Samantha Heather Mackey is repelled by her MFA writing cohort—a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other "Bunny," and are often found entangled in a group hug so tight they become one. The feeling appears mutual, until Samantha is invited to attend the Bunnies' fabled "Smut Salon." Samantha is slowly drawn into the Bunnies cloying and sinister world.
Awad does so many things right in Bunny ... Bunny functions perfectly as both a dark academic satire and a creepy horror novel, and Awad threads them both seamlessly—she can make the reader laugh out loud in one paragraph, and cringe with fear in the next ... With the Bunnies, Awad has created some of the most memorable antagonists in recent fiction. The young women are scarily believable contradictions ... They’re also perfect foils for Awad’s satire of the preciousness and navel-gazing that sometimes accompany discourse about creative writing ... Awad has a true gift for satire—Bunny is as mercilessly funny as similarly themed novels by Jane Smiley (Moo) and James Hynes (The Lecturer’s Tale). But it also shines as a horror tale ... It’s a novel that’s difficult to describe but easy to fall in love with ... Awad has proved herself one of the most innovative and original authors out there, and Bunny is a wild, audacious and ultimately unforgettable novel.
The Bunnies go through a lot of Drafts. There is a lot of blood. Their ritual is an engaging metaphor for the emotional investment artists place in their work and the brazen disregard of an artist working with blinders on. Awad expertly balances the horror of the ritual with her acerbic humor ... The novel quickly ascends to a Heathers level of camp without losing its grip on emotional reality ...the struggle, shame, and frustration of making art rings true ... In many ways, Bunny is a book made for English majors, rife with literary references and fairytale homages, but Awad strikes a careful balance: those who pick up her references will appreciate them, and those who don’t won’t miss out on the story. Furthermore, Awad’s prose is compulsively readable, and Samantha’s voice sticks in one’s head ... With this book, no axe or spell is needed: whatever ritual Awad did, Bunny came out just right.
[Awad] has a wicked sense of humor, and you get the sense she had a lot of fun writing this book. But her sense of the macabre takes a peculiar turn ... it’s a shame Awad doesn’t really run with it or play more with these ideas to greater comic and horrific effect. Instead, she takes the story off on a tack which doesn’t entirely deliver. Bunny has its share of sinister ritual, but you won’t find the kinds of set pieces, nail-biting moments, ramped-up stakes, or manipulations of time and tension you expect from the best kinds of horror stories ... Nevertheless, anyone who has attended an MFA program or writers retreat will recognize many elements Awad satirizes. Bunny is a clever commentary on female friendship and artistic competitiveness. The energy in her writing is truly infectious, and it’s a lot of fun to go with her down the rabbit hole.