Primal Animals

A Novel

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Pub Date 24 May 2022 | Archive Date 07 Jun 2022
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books


“Like a queer version of The Wicker Man, Julia Lynn Rubin's Primal Animals is a wonderfully-creepy mystery set under sunshine and fresh air, where nothing is what it seems and no one is what you expect. Keep your eyes open, watch your back, and beware of the flies.” —Emma Berquist, author of Missing, Presumed Dead

The Female of the Species meets Midsommar for fans of Yellowjackets
At an elite summer program,
a teen girl gets sucked into a secret society, with deadly consequences.

Protect the girls.

Arlee Gold has always lived in the shadow of her successful mom; even after everything Arlee’s been through, her mother still expects nothing but the best. In an effort to get her daughter back on track after a less-than-stellar few school years, she’s enrolled Arlee as a legacy at Camp Rockaway, an elite college prep summer camp deep in the North Carolina wilderness. On her own for the first time and buzzing with anxiety, Arlee is intimidated by the camp’s shiny exterior, suffocated by the relentless, thick summer heat…and tormented by the ceaseless stream of crawling, slimy, flapping bugs that seem to come straight from her nightmares.

In the midst of her brewing dread, Arlee is relieved to find a queer sanctuary in her bunkmates, and is especially drawn to Winnie, the enigmatic girl who sleeps in the bunk above her. Except Arlee starts to notice whispers in her wake, and how so many others recoil from her as if she were as creepy as the insects that terrify her. Struggling in her prep classes and feeling increasingly paranoid, Arlee can no longer suppress her panicked glitches.” Winnie, too, seems to become wary, and Arlee’s worst fear is confirmed: even here, in the place her mother promised was “going to change everything,” she’s been found out as a freak.

Just as she’s facing a summer completely alone, another rising junior slips her a mysterious invitation, and Arlee finds herself caught up in a secret society that expects its sisterhood to protect each other from any and all who would harm them—by any means necessary. Here, finally, Arlee feels like a part of something bigger, something that matters. Guided by their cunning leader, Lisha, a rising senior with a smile sharp enough to cut bone, the sisterhood will stand against any threat, unquestioningly. But when Winnie is put in grave danger, Arlee is forced to confront just how far her sisters will go, and whether they truly protect the girls.

“Like a queer version of The Wicker Man, Julia Lynn Rubin's Primal Animals is a wonderfully-creepy mystery set under sunshine and fresh air, where nothing is what it seems and no one is what you...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781250757296
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

I'm not going to say much about what Primal Animals is about because I think it's best to go in not knowing much. All you really need to know is that it takes place on a summer camp girl gets pulled into a secret society there.
This book is something else, from the plot to the setting to the characters, I was invested in all of it.
I love horror that gradually gets under your skin and this story delivered exactly what I wanted and then some.
Primal Animals is haunting and beautifully written and if you like horror thriller with a sapphic romance, I definitely recommend this book!

A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press & Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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To say this book is chilling is an understatement! It's YA horror that takes place in a summer camp with an elite secret society; what could possibly go wrong?? Young Arlee is excited to follow in her mother's footsteps as this camp promises to encourage academic tutoring in addition to activities such as archery, swimming, and horseback riding. Arlee has some fears of her own though (bugs, moths, flies, etc) that seem to seek her out at the most inopportune times (and. now I'm a little afraid of those too)! The vibe is downright creepy even as the campers make friends and attempt to complete "normal" summer activities; the tension is always there though--right below the surface until it spills over into real life. So read at your own discretion (and note that I gave it 5 stars as Rubin's prose is fluid and ever-shifting)! This one will haunt me for a good long time (but it's worth it)!

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You’ll be hooked from page one. Trigger warning if you don’t like bugs. Great writing and story that keeps you guessing, wanting to know what happens next! Highly recommend. Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read an early copy!

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This book delivers exactly what it says it will, in the most creepy way possible. Holy cow. Wilder Girls meets House of Hollow meets What Big Teeth and oh my gosh it's good. Just the kind of horror you need and want in your life. Thank you to NetGalley and Julia Lynn Rubin for providing me with an E-ARC in exchange for an honest and constructive review! Check it out!

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I loved Trouble Girls by Rubin.
Once I seen this gorgeous cover for another Julia Lynn Rubin book you can beat your pretty heart I jumped all over this request!
And she didn't disappoint either!

Primal Animals
By Julia Lynn Rubin
YA Horror is an absolute favorite of mine!
Rubin sure as hell exceeded all my expectations here.
An enthralling, wild, engaging read.
This book instantly hooked me, with its phenomenal writing skills and brilliant characterization. The characters were realistically portrayed and emotionally engaging.
The plot is another thing that really makes this book stand out.....
Such an engrossing, suspenseful, and utterly enthralling story.
This was a fast paced read filled with nervous tension and dramatic moments.
A total page-turner and I ended up devouring it in a day!
It sucked me in instantly and I didn’t wanna put it down. 
You won't want to miss this intense and enchanting read!

Wednesday Books,
I can't thank you enough for this amazing eARC Widget!
I will post and tag to my platforms closer to pub day!

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This is an absolute must-read YA horror about Arlee Gold, a teen who’s initiated into a secret female society at her summer camp. Personally, I don’t read horror, but Primal Animals sparked my new interest in the genre.

From the very first page, this story was eerie—the fast-paced plot, the descriptive setting, and the suspicious characters… Wow!! Even the main character had me on the edge of my seat because she was unreliable, and I felt like she was always on the verge of unraveling.

This book has a shocking (worth-the-wait) twist. There were several moments (even the last sentence) that made me gasp! The author’s prose is so descriptive that I felt like I was in the heat of a North Carolina summer camp, stuck with creepy bugs and even creepier characters.

Have I already read the ARC on my Kindle? Yes! Will I still buy a physical copy when it’s released on May 24, 2022? Absolutely, yes!!!

Thank you NetGalley, St Martin’s Press, and Wednesday Books for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. I am so glad I found this story because now I can’t wait to pick up Julia Lynn Rubin’s previously published and future books!!

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I think one of my favorite things about horror novels are unreliable narrators. The author really nailed their ability to create a tense environment for the reader. I easily finished this book within a day, and found myself questioning the ending and all of the little loose ends that never got tidied up. The loose ends didn’t bother me however, because a little mystery at the end of a book makes you think about it longer.

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This was everything I wanted and more!! I was completely mesmerized by this story and I cannot wait to read more from this author. Such fascinating characters and wonderful, Mysterious, And perfect plot!

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