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Cover Reveal: LAST GIRLS STANDING by Jennifer Dugan

Cover reveal! In this queer YA psychological thriller from the author of Some Girls Do and Hot Dog Girl, the sole surviving counselors of a summer camp massacre search to uncover the truth of what happened that fateful night, but what they find out might just get them killed. Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan is coming to shelves August 15, 2023!

You don’t usually meet the love of your life while running from masked men with machetes, but that’s exactly what happens to Sloan after surviving a ritual killing that left so many of her fellow summer camp counselors dead. Cherry, the only other survivor, becomes a lifeline for Sloan, their traumatic experience bonding them in ways no one else can understand.

As the girls get closer, and Sloan learns more about the motives behind the attack that brought them together, she begins to suspect that Cherry may be more than just a survivor—she may actually have been a part of it. Cherry tries to reassure her, but Sloan only becomes more distraught. Is this gaslighting or reality? Is Cherry a victim or a perpetrator? Is Sloan losing her mind, or seeing things clearly for the first time?

Against all odds, Sloan survived that hot summer night. But will she survive what comes next?

Scroll down to see the cover and read an excerpt, and remember to preorder your copy here.

Cover illustration by Michael Rogers, cover design by Kelley Brady

The toothbrush was hard and heavy in her hand. Her fingers curled around it so tightly that it might snap, would have snapped, should have snapped, if she had been anywhere except in a dream.

And Sloan knew it was a dream. A nightmare, really, although Sloan knew the real nightmare wouldn’t begin until she opened the door to her cabin. Until she saw the blood running in rivulets, following the same divots in the wood and grass that the rain had the day before. But she could never get that far. Not anymore. It was as if her mind was working backward, clearing out the memories from the end to the beginning, leaving her with confusing flashes of half memories—all without order or context.

But the dreams still came like clockwork. Every night, pinned to her bed, she relived the final moments before it all went to shit, before she opened the door. Beth had suggested that if they could break the pattern, if Sloan could get the door open before the dream ended, maybe they could make some real progress. Whatever that meant.

Still, Sloan hoped this night, this dream, this nightmare, would be the one.

If she had to open that door, she would rather do it on her own terms, in her own bed, instead of sitting on an oversized armchair in front of Beth.

She looked at the toothbrush in her hand, looked at the wide-eyed reflection of herself in the cabin mirror, and tried to sink all the way inside herself. Deep, deep, until she was drowning in the sensation. Until she felt fused with the body looking in the mirror, until her past and present melted together into one word, one thought: now.

Sloan had been in the bathroom when she’d heard the first scream, and so the bathroom was where she always started, caught in a time loop in her head every night like a rabbit in a snare.

She had just changed into her pink-striped pajamas. Because she knew Cherry liked them best and had been expecting, hoping, waiting for her to visit for one of their late-night talks. Cherry had made it a habit to show up out of the blue, and Sloan wanted to be ready.

Thus, the cute pajamas, the toothbrush heavy in her hand. They had kissed earlier, and she hoped they would again, and she’d be damned if their second kiss was going to start with stale garlic crouton breath.

Five, four, three, two, and—

The scream ripped through the dream exactly as it had that night.

Sloan had thought nothing of it at first until others joined in. Until the screaming turned to crying, to begging. Until a heavy thunk—followed by the sticky wet sound of what she had at first thought was a watermelon being split, but later turned out to be the sternum of one of the other counselors—had made her bones rattle and her teeth ache.

Something was wrong.

Very, very wrong.

Penguin Teen