Bunny by Mona Awad Book Review
“We were just these innocent girls in the night trying to make something beautiful. We nearly died. We very nearly did, didn’t we?”
Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England’s Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one.
But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ fabled “Smut Salon,” and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.
The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.
Here is the sensitive content I observed while reading this book:
- Animal cruelty/death
- Body Shaming
- Death of a Parent
- Eating Disorder
- Medical treatment/trauma
- Sexual Content
- Sexual Harassment
- Toxic relationships
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There are **SPOILERS** beyond this point!
I love that Bunny was so much more story than I thought I was going to be getting. Wow! It was definitely a roller coaster!! I was crying and laughing and cringing the whole way through! I literally never knew what was going to happen next! I went into this with everyone telling me it was like a cross between Mean Girls and Scream Queens, which are two of my favorites! It did not disappoint! Those are definitely the vibes but it is still very much Mona’s own brand of fun.
I loved the macabre and hilarious light that Mona Awad put on this thesis class setting! I was happily swallowed whole by Samantha’s dark and snarky lens. Through Samantha’s eyes, we got an absolutely chilling but creative view of otherwise mundane scenarios! It was fun to fall into the excess of her general mistrust and fear of all that is foreign to her; family, friendship, success, and creation.
There are discussions of what it really means to be creative and what is true/good/real art. With this topic, all we see in this book points to Samantha truly being an artist and creating something that the Bunnies only wish they could obtain. The Bunnies are never as good as Samantha. Her trauma has allowed her to create far more believable lies and deceptions, or in the magical realism’s aspect, the true creation of believable human clones. The metaphorical connection between what we see the Bunnies present in workshop on campus and what we see them struggle to create on their own, shows us that Samantha is better in both areas of art. We hear from her peers all the time that she writes compelling dark and twisted stories. And we see her “bunnies” or clones. I, personally, believe that if it makes you feel, the artist did their job. Her work prompts strong emotions from her audience. She never believes in her own success though.
Building from this topic, true suffering is what yields the most striking art. Samantha has faced what it means to have “it all” and then lose it. Her awareness of what she doesn’t have is one of the main ways that she separates herself from the 4 women she is obsessed with in this book. Whether it’s love or hate from them, Sam never forgets to make the distinction between all the Bunnies have that she doesn’t. I think this pain from the loss of what her life was once like makes it easier for her to create something substantial enough to stand in place of the genuine human affection she’s been lacking.
The biggest topic of this book is, of course, female friendship. Samantha’s perception of herself and of the friendship or bond that Caroline, Kira, Victoria and Eleanor have is given to us through both a red-tinted shiny view and a dark and thorny view. The highs and lows of their relationship reeled me in. Just when I got comfortable with the dynamic something would agitate Samantha and it would change all over again. I never truly landed on one side or the other until the end of the book.
This is a book that I know will be such a treat to reread with all I have learned on this first journey! It’s enthralling and wicked and will keep you on your toes but I really enjoyed this twisted little book. It was darkly funny and the imagery was intense but thrilling. This unique read has been on my mind since I finished it and I will definitely be reading this during Halloween again. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Scream Queens but maybe add Girl, Interrupted in there too. But, I would say to give this a read if you like unreliable narrators, feminine rage, and magical realism.
Here are my thoughts throughout reading the book in each part. I’ve only edited for grammar and typos. There are definitely spoilers in this portion of the review.
I really liked how Jonah says that he wants to read more of Samantha’s poetry after everyone hated it. It was so sweet! I instantly like him.
The grotesque way she describes the Bunnies after she drinks “herself” just feels really strange! I don’t know if Samantha is a reliable narrator given how often she lies.
This book rather homoerotic… there’s so many euphemisms that make her relationship with the Bunnies more like a romance than a friendship. Samantha talks about them and describes these women to us in a really sexual manner. It’s not explicit but it is often twisted and dark but seems more like imagery from a dark romance than a tale about friends.
“Masturbatory sheen” !!! Blech! She talks about masturbating so much.
They all wrote creepy, dark, bizarre poetry too! I was so confused about why Samantha felt so much like an outsider. From what we see. And she’s obsessed with them. She has been consistently watching everything they do, everywhere they go, and everything they wear.
All the violence on campus?! Is it the Bunnies?
I know I love dark books because the only thing I’m left thinking now that I’ve finished part one is… There’s got to be a cleaner way to get all this done! And omgoodness , how are y’all doing this?! But also, what are those little tictac pills they’re taking?
I still really like Jonah. I feel that he can relate to her more than the Bunnies can.
Her relationship with her dad is like mine.
The veil is lifting from the bunny drug haze. How was she so unaware of how they work against her? It’s crazy how the line is so thin between these girls. Did they let her in just to show her that they hate her or does the hate now stem from her failure to perform for them?
“Fucking explode you little shit!” 🤣
I knewwwwwwwwww! Omg! I knew that was her bunny! He literally lies just like Samantha does! But with all the other qualities, he was definitely made for her! I wonder now if the Bunnies knew it was her bunny and they thought the fact that he wants to go “home” and not be with her asking hollow questions was the funny part. They made just a big deal about her expanding on the idea of home in her final workshop with Ursula.
Yay! She finally found Ava again through Bunny boy’s help!
Samantha’s bunny boy is in love with Ava like she is. And he’s perfect lol
Why are the Bunnies trying to find Samantha? Caroline with the eat me scars. Kira with no baby voice or acting like a cat. Victoria so dirty. Eleanor is not prepared and ethereal.
Omg! Ava isn’t real?!?! Omg! They killed Ava!!!
The Bunnies still obsess over Max even though they know he’s a bunny boy.
She chops him in the neck but the stag doesn’t die?! How is she turning everyone?! Just with her will?! Omg.
Genre & Tropes
Check out Bunny on Amazon here.