Cover Reveal: PRETTY FURIOUS by E.K. Johnston
Cover reveal! #1 NYT Bestseller E. K. Johnston returns to contemporary feminist YA. This thrilling story of a small town, fierce friendships, and revenge served cold is a perfect companion to Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Coming to shelves April 16, 2024!
In the small town of Eganston, Ontario, five high school friends have had enough. They’ve experienced the worst abuse, bullying, and gaslighting their small community has to offer. But it hasn’t been all bad. They now know they can count on each other, and surviving their high school years has taught them a few things. One might even say they’ve learned some useful tactics. And this year is going to be all about using them.
Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek, and remember to preorder your copy here.
Cover art by Lauren Mortimer
Cover design by Maria Fazio
You have to fight to make it through life with four best friends. You can’t all fit in the same car—though we could now that most of us could drive—unless we used Mags’s family behemoth, and every time a teacher assigns partner work, you have to negotiate. Our elementary school had only had about three dozen kids per grade, and our high school wasn’t much bigger, but it was never a sure thing we’d end up in the same classes. Geography and time and money and interests will pull you apart, but somehow we’d made it to the beginning of June with the end of grade twelve in reach, and we were going strong. Maddie and Mags and Jen and Louise and Jenny (who would probably be a Jen by now, were it not for a snap decision made by our nursery school teacher).
We spent most of our time at Louise Jantzi’s house. Her parents had sold their dairy quota instead of modernizing it when we were in grade eight, on the grounds that they didn’t want to spend the rest of their lives with a cow deciding whether they could never go on vacation. The farm and all its buildings had been converted into something of a mishmash that Hugh Jantzi refused to call a “hobby farm,” and one of the conversions had resulted in a rumpus room that wasn’t attached to the house. They rented it (and barn space, as necessary) to the local 4-H club. It was wired and heated, had a refrigerator, a TV, and comfy seats, and was well out of earshot of any adult. Mags’s basement definitely had better bathrooms, but Mags’s basement was also available to the horde of younger Sharpe siblings, so we only went there on special occasions.
Eganston was the centre of our network, where Jen and I lived, and where we all went to school. The other three lived ten minutes out of town in different directions, which was a challenge in an area that couldn’t even dream about public transit. Most of us counted down the days until we passed our G1 exits and could drive without an adult, even if we’d have to share the car with everyone in the family. Eganston didn’t even have a Tim’s, much less a movie theatre, so just being able to drive was kind of a thing.
Jen made the final turn onto Louise’s side road. The side roads had all been named when 911 came to the area, but most people over the age of thirty still referred to Louise’s sideroad as “the third” instead of Old Mill Road. The mill had been gone for a century, which made it even sillier, but that’s what happens when you have to name a bunch of roads at once.
There were only two houses on Old Mill Road, and the Jantzis owned both of them. The first was barely livable. Louise’s older brother had been slowly flipping it, but he’d gone off to Ridgetown last fall for the agriculture program, and work had slowed. The second, a sprawling three-storey red Victorian, was where the family actually lived.
Jenny Hoernig was waiting for us on the steps, and ran up once Jen had parked the car.
“Louise says that Maddie needs to stay in the car and count to one hundred before she comes up,” she said, grinning. “And Louise needs you two to carry things.”
Louise took birthday cake very seriously, and I knew that this cake in particular would be important to her. It wasn’t because it was me, exactly, but this birthday represented something. I took off my seat belt but stayed in the front seat. I put my hands over my eyes and started counting down, because it was a countdown sort of situation. I felt safe with my friends. I felt ready.
I walked into the barn, currently empty because lambing season was over, and went to the bottom of the ladder.
“Ready or not, here I come!” I said, stepping onto the bottom rung.
“Wait!” said Louise, right on cue. “You have to tell us what you want for your birthday wish!”
I took a deep breath, inhaling the multitude of smells that made a working farm: sheep, hay, shit, rust, gasoline. We’d grown up here. This town had made us. And it deserved everything that we gave back.
“My name is Maddie Carter, and I am eighteen,” I declared. “And for my birthday, I want to you guys to help me start a fire.”