book review: Bunny by Mona Awad
Overview: Samantha is completely over her MFA program at one of the most prestigious schools in the country. After a questionable relationship with an awkward ending with a faculty member, a bad case of writers block, and being placed firmly on the outs of the clique of girls that make up the rest of her cohort, she's ready to be done with the elitism and pretentious attitudes. Luckily, she has her best friend Ava, who lives in the town around the school but is entirely removed from it, to keep her sane. That is until Samantha starts getting invites to hang out with the clique otherwise known as the Bunnies, and she quickly discovers that there's something darker bonding them together than just being obsessed with each other. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 Samantha is your classic outsider. She has a dash of every bit of that stereotype. She's a bit bitter while also relishing in the fact that she can claim to be the special, different outsider. She has a random father who's hiding out from the police, a dead mom, a tragic backstory of having become rich and lost it all, and a secret, burning desire to be included in a group she claims to detest. It's hard to get a grasp on who Samantha really is beyond all these sprinkled ingredients. But voice is what makes the story worth reading. She encapsulates the world in an interesting way as she dictates the strange happenings.
I truly do not have enough of a grasp on the rest of the characters and whether they're real people or possessed or magical creatures to describe them. Jonah is the only exception. He's a quiet guy from another part of the program that clearly likes Samantha and wants to get to know her, but he constantly gets rebuffed by her because she's too caught up in the wild happenings of her life. The book starts with a flickering interaction with Jonah and ends with one, and he's the only character who feels solidly attached to the Earth and to the real program.
Plot: ? Plot? What is the plot of this book? I couldn't actually say. There's certainly a lot of action. You won't be bored, but you'll also never really have a grasp on what's going on or what'll happen next. There's not a firm enough line between what's part of the "real" world and what's hallucination or magic or anything else that can be a big twist reveal. Random things happen with no standard set for it being a possibility, and you just have to shrug and say, "Okay, that happened." Every time you think you're getting towards figuring out the rules of the world, the story gets shaken like a snow globe again. I've never encountered a book that has so much plot while also being so deeply no plot just vibes.
Writing: 3.5 The vibes are immaculate. It's an interesting world that Awad builds. Even though I was lost half the time, I never wanted to put the book down. I wanted to figure it out, crack the code. I would have preferred that the book did have a reveal twist towards the end that further unwound what was real and what was either magic or hallucination or something else. Because, sometimes, I wondered if the author had a real grasp on the rules of the world herself. If you're looking for a romp through a new dark academia world, it's definitely worth picking up, but just be warned that the book only unravels and loses coherence more and more as time goes on. There will be no answers, but if that's okay with you, it's definitely worth reading.
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