosco (see Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White); and the one she calls the Lion—beautifully maned and suddenly remote for reasons Samantha can’t fathom.
Samantha’s only solace is witchy Ava, who has more vision and intelligence in a toenail than any of these scholars Samantha must plod along with, and when she feels especially dispirited, Ava and her “Drink Me” flask steadfastly offer support. I’m going to stop here because revealing any more will be a disservice to you and to Bunny but if mad bacchic violence is your thing—and trust me, it is—read this immediately.
June 2019 Indie Next List
“Mona Awad tells a harrowing story of a writer trying to overcome her writer’s block while simultaneously refusing to look deeper into herself or acknowledge her own needs or desires. This lack of self-knowledge leads her to a friendship with a group of young MFA students who are always ‘workshopping’…with disastrous consequences. The writing feels cinematic at times, moody and illustrative. Home, identity, love (both romantic and platonic), inner (and outer) demons, and academic elitism all play a part in this spectacle of creation and destruction. Awad creates a kind of magic that changes with the wind, a contemporary Prometheus tale.”
— Katrina Feraco, The Toadstool Bookshop - Keene, Keene, NH
Soon to be a major motion picture
"Jon Swift + Witches of Eastwick + Kelly 'Get In Trouble' Link + Mean Girls + Creative Writing Degree Hell! No punches pulled, no hilarities dodged, no meme unmangled! O Bunny you are sooo genius!" —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
"A wild, audacious and ultimately unforgettable novel." —Michael Schaub, Los Angeles Times
"Awad is a stone-cold genius." —Ann Bauer, The Washington Post
The Vegetarian meets Heathers in this darkly funny, seductively strange novel from the acclaimed author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl and Rouge
"We were just these innocent girls in the night trying to make something beautiful. We nearly died. We very nearly did, didn't we?"
Samantha Heather Mackey couldn't be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England's Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort--a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other "Bunny," and seem to move and speak as one.
But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies' fabled "Smut Salon," and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door--ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies' sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus "Workshop" where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.
The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.
Named a Best Book of 2019 by TIME, Vogue, Electric Literature, and The New York Public Library
About the Author
Mona Awad is the author of Bunny, named a Best Book of 2019 by TIME, Vogue, and the New York Public Library. It was a finalist for the New England Book Award and a Goodreads Choice Award. It is currently optioned for film with Bad Robot Productions. Awad’s debut, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Her most recent novel, All’s Well, was longlisted for the International Dublin Award and was a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror.
"Every time I open it up, I stumble upon a crackling sentence." —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"Awad has proved herself one of the most innovative and original authors out there, and Bunny is a wild, audacious and ultimately unforgettable novel." —Los Angeles Times
"A work of toothsome and fanged intelligence....wickedly hilarious." —The New Yorker
"Deliciously evil . . . Awad is a stone-cold genius." —The Washington Post
"Very funny and very sharp . . . An extremely readable page-turner." —NPR's "Weekend Edition"
"A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . A touching story of true-versus-faux friendship that many women will relate to is at the heart of this novel, but fans of the occult will find plenty to love about the Bunnies' sci-fi-adjacent ritual experimentation. As if grad school needed to get any scarier." —Vogue, "The Best Novels of 2019"
"[One of] the most cerebral and compulsively readable books of the season . . . This compelling novel about a mysterious grad school clique draws a bit of inspiration from Mean Girls or Heathers...before long, the novel takes a turn into the surreal, applying the logic of a horror movie to its incisive exploration of cruelty between young women." —Vanity Fair
"A spiritual cousin to Stephen King’s Carrie . . . Bunny is a kind of pastel-toned goth lit, an examination of what happens when 'soft' femininity meets the tougher kind—but one that also recognizes how blurry the distinction can be." —TIME
"Wacky and delicious." —Lauren Groff, via Twitter
"With visuals so vivid, and a plot so weird and gripping that it’s already been snapped up to be made into a TV series, Bunny is a summer book, an escapist comedy, a beach read that you’ll want to pass around. But that’s only partly because it’s rollickingly, laugh-out-loud funny. What makes it memorable, and powerful, is the coupling of its go-for-broke sendup with an immense compassion . . . For all its dagger-sharpness, Bunny has a tenderly accommodating heart." —The Boston Globe
"It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky, and you will not be able to put it down." —The Washington Post
"A surreal, darkly funny take on art, power, and female friendships." —Entertainment Weekly
"Exquisitely precise [and] funny as hell.'" —The Boston Globe
"Like one of those razors marketed to women: you know, pink but still GD dangerous." —Elle
"To call this a dark comedy undersells the richness of its message, and to say it’s a satire misses its realism. Bunny is so sharp it will leave you bloody." —Vulture
"The weirdest novel you'll read this year . . . in the best way possible…With hints of Heathers and Mean Girls, I read Bunny in one night and was genuinely bummed when it was over." —Mehera Bonner, Cosmopolitan
"[A] dizzying tale of misandry, class anxiety, and psychological torment . . . Fans of sinister girl gangs, take heart!" —Harper’s Bazaar
