Every week, Volumes will feature a new review from one of your St Cuthberts classmates. Want to write one of your own? It's easy! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'Book review request' to find out more.
This week, Ava Dilly (Year 9) explores the haunting, unsettling horror read Bunny by Mona Awad.
When you think of a bunny, what comes to mind? Soft and cuddly? Cute and playful? Bunny by Mona Awad is the antonyms of all those adjectives embodied. Published in 2019 and the winner of the Ladies of Horror Fiction Award for Best Novel, Bunny sucks readers down a dark hole of isolation, desperation, and the dangers of imagination.
Samantha Mackey, an antisocial college student part of an exclusive writing program at Warren University in New England, despises the other four women (nicknamed ‘Bunnies’) in her cohort. Yet, when they unexpectedly invite her to one of their weekly workshops outside of school, Samantha can’t find it in herself to refuse and gets caught up in a whirlwind of supernatural rituals and axe decapitations.
Awad’s novel is reminiscent of others such as The Secret History and Frankenstein, with common themes of isolation, alienation, ambition, and the pursuit of perfection in their respective crafts. Through seeing ourselves in Samantha, Bunny helps us explore the idea of our desperation to belong and just how far that desire will take us. ‘And that’s when I realise that whatever pain I have, whatever true want I have that lives under all this greasy, spineless needing to please isn’t something I want to give them.’
I would compare reading this book to a rollercoaster ride, but that would imply the weirdness declined at some point. It did not. From the first line, I knew I was in for a read of a lifetime. Awad’s way of crafting words is so gruesome and masterful that I often found myself stuck between grimacing at the gore and grinning at the impeccably timed dark humour. I would definitely recommend paying attention to all the details while reading, because you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience as the story draws to a close.
Bunny was a disturbing and surprisingly sad novel that has hopped up to first place in my top books so far this year. I gave this book 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone over the age of 12 who loves psychological fiction and wishes life was a little more supernatural.
Keen to read? You can check out Bunny at the Frances Compton Library!
Trigger Warnings: animal abuse, bullying, death of a parent (past), drugging, gore, manipulation, mental illness, murder, parental abandonment, self-harm, sex
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