When Mrs. Sorensen’s husband dies, she rekindles a long-dormant love with an unsuitable mate in “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch.” In “Open the Door and the Light Pours Through,” a young man wrestles with grief and his sexuality in an exchange of letters with his faraway beloved. “Dreadful Young Ladies” demonstrates the strength and power—known and unknown—of the imagination. In “Notes on the Untimely Death of Ronia Drake,” a witch is haunted by the deadly repercussions of a spell. “The Insect and the Astronomer” upends expectations about good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, love and longing. The World Fantasy Award–winning novella “The Unlicensed Magician” introduces the secret magical life of an invisible girl once left for dead—with thematic echoes of Barnhill’s Newbery Medal–winning novel, The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
With bold, reality-bending invention underscored by richly illuminated universal themes of love, death, jealousy, and hope, the stories in Dreadful Young Ladies show why its author has been hailed as “a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). This collection cements Barnhill’s place as one of the wittiest, most vital and compelling voices in contemporary literature.