Cover Image: You're an Animal

You're an Animal

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Member Reviews

📕What’s the difference between an animal and a human? Human’s ability to reason? Or  ability to community? How can animals and humans communicate beyond scratching your dog’s ears, giving your pets funny names, or taking them to vet when they need?
📗When four cult members had to leave their commune after a fire, they fell into this void. One decided to garden like there is no tomorrow, one decided to shop until she drops, one decided to ride his bike, and the last one… she decided to form a bond with a big cat
📘It was an interesting book to read while listening to cults podcasts. It had a different perspective on living in communes and forming connections. Good debut!
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This is a book about misfits...but you end up loving them as you can see through to genuine hearts! Great characters and story line.
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A group of misfits are living in Oklahoma when one of the meth labs explode.  They flee to Texas and find a place to live.  The four are: Ernie, 34 years old, Staci 25 years old and her boyfriend, Ray.  Coral is the fourth.  She became part of the group when her half-sister drops her off even though she feels guilty doing it.  Coral is 17 years old and @ deaf/mute.  They find themselves becoming a family.  However Staci’s alcoholism returns and Ray worries about the police.  Why?  There are strange antics happening in the second half of the book.  One that stands out to me is when Coral gets given a cheetah for a pet.  It had belonged to a criminal.  Why a cheetah?  

I didn’t understand the author’s point in writing this book to be honest.  The group of outcasts have the animal side  exposed inside them or at least that is what I think what the author was trying to do when they got the cheetah.  It is a book that I found myself wondering why I read it.  I know that some of my friends have liked it so it is up to you to decide if you want to read it.
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I enjoyed reading this story, I couldn't wait to find out where these four were going. The book is well-written and compelling.
Jardine Libaire’s You’re An Animal is the compelling story of four misfits, story is set initially in Oklahoma but later changes to Texas when we follow four misfits on the run following a meth lab explosion in a gritty Texas landscape.
Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read and review You're an Animal by Jardine Libaire first time reading from this author and I really enjoyed it.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for "You're an Animal" by Jardine Libaire in exchange for an honest review. I recommend this book for readers who search for "found family" tropes. However, I personally could not get into it.  It was difficult for me to follow due to the long chapters and I wasn't finding myself feeling any type of emotion for any character. They felt very flat and two dimensional, in my opinion. Although, the writing style was unique and stood out from others I have read before- completely in italics. The appeal never hit me when finishing this book, and it didn't stay with me for long after I put it down.
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When a drug lab explosion burns the compound where they live, Ernie, Staci, Ray, and the mysterious and silent new girl, Coral, escape on motorcycles with no plan or destination. A day’s drive away, they find a rural house they can afford to rent, and they begin to craft a new life of freedom for themselves. But when a threat arises that threatens their new life, they have to decide whether their bond is strong enough to hold them together. 

This is a gritty and believable tale of how a group of outcasts manage to survive with the odds against them. I loved Jardin Libaire’s novel White Fur, and I had high hopes for this one, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The bond between the characters didn’t feel strong enough to hold the story together, and the characters fell a little flat for me. I did find Coral’s character compelling, and I wish we could have delved deeper into her story. It was a slow and often dry read for me, but the ending was a surprising and solid payoff. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the eARC.

You're An Animal was a book unlike anything I have ready in a very long time. It keep me engaged in the story and I cared so much about these "outcast" characters. This is a book I certainly won't forget and will recommend.
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The story starts at a compound filled with misfits. As the story goes on we get a glimpse into the lives of an eclectic cast of characters. 
After an explosion takes away the only home they had, three social outcasts along with newcomer Coral set off on the run.

This Book reminded me of something, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is.
It started off strong, but then it took a really weird turn down a road I had no interest in going down.
All in all this book was not for me.
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Published by Hogarth on August 8, 2023

You’re an Animal is a domestic drama about an unconventional, makeshift family of misfits who develop a bond as they struggle to live off the grid in Texas. Ray misses his affiliation with a motorcycle gang. Staci is still coupled with Ray but feels “vaguely unwelcome in the world” as she recalls the self-help lessons she learned in addiction recovery programs. Coral doesn’t speak — she scarcely acknowledges that the others exist — but Ernie can’t stop fantasizing about making a white-picket-fence life with her.

The novel begins with a group of outlaws living on a compound in Oklahoma. Tim is married and has a new baby. Tim’s uncle owns the property but is in prison for gun crimes, making Tim the de facto property manager. He also manages the meth operation. Tim is thinking about abandoning the compound and making a new life.

Assorted tweakers and bikers come and go. Coral was dropped off by Tim’s half-sister after Coral’s grandmother died. She is better than Tim's wife at nursing his baby. Ernie is the meth cook until a new arrival with a better recipe takes over. Several people make meth deliveries but Tim only trusts Ernie to pick up cash.

