You're an Animal
by Jardine Libaire
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Pub Date 08 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 08 Nov 2023
“Libaire creates a delicious universe at a constant brink of collapse, a universe I never wanted to see end.”—Gerardo Sámano Córdova, author of Monstrilio
It’s springtime in Oklahoma, and Ernie, an outcast in a group of outcasts, feels uneasy. Nerves at the abandoned summer camp where he and his fellow oddballs are crashing have been on edge since the arrival of a teenager named Coral, unceremoniously dropped off from her family’s minivan one afternoon. Adding to her aura of mystery, Coral doesn’t say a word. Ever.
When a drug lab explosion burns the compound to the ground, Ernie, Coral, and the hard-living couple Staci and Ray escape on a pair of motorcycles. Feeling shaky with fear and alive with a new surge of freedom, the four outcasts find a rundown house in rural Texas: It's a place to stay, they tell themselves, for now. Yet to their surprise, over card games and wild strawberries and target-shooting and late-night dancing to ZZ Top on the local radio, a quirky little family forms. At the heart of their new home is Coral, whose silence only amplifies her strange, undefinable power and the sense that she found them for a reason.
But soon, tensions rise, and a mysterious threat begins to materialize—whether it’s coming from inside or outside the house still isn’t clear. All this crew knows is, now there’s something at stake: their chosen family, forged by both loneliness and joy, and bonded by an awkward kind of love.
"You're an Animal is a fast and perilous ride toward the center of what makes us human in the most desperate of circumstances. Libaire has delivered four characters on a quest for belonging I will never forget, brimming over with unexpected intimacies, adventures, and most of all, the wild desires of the heart. Roving and mysterious, this novel is hot to the touch."
—Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Heartbroke
“Absolutely freaking breathtaking. Jardine Libaire’s You’re An Animal is the compelling story of four misfits in a gritty Texas landscape. This will be the best love story you read this year, trust me!”
— Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Five-Star Weekend
“You’re an Animal is shaped like a scimitar, like a scythe: a long, exquisitely curved blade, polished and carefully honed, and with a tip so sharp it’ll take you apart. It swings through its story swiftly and surely, unsentimental without being gratuitously bleak, thoughtful and empathetic about lives which are usually over romanticized or ignored. It’s stranger than you expect it to be, too, sudden in its turns, shocking in its progression, and yet, not just plausible, but seemingly inevitable. Let it be inevitable, too, that you read it.”
—Jim Lewis, author of Ghosts of New York
“For fans of Mary Gaitskill and Ocean Vuong, a novel which is both intimate, poetic and raw. Libaire's writing shimmers off the page. You’re an Animal takes you on a journey you won't soon forget, reminding us of the bonds that can both break and restore us.”
—Alyson Richman, author of The Thread Collectors
“Jardine Libaire writes with a dark and magical style that brings to mind the work of Denis Johnson and Mary Gaitskill. Her novel You’re An Animal is a rich and luminous story of love, yearning, motorcycles, and a cheetah named Slash. Completely original, utterly unforgettable. I loved this book.”
—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of The Jetsetters