The Skunks (Paperback)

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The Skunks By Fiona Warnick Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Once I picked up this book, I could not put it down or stop thinking about it! This unique story perfectly captures the feelings of summer after graduating, with all of its joys, challenges, and unknowns. I have never experienced a more relatable and comforting read, that also made me feel connected to skunks…

- Emma

— From The Skunks (Staff Pick)


“A gleaming, zany little gem.”

—Annie Hartnett, author of Unlikely Animals

Reminiscent of Elif Batuman and Sally Rooney, Fiona Warnick’s precise and tender prose captures the formative moments of a young woman’s life, from the slow burn of a new crush to the swish of a skunk’s tail. 

Dear Skunks, I wrote. Then I got stuck. What was there to say about the skunks? Of course there was the smell—the spraying. Everyone’s mind jumped to the spraying. I often forgot about the spraying entirely, which was nice because it made me feel that I wasn’t like other people.

From the outside, Isabel doesn’t seem to have much going on. It’s the summer after college graduation and she’s moved back to her hometown, where she spends her days house-sitting, babysitting, working the front desk at a yoga studio, and hanging out with her childhood friend Ellie. But on the inside, Isabel’s mind is always running, always analyzing, and right now, she’s trying hard to not let her thoughts give weight to boys. So when Isabel spots three baby skunks in the yard, their presence is not only a strangely thrilling break from the expected, it feels like a fortuitous sign from the universe. Skunks. That’s what she should be thinking about. 

As the summer unfolds, Isabel becomes increasingly preoccupied with the skunks, while also navigating her various jobs and an ambiguous relationship with Eli, the son of the couple she’s house-sitting for. In her own life and in the imagined inner lives of the skunks, Isabel ponders the nature of existence, love vs. infatuation, and the many small moments that make us animal, make us human. The Skunks is an unforgettable coming-of-age story about the complexities of crushes, desire, friendship, and modern life.

About the Author

Fiona Warnick grew up in Western Massachusetts and holds a BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College, where she won the Emma Howell Poetry Prize. She teaches preschool in Providence, RI.

Praise For…

Thoughtful, tenderhearted. . . . Through Isabel, we see the thrilling scope of youthful possibility.
— Kirkus Reviews

Charming and intriguing narrative that will inspire readers to rediscover their own fondness for the strangely ordinary parts of life.
— Booklist

A breath of fresh air.
— Debutiful, a Most Anticipated Book of 2024

A thoughtful and warm-hearted ode to the end of adolescence. . . . A coming-of-age literary gem.
— Shelf Awareness

Trying to make sense of what it means to be back home after college and feeling not quite grown up but not quite a child, Fiona Warnick explores this odd in-between.
— Barnes & Noble, A Most Anticipated Debut of 2024

For lovers of Sally Rooney, meet your new favorite author! A gorgeous coming-of-age story about love, desire, friendship, ambition, and modern life. 
— Summer Says

The Skunks is a gleaming, zany little gem—a novel that perfectly captures the weirdness of being young and just out of college, and not sure what comes next. Compassionate, quirky, and beautifully written, I adored it.

— Annie Hartnett, author of Rabbit Cake and Unlikely Animals

A sly, graceful ode to the natural world, to the gray areas of human relationships, to love, to friendship, and to stories, The Skunks captivated me from the first page and kept on surprising me til the very end.

— Jenny Fran Davis, author of Dykette

Brimming with charm and philosophical humor, The Skunks sweeps readers into a young woman’s first foray into adulthood. This is a novel that asks big questions of friendship, romantic firsts, and finding one’s way in the world. Prepare to be dazzled—Fiona Warnick is a wunderkind.

— Allegra Hyde, author of The Last Catastrophe

One summer can change everything in The Skunks. A relatable and heartwarming capture of that pivotal coming of age moment in early adulthood when the world is demanding you make declarations about who you are, but you aren't quite sure yet. Warnick gets at the pangs of awkward encounters, the trials of returning to your hometown, and most of all, finding love within yourself. An inventive new novel that ensures you'll never think of skunks the same way. A joy to read.

— Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Heartbroke

Product Details
ISBN: 9781959030614
ISBN-10: 1959030612
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English