The communal relationship works (more or less) until a fire consumes the meth lab. Ray and Staci are shopping for supplies with Ernie and Coral when the fire breaks out. Ernie has also collected money for meth sales, so they have a supply of cash. On their way back, they see smoke coming from the commune. They also see police cars. Deciding that their best option is to disappear, they eventually rent an isolated home in Texas, where they use their skills to start a new meth lab. They learn that Tim survived the fire, but he’s essentially abandoned them so they decide they won’t return his money. Ray is concerned that Tim will find them, creating tension whenever a car parks near their property.

Most of the novel’s drama comes from the domestic relationships formed by the four characters who make a home in Texas. They plant a garden. They hang out. At some point they are joined by a cheetah who is used to living with humans, so the reader will inevitably wonder whether any of the characters will be clawed to death. While the plot as I describe it sounds bizarre and insubstantial, the story is absorbing.

Ray and Staci have relationship issues, aggravated both by Ray’s unfaithful actions while they still living at the compound and by Staci’s growth, her realization that her current life of sobriety isn’t working any better than her earlier life of addiction. Ernie either has a fear of intimacy or a fear of being rejected. Perhaps those fears are two sides of the same coin. Ernie is paralyzed when he considers how to express his feelings about Coral. The fact that Coral doesn’t speak, rarely makes eye contact, and spends most of her time wandering alone in the woods doesn’t make a meaningful connection easy. Well, except for the cheetah, who seems to have a better understanding of Coral than her human friends.

In a refreshing change from most modern relationship dramas, the story offers closure. We know the fate of each character. We know whether couples will get together, stay together, or break apart, at least for the present. We even know what happens to the cheetah. The final scenes treat the reader to a significant surprise without resorting to melodrama. Three cheers for throwback storytelling that doesn’t leave all the characters in the wind, delegating to the reader the task of writing an ending to the plot.

Near the novel’s conclusion, Ernie has an epiphany that might provide valuable insight for others, even if they aren’t meth dealers. He regrets “always wanting what he didn’t have. Life was a series of situations, you find the good in each one, that’s all you can do, because none will last.” Other characters have their own moments of awareness. As domestic dramas go, this one is more interesting than most, not so much because of the plot (which is just a vehicle for the characters to grow or change), but because the characters are so far outside the mainstream that they represent a more primal version of humanity than most of us are used to seeing.

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I adored YOU'RE AN ANIMAL. I was thrilled when I saw Jardine Libaire had a new novel coming out, as I also adored her novel WHITE FUR a few years ago (if you haven't read that one, I urge you to pick it up!) This book is pretty different and I went into it blind and had the time of my life. 

A sweet, moving tale about 4 misfits in the 1990s who escape a cult-like drug-selling farm in Oklahoma to start their own small, found family in Texas. One is a teenager who doesn't speak, one a twenty-something boy who is lost and wants to be a part of something, and the other two an aging motorcycle riding couple who have been together for years but can't seem to commit yet. 

You keep waiting for tragedy to strike, but the beauty of Libaire's novel is that even though her writing is gritty and realistic, she takes care of her characters and keeps the story grounded. It's not a melodrama, though insanely surprising and dramatic things happen, and in the end, it's a touching story about what it mens to create your own family inlets of different and unexpected ways (and I mean.. truly unexpected.) I'm so glad we have Jardine Libarie books in the world and I can't wait for more.
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I enjoyed the adventures of this group of misfits.  I liked them..  The story was a little quirky but I find that I need that sometimes. 
Many thanks to Random House and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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There were parts of this book that I liked and parts that made me scratch my head. I was intrigued enough to push myself a bit to keep reading. I enjoy gritty characters and this novel was full of them. They were genuine and not altogether likable, but the author does a great job of bringing them to life throughout the course of the story. In the end, I cared that they found what they were looking for in one way or another.
This book will not be everyone's cup of tea. It's best for readers who don't need steady action or entertainment, but want to get under the skin of the people they are reading about. You won't fall in love with them or wish they were friends, but you might learn something about how life experiences create many different responses in individuals and how they function with each other.
One of my favorite quotes of the book comes from the thoughts of Ray, an older, tough guy biker who is unable to communicate with his lover, Staci, other than fighting and making up with sex. "He'd know some pieces of work, he thought, taking a deep drag and exhaling. But this gal, who'd been pulled through the mud, who'd been high and lost, she stayed angelic, or maybe even got more angelic. Ray thought it was bullshit, her recovery talk, her self-esteem books, the lectures on cassette tapes she listened to over and over. But there was something beatific about the effort. He didn't always feel like this, the way he felt this morning, generous and able to give her credit where credit was due.
Sometimes these very things he was musing on and loving her for were the very things that made him sick of her. But aren't we strange, thought Ray, looking now out the window, aren't we all so strange..."
Yes, we are strange and yet we all need love and acceptance in some form and will find it where it presents itself. Therein lies the beauty of this story.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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A gritty, funny and original tale of four misfits who are on the run, with a bag of cash, when the meth lab explodes in the Oklahoma compound they live in.
They travel to Texas and rent a dilapidated farmhouse where they care for each other in their own unique way.
The author had me totally invested in these characters and where the story would take them. We get to witness them learning to love themselves and others while trying to navigate life.
Quirky and tender this memorable story will stay with me for a long time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publiushing Group for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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I loved Libaire's White Fur so so so much. This one was exquisitely written but didn't quite come together for me in the way that I'd hoped. That said, I think if a reader preferred character work to pace, it would certainly be a great read. Just wasn't quite up my alley.
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I am so thankful to Random House Publishing/Hogarth, Netgalley, and Jardine Libaire for granting me both digital and physical access to this twisty thriller before it published on August 8, 2023.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Selling Pitch:  
Do you want to read the modern classic version of Of Mice and Me, but make it a white trash biker gang, a deaf girl, and a cheetah? Do you like artsy books that are all imagery and character studies?

