Reading 2022 #2: Popular Girls by Miss KanedaNSFW
That's right, keeping it going! This one's another size kink book, probably a steppy one if I know Miss Kaneda. Let's get into it!
In my opinion, the mark of success of a piece of fiction (or, more generally, art) is whether it makes me feel things. Sometimes those things will not be the things I went in expecting.
Relatedly, today's book is Popular Girls by Miss Kaneda.
Size stuff and packs of popular girls are a good pairing. In my childhood, I was a huge (heh) fan of another story featuring popular girls and shrinking on Writing.com.
That said, I'm not going to be reading it as a kink story exactly. So, a lot of my kinks can be described as horror kinks - I am, in the language of the ancients, a Nightmare Fetishist. No small portion of my kinks involve death (or at least the threat of it), and domination and cruelty and heartlessness are the name of the game.
When enjoying something in this genre, there's a line. The closer you get to it, the hotter things are, but trip over it and empathy takes over from kink and everything freezes over. That line moves based on my emotional/mental/physical state when reading and with my whims, but it's always SOMEwhere.
As you might guess, this book crossed today's line from horror-kink into pure horror near the end. That didn't stop me from enjoying it (in the sense above - it made me feel fear and horror and disgust, which is what it was trying to convey, just in a sexy way)! But it did stop me from finding it titillating, which I think is generally the intent of a kink book, so that might color my response a bit.
Same as with the previous recap in this series, the rest of this post will spoil the entirety of the book. If it interests you, go ahead and give it a read yourself - it's not very long, and it's a very lovely work of fiction, Miss Kaneda is an artist with a keyboard - before you proceed.
With me? All right, let's get into it.
The intro does a sparkling job of introducing Dana as the rich bitch character because holy fuck, I wanted to step on her before she even opened her mouth HAHA. Cindy seemed nice enough, if a bit annoying, in the intro. I kinda liked her, relative to the rest of the group - she was kind of an underdog. I actually thought she was going to be the first victim of shrinking, but I wasn't sorry it was first-person protagonist Nicole - listen, any talk of giant pedicured toes is A+ in my book!!
I also really liked the initial big scenes because they weren't as brutal as the later ones, with the less-brutal variants being more my thing. Playful teasing, veiled (and not so veiled) threats, near-misses. That's the good stuff for me. Cozy condescension a la Michelle? Hhhoh my god that humiliation made me weak at the knees.
So yeah - the fear and near-misses definitely didn't disappoint when Nicole was tiny, and I was having a grand time watching the popular group bully her. Around when she returned to her normal size is when things started crossing the line for me. Vomit is definitely one of those things that freezes my kink feelings, and Nicole nearly throwing up on her way back to normal size brought me teetering on the line. Blood is the other, and Cindy's quick and gory death by the POV character threw me so far over the line that there was no recovery. (Not to say that surprised me - bloody foot crush is one of the main things I associate with Miss Kaneda, besides being incredibly attractive and cool!)
The horror and fear and despair and disgust in the other girls was masterfully done (which is why it pushed me even further past the line, thoroughly into horror territory!). I couldn't stop reading through the finale, unsure what all was going to happen but unable to look away from it for even a moment. Nicole's casual cleanliness after destroying the popular crew was just the icing on the cake, bringing in that intense dissonance that works so well for either horror or kink-horror.
It was a really good read, and I highly recommend it! Just make sure you calibrate your horror receptors accordingly before entering. Or don't, and let the book take you where it may - I definitely don't regret going in blind.