Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
Publisher/date: William Morrow; Illustrated Edition (October 20, 2020)
Rating: T (while this is not YA, there's nothing graphically violent in this book, more of a spine tingling terror)
"Girls who set fires only to watch as others tried and failed to put them out..."
Merritt Emmons, the prickly author. Harper Harper, the newest Hollywood starlet. And Audrey Wells, child star and current B-list failing actress. These three women are cast together when Merritt's book, a true story about the Brookhants (pronounced Brook-haunts, because of course it is) School for Girls and the young women who died there.
But the movie doesn't go as planned. Cursed by slime growing in camera lenses and dead props and injuries, but why? Harper and Merritt and Audrey (oh my) will form their own Plain Bad Heroines Society, and they will find out, whether they mean to or not.
Literal fucking goosebumps. Jesus H Christ, I will never again be able to look at a yellow jacket without a queer feeling of fear creeping up my spine. See what I did there? This was amazing. So amazing that I’m sad that it’s over. But also relieved? Not all the way relieved because true horror like this leaves you with that feeling at the end, like there is just enough truth in it to be plausible. Like maybe it really did happen. Three women. And again. And again. And again? Witchy without being specifically and directly witchy. Horror without gruesomeness is a kind of art. And the narrator playing directly into the story like this, do we know who she is by the end? Maybe? But not in an unsatisfactory way like a loose end untied, but like a seed of possibility that was left for the reader to interpret as they will. To make the story seem even more real. Am I rambling? Yes. Because I'm still reeling over this amazing amazing amazing story. If your are queer and you like horror, you must read this. If you’re not queer and you like horror, you must read this. This is the best book I’ve read this year. I will be avidly picking up anything Emily Danforth going forward, with both excitement and fear. 5 stars. 6 stars...and a yellow jacket?