Stories about flawed young women have been favoured by the publishing industry for some time now. Bad Girl novels proliferated in the wake of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, while Sad Girl novels have evolved from the comic haplessness of Bridget Jones in the 1990s, to more sobering ground with Sally Rooney’s introspective bestsellers.
Sad Bad Girl novels combine the best – or should I say the worst? – elements of these narratives. Titles like My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, Luster by Raven Leilani and Animal by Lisa Taddeo all feature disaffected or disturbed young women acting out, or wilfully sabotaging their lives.