Lucky Girl by Mary Rickert

Ro, a struggling writer, knows all too well the pain and solitude that holiday festivities can awaken. When she meets four people at the bar at the local diner—all of them strangers and as lonely as Ro is—she invites them to an impromptu Christmas dinner. And when that party seems in danger of an early end, she suggests they each tell a ghost story. Something seasonally appropriate.

But Ro will come to learn that the horrors hidden in a Christmas tale—or one’s past—can never be tamed once unleashed.

TITLE: Lucky Girl, How I Became A Horror Writer: A Krampus Story
AUTHOR: Mary Rickert
PUBLISHER: Tordotcom
YEAR: 2022
LENGTH: 112 pages 
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Horror

Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.

*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book. 

LUCKY GIRL is a horror novel set at a succession of Christmases, following a young woman who has a Christmas dinner with strangers one year and their lives become entangled.

Usually I can tell pretty quickly whether I'll like a book or not, and I wasn't won over by the opening. But this one turned positive for me when they started telling the ghost stories, and I came away liking it a great deal. Some of the quirks in the main character's narrative style made it hard to tell how seriously the narrative was taking certain things, as she has a very flat way of conveying distressing information. This has a fascinating payoff and ended up being a new favorite character-driven ending for me. 

It touches on a wide variety of traumatic situations while avoiding graphic details on most of them. This means that while it's difficult to emotionally brace for what's about to be discussed in the narrative, there also isn't as much to brace for as there easily could have been.

This a well crafted bit of horror with a truly excellent payoff, don't miss it!

CW for cursing, grief, alcohol, fatphobia (brief), eating disorder, colonization (brief mention), kidnapping, confinement, fire/fire injury (not depicted), pregnancy (brief), blood (brief mention), gore (brief mention), pedophilia (brief mention), car accident (not depicted), suicide (not depicted), parental death, murder, death.

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