Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth is the tale of two stories- bound together by a curse. In Plain Bad Heroines, we learn of Brookhants and its curses.
This book mixes Victorian Gothic sapphic stories with a contemporary queer story. This was a really interesting back and forth, and the writing reflected the different timelines incredibly well. In the past, we follow The Brookhants School for Girls and its downfall. In the current timeline, we follow the filming of the movie The Happenings At Brookhants and the chaos that ensues.
This genuinely could have been two separate books simply placed in the same location, and it was all the better for this combination. There were moments when I wanted to read more about Alex and Libbie, and other moments when I wanted more of Harper, Merritt, and Audrey. The footnotes of the books make it increasingly enjoyable and make you feel more involved in the book- as if it was being told to you directly.
The sarcasm mixed with the more frightening scenes and the curse interwoven throughout the entire story is done very well. The girls are fully fleshed-out characters, and it is clearly written by someone who understands the mentalities of young women. There is something dangerous and feral about the book that felt good to read, as these girls are not overly soft or polite. It felt realistic, even with the haunting aspects. The way everything wrapped itself up was interesting, but it’s the only thing I would genuinely say I wanted more from.
This was a struggle to read the book at the speed I normally read. I think that’s because there was just so much information being shared. However, I intend to read this book again when it comes out in October!
Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.