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Publisher's Summary

“Wonderfully well-written. The dread, the enigma, build with each scene.” (Josh Malerman)

Best Horror Books by Library Journal

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Kristi DeMeester's Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.

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.

“A righteously angry fever dream.” (Paul Tremblay)

“Brutal and shocking.” (Emily M. Danforth)

“Darkly feminist.” (Karma Brown)

“Razor-sharp. This one will cut you.” (Christopher Golden)

“Darkly visceral...will leave readers doubting reality.” (Publishers Weekly)

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press.

©2022 Kristi DeMeester (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Such a Pretty Smile

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Worst book I’ve read in a while

If I wanted a mystical beast book I could’ve read something else. This book presents itself as a serial killer whodunnit type of book - right up my alley. But the story line quickly turned into some weird unrealistic tale of how these fictional beasts come and abduct girls every 15 years and no one else can see them except the girls they have chosen. No back story as to how these beasts came to be. Just all around strange and unsatisfactory.

2 people found this helpful

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What big teeth you have

A mother with a secret. A daughter with questions. An abandoned theme park with a dark reputation. Missing girls. What more could you ask for?

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It may be because I’m not into this sort of stuff… But this book was pretty unlikeable

It so bad— I wanna give it a zero, but that’s not possible… So I give it… a one.

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An EVERY woman's declaration

I personally loved it. As a bisexual WOC who has struggled with SMIs (serious mental illnesses) all her life, I can relate to every emotion, every situation, every slight...all those passive-aggressive actions and words the protagonists experienced.

We live in a Patriarchal dominant society that has very blatant, along with more subversive, expectations and stigmas. If a female is not willing to fit within those invisible boundaries, that "pretty little box", she will ultimately suffer the consequences.

In my opinion, this is a wake-up call, as clear as any Feminist Manifesto (that also calls out the racism, classicism, ableism, anti-LGBTQI+, etc.) that is a collective blight on our society.

Bravo, Ms. DeMeester. I shall definitely follow your writing career.

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What did I just listen to?

Don’t waste your money, a credit, and most importantly, your time reading or listening to this ridiculous book. Made zero sense.