"A dark, twisted novel that sharply interrogates women's relationships to one another and to art, academia, and class—it's the kind of book that leaves a taste in your mouth, the taste of blood. Who knew that would taste so good?" —Nylon
"Mona Awad’s prose is dangerous. She crafts beautiful meals laced with poison." —The Paris Review
"Mona Awad lets femininity bare its fangs." —The Toronto Star
"With notes of Scream Queens and Heathers, Bunny takes readers into a twisted, terrifying cabal." —Newsweek
"[Bunny] quickly ascends to a Heathers level of camp without losing its grip on emotional reality . . . the struggle, shame, and frustration of making art rings true . . . enjoyable, insightful [and] compulsively readable." —Ploughshares
"Strange, gothic and viciously entertaining." —The Irish Times
"Awad’s genius lies in her ability to take a familiar setup and turn it on its head—and then shake it and throw it off a cliff. That’s how twisted Bunny gets." —Purewow
"Tall, dark and culty." —TheSkimm
"If you’ve ever been the odd one out, read Bunny." —Refinery29
"The Vegetarian meets Carrie meets Mean Girls in this deliciously dark tale about toxic female friendships, academia and class." —BookRiot, "7 of the Buzziest Beach Reads of the Year"
"[A] riotous, pitch-black novel . . . [Awad's] sheer panache powers you through the hilarious, hallucinogenic freakery." —The Daily Mail
"Gripping [and] unique." —InStyle
"The Secret History meets Heathers with a dash of Mean Girls. You’re gonna love it." —HelloGiggles
"[A] clever, contemplative, truly absurd campus novel that manages to strike to the truth of things with a hot blade of magic.” —LitHub
"Awad’s prose is compulsively readable, and Samantha’s voice sticks in one’s head....With this book, no axe or spell is needed: whatever ritual Awad did, Bunny came out just right." —Ploughshares
"[Awad] has a wicked sense of humor . . . The energy in her writing is truly infectious, and it’s a lot of fun to go with her down the rabbit hole." —Washington Independent Review of Books
"Bunny is the lovechild of Otessa Moshfegh’s Eileen and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History after a chance meeting at a midnight showing of Heathers . . . Dark but hilarious, quirky yet insightful, and at times just flat out weird, Bunny is the perfect anti-beach read for those of us who spend summer dreading the outside, opting to stay in burning scented candles with our curtains drawn and our white noise machine set to 'thunder storm.'" —Napa Valley Register
"[A] riveting and often funny tale about the dark side of female seduction." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Gripping [and] frenetically readable . . . In this exploration of how women’s repressed rage and desires can manifest, Awad weaponizes cuteness in a ferocious and dynamic way . . . [She] artfully demonstrates what it’s like to attempt to be creative while drowning in the alienating and garish malaise that is being alive in our current cultural moment." —Quill & Quire
"Social acceptance, female friendship, the coming-of-age process . . . it's all ripe for the discussion here." —Bustle
"Astonishingly self-assured . . . Awad’s writing is somehow both gorgeous and gritty as she explores creativity, art and the universal desire to belong." —BookPage
"Full of Fight Club-level plot twists and sharp, biting humor; the novel is the perfect summer-to-fall transition read. Pro-tip: Convince a friend to do a buddy read because you’ll want someone to discuss it with after." —Girls Night In (Book Club Pick)
"A viciously funny bloodbath . . . Awad gleefully pumps up the novel's nightmarish quality until the boundary between perception and reality has all but dissolved completely. It's clear that Awad is having fun here—the proof is in the gore—and her delight is contagious . . . Wickedly sharp . . . A near-perfect realization of a singular vision." —Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"Outstanding . . . highly addictive, darkly comedic . . . Awad will have readers racing to find out how it all ends—and they won’t be disappointed once the story reaches its wild finale. This is an enchanting and stunningly bizarre novel." —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
"Sharp and utterly bonkers; think Heathers gone to grad school." —Booklist
"[A] dark story that defies categorization." —Library Journal
"Mona Awad’s precision is only matched by her wit as she mounts one of the most pristine, delightful attacks on popular girls since Clueless. Bunny made me cackle and nod in terrified recognition. You will be glued to your cashmere blanket." —Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl
"The Secret History meets Jennifer’s Body. This brilliant, sharp, weird book skewers the heightened rhetoric of obsessive female friendship in a way I don't think I've ever seen before. I loved it and I couldn't put it down." —Kristen Roupenian, author of "Cat Person" and You Know You Want This
"Hilarious and subversive, magical and knife-sharp. This novel—a send-up of academia, an astute exploration of class in creative circles, and an ode to the uncanny power of art—confirms Mona Awad as one of our great chroniclers of what it means to be alive right now. Bunny is a stunner." —Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel
"It is not an exaggeration to say that I devoured Bunny—teeth, fur, claws and all. Mona Awad has written a truly delectable novel that is equal parts wit, fancy, and wickedness. Unafraid to challenge some sacrosanct notions about women artists, female friendship, and writing, her book is a compulsively readable testament to the sheer creative force of loneliness and longing." —Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Miss Hempel Chronicles
"If you’ve ever entertained dark fantasies about what really goes on at an exclusive MFA program, Bunny will fulfill your wildest dreams . . . The novel twists from familiar campus realism to a dark fairytale, all the while traversing the emotional highs and lows of the writing process." —Electric Literature