Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Nine books featuring female villains who lean into their wickedness

Rebecca Kelley is an author and graphic designer whose first novel, Broken Homes and Gardens, was published in 2015.

Her second novel, No One Knows Us Here, is out this month from Lake Union Publishing.

"There is a point in my novel No One Knows Us Here when my heroine does a very, very bad thing, Kelley writes. "She doesn’t have to do the bad thing—it’s not one of those 'steal a loaf of bread to feed her starving family' situations. She has other options and chooses to go down the dark path anyway."

At Electric Lit Kelley tagged nine "stories about bad women who chose to go down a dark and devious path," including:
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth fits into the “Is your child a violent psychopath or am I just a horrible parent?” subgenre along with We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver and The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing. In this case, our villainess comes in the form of a little girl, Hanna. Sweet as candy to her adoring father, Hanna terrorizes her mother the minute he turns his back. “It was hard to pour endless love into someone who wouldn’t love you back,” observes the narrator. “No one could do it forever.”
Read about another entry on the list.

Baby Teeth is among Amber Garza's five titles featuring (possibly) murderous children, Christina Dalcher's seven crime books that challenge notions of inherent female goodness, May Cobb's five psychological thrillers featuring single-minded villains & anti-heroes, Jae-Yeon Yoo's top ten books about the promise & perils of alternative schooling, Pamela Crane's five top novels featuring parenting gone wild, Damien Angelica Walters's five titles about the horror of girlhood, and Sally Hepworth's eight messed up fictional families.

--Marshal Zeringue