Queer Book Club: Bunny by Mona Awad

The 13th review for my Queer Horror Reading Challenge feels like a cause for celebration, so get out your tiny pink frosted cupcakes for Bunny by Mona Awad, a satirical horror novel for adults.

Samantha Heather Mackey loved writing until she won one of the limited and much sought-after places on Warren University’s MFA writing programme. Since then, she hasn’t been able to write much at all. Everything about the place sucks the life out of her, not least the group of women who share her tutorial group. Samantha’s named the saccharine-sweet clique the Bunnies, as that’s what they call each other: Bunny. If it weren’t for Warren drop out, Ava, Samantha would have gone crazy. But even though she’s repelled by them, the Bunnies fascinate her and, when she receives an invitation to one of their select gatherings, she’s drawn into their world.

This is a delightfully strange book, taking the old trope of sorority horror and running with it into bizarre new territory. It’s a twisting, twisted, often funny tale that becomes weirder as it progresses. The prose is assured and enjoyable; the plot feels fresh and unpredictable. I’m glad to have stumbled upon this unusual gem. I remember late at night catching old sorority horror films on TV as a kid and it’s always been one of my favourite tropes, with its heady mix of social claustrophobia and weird hazing rituals. Bunny doesn’t include a sorority, per se, but it’s got the same mixture that’s so enjoyable when it’s done well, as it is here.

As far as queer representation goes, Samantha is a dreamer and often seems detached from the life around her and her own desires. There’s also a fair amount of repressed emotion going on with all the characters. Samantha’s maybe bi, but whether she’d use that label for herself is another matter. She’s nowhere near that point. Bunny handles the desires and insecurities of the young women in an entirely transgressive way that blends social satire with bizarro horror elements, allowing for an exploration of the mess that is friendship and sexuality in a fresh and unpretentious way. Unlike the Bunnies.

I should stress, this is an odd book. It probably won’t be what you’re expecting, because it’s not quite like anything else. The somewhat trippy bizarro elements and unreliable narrator mean it won’t be for everyone, but it’s worth a look if any of the things I’ve mentioned above would float your boat. Unlike many stories about secret college societies, it’s genuinely surprising.


2 thoughts on “Queer Book Club: Bunny by Mona Awad

  1. Pingback: Queer Horror Review: Thirteen of the Best, 2010-2020 | Mr Volpone

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