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Grown Women: A Novel
Sarai Johnson


-- This book will ship on or after July 30, 2024 --

A group of friends fight to choose their own fates in this trope-savvy, self-referential young adult thriller from the acclaimed author of Their Vicious Games, about a demonic force that acts according to horror movie rules in the spirit of the Scream movies.

Devon is always being left behind by her genius twin sister, Drew. At this point, it’s a fact of life. But Devon has one last plan before Drew leaves for college a whole year early—The Best Summer Ever. After committing to the bit a little too much, the twins and their chaotic circle of friends learn why you don’t ever mess with a Ouija board if you want to actually survive the Best Summer Ever, and soon find themselves being hunted down by…a demon?

But while there’s no mistaking the creeping, venomous figure is not from around here, their method doesn’t feel very demonic at all. In fact, it’s downright human—going after them in typical slasher movie kill order. And that means Devon, the blonde, is up first and her decade-long crush, Yaya, is the Final Girl who must kill or be killed to end the cycle.

Devon has never liked playing by anyone else’s rules though, not even a demon’s, and the longer this goes on, the more she feels Drew and Yaya slipping away from her even as she tries to help them all survive. Can they use their horror movie knowledge to flip the script and become the hunters instead of the hunted? Or will their best summer ever be their last?


Joelle Wellington grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where her childhood was spent wandering the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Her love of the written word led her to a BA in creative writing and international studies. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading and when she’s not doing that, she’s attempting to bake bread with varying degrees of success or strengthening her encyclopedia-like pop culture knowledge. She’s the author of Their Vicious Games and The Blonde Dies First


"Readers will be racing to reach the explosive conclusion. The book explores how time can change not only a person, but a whole community, addressing racism, family bonds, and the courage to face your fears." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"A hell of a ride! The Blonde Dies First is loud, giddy, and gory—giving the slasher story an ingenious spin and taking its place alongside genre faves like Scream and Jennifer’s Body. Clear your schedule. You won’t be able to put it down." -- Circe Moskowitz, author of Good Mourning and editor of All These Sunken Souls

"As self-aware as the horror is, the story feels authentic in the details of the Brooklyn neighborhood and its slow gentrification, and in the complex relationships among the diverse group––particularly Devon’s and Drew’s tumultuous but loving dynamic. A gory good time with heart." -- Booklist Starred Review

"This book riffs on horror conventions with an edgy updated twist that includes a far more diverse cast of characters than is typical for the genre...A fun read offering a fresh take on the horror genre." -- Kirkus Reviews

"In keeping the stakes high and the twists coming, Wellington (Their Vicious Games) deftly dismantles horror genre cliches in a script-flipping hair-raiser that pointedly examines gentrification’s impact on communities....the story sizzles with fully drawn protagonists, complex relationships, and slow-burn romance." -- Publishers Weekly

[H]  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers  /  July 30, 2024

0.79" H x 8.25" L x 5.5" W 336 pages

For ages 14 to 17