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Plain Bad Heroines
“Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth was by far my favorite book of 2021. It's spooky and sapphic and gothic to the extreme. The story switches between a haunted early 1900s boarding school and modern Hollywood with a rotating (and entirely queer) cast of characters. Read it read it read it!!!”Emma,
Quail Ridge Books
“Loved this creepy, gothic, queer, centuries-spanning tale about obsession, forbidden love and curses. I hope you aren't afraid of yellow jackets. What's that sound? It's buzzing. Do you hear it?”Zinna,
A Great Good Place for Books
“This one's a stunner. Emily Danforth writes so compellingly, that even for its slow pacing, Plain Bad Heroines is impossible to put down. This is so much more than horror - a queer, coming-of-age, love story, history rewritten to include those it should never have erased - so atmospheric and character-driven, I found it difficult to find myself afraid, only undeniably intrigued. I giggled hysterically. I shook my fists at the patriarchy (because of course I did). Reader, I'd dive right back in again, even at the risk of yellow jackets following me back out.”Britt,
Second Star to the Right
“I have never read a book that was this much fun. This was a roller coaster of a read, hitting all the notes from beginning to end. Gothic elements intermingled with the current time period will keep the reader so engrossed that they won’t realize they’ve stayed up all night reading this book, one that’s the kind of book you don’t want to read in the dark but you just can’t put down. The ride through history that meets the present will keep you entertained, on your toes, and peeking between your fingers as you cover your eyes.”Sandra Cararo,
The Book Dragon
“One of the most perfect fall books I've ever read! Plain Bad Heroines follows 2 intertwines stories, one of a cursed New Hampshire boarding school for young girls, the other a modern film crew shooting a film based on the events of the first storyline. The action is spooky but not scary, creepy & deadly without being gory. The author deftly moves between timelines, teasing out more clues as she deepens the mystery and the narrator's deep, honied voice has just the right tinge between old fashioned and modern”Genavieve,
Books & Company
“Full of Victorian sapphic romance, metafictional horror, biting misandrist humor, Hollywood intrigue, and multiple timeliness—all replete with evocative illustrations that are icing on a deviously delicious cake.” –O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE
“Brimming from start to finish with sly humor and gothic mischief. Brilliant.” — SARAH WATERS
Named a Most Anticipated Book by Entertainment Weekly • O, The Oprah Magazine • Buzzfeed • Harper's Bazaar • Vulture • Parade • Popsugar • Bustle • GoodReads • Autostraddle • Literary Hub • and more!
The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit
Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
A story within a story within a story, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.
Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.