I genuinely have no idea what this book is about or why I may have requested it. I could solve this so easily by reading the blurb. I’m not gonna do that. 

Thick of it:
It’s giving Of Mice and Men and The Seaplane on Final Approach. 



I like Staci. (Also, I’m sure her name is Stacy, but I’ve been pronouncing it Stassie all book. Blame Icebreaker.)

I really dig this book’s writing, but the time period is kinda wacky to me. (I think this is genuinely a me thing. My brain has a hard time picturing recent history, but I wasn’t alive. I’m like if I wasn’t alive, it was in ye old. But this is like early 90s.)


Lol, I can’t smell, and all I have is appetite. 

I like this kinda slow ramble of a character study. 

What’s the vagina equivalent for phallic because that’s what this flower dream imagery is. Vaginal? He fixin’ to do some cherry popping. 


Does Ray have early-onset Alzheimer’s?

Staci deserves better. 

Somebody’s gonna get killed by the cheetah, or they’re gonna kill the cheetah. (I love being wrong.)


Is Ernie bipolar?

Oh man, they do kill the cheetah. 

They don’t kill the cheetah? She killed Ernie? Jesus. 

Carol Baskin. 

I loved it. 
What a book. A modern classic. It’s Of Mice and Men but make it a white trash biker gang, a deaf girl, and a cheetah. 

It’s very lyrical writing and all imagery. It’s a luxurious character study of gritty, nasty, flawed people. 

Goodreads people are going to savage it for having untraditional formatting, but I liked the dialogue done in italics. It made it read like an art piece. 

Fire the cover artist? Girl, that’s a leopard.

Who should read this:
Character study fans
Modern classic fans

Do I want to reread this:
Maybe? I want to make other people read it.

Similar books:
* Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck classic character study
* The Seaplane on Final Approach by Rebecca Rukeyser-sleazy visuals, Alaska, modern Of Mice and Men
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This book was odd. Despite myself not entirely enjoying the read of it, I'm still thinking about it, which maybe says something about the writing. It's definitely different. 

The chapters were very long for my liking and I think as I kept reading I got bored before I could reach the end (which is why it probably took me quite a while to get through the story despite it being a relatively short book). The dialogue was also in italics which for me made it harder to follow. 

I didn't really connect with any of the misfits but they did have distinct personalities that I can appreciate. We also didn't really get much of a background on the characters, which may have been why I had a harder time connecting to them.

If you like stories about an odd group of misfits on the run, trying to fit in with each other, give it a try.
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It took me a while to finish this read and I am still pondering how I felt about it.  I honestly could not identify with any of the characters but I did appreciate Ernie’s attempts to make their new living quarters more like home.  His love for Coral was off putting to me and I was glad she handled it as she did.  I found her character to be the most intriguing and bizarre - and was not surprised by her relationship with Slash.  I did find myself wondering about her back story that created her current behavior.  Ray and Staci are both too self absorbed.  
All in all I guess the message of the book was that everyone is seeking someone they belong with.  
My thanks to Jardine Libaire, Hogarth, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to read an arc of this recently published book.  Some parts were a 3 and others a 2 so I am rating it 2 1/2 stars.
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I absolutely loved this book!! I couldn’t put it down.  
I just loved all the characters. I highly recommend this book.
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You're an Animal sounded perfect for me.  Four misfits running away from a meth lab explosion.  They cross Texas and we learn who each is.  I was hoping for a deeper look at each character.  Unfortunately, it took me forever to get through this one and it never quite came together for me.
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