If you’re looking for 1) a new voice 2) feminist horror 3) lots of pointy teeth, you’ll definitely want to check out today’s Genre For All spotlight title, Kristi DeMeester’s SUCH A PRETTY SMILE.
“Demeester’s darkly visceral imagery draws a fine line between mental illness and supernatural events that will leave readers doubting reality as the uncanny merges with the real-world horrors of a young girl coming of age.”–Publishers Weekly
For readers of:
- THE PUSH, because it examines what happens when women are not believed
- WHISPER NETWORK, because it is an incisive look at women’s struggle against misogyny
- THE SANATORIUM, because it is a chilling tale set against the backdrop of horrifying events
- MY DARK VANESSA, because it is an intense look at women both victimized and empowered in their battle for equality
- Promising Young Woman, because it is a twisted look at vengeance against predatory men
- Hard Candy, because it is a complex investigation into the psychology of revenge
2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.
2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waives her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.
As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, SUCH A PRETTY SMILE is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty.