The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (eArc Review)

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Publisher: Random House
Page Count
: 384
Release Date: Jan 31, 2017

**I was provided with an eArc by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**

I haven’t read any kind of general adult fiction for what seems like an eternity. I mostly dabble in Young Adult Fantasy and/or Contemporaries, but this book (still can’t believe it’s Whitaker’s debut) has reminded me as to why I shouldn’t forget about adult fiction any time soon!

It is not a story I immediately fell in love with. The writing flowed nicely, but there were a lot of references to old time cartoons that I did not get and felt like I would miss out on the full experience. The language is crude and foul sometimes, but always very direct. There’s an excessive use of alcohol and drugs and very few inhibitions when it comes to sex. Sharon and Mel aren’t exactly likable people at all times. They are loud, brash, unhinged, talented, selfish, messed up, brilliant; in simple terms – flawed but very real. That is exactly what made them work so well!

Their relationship is just as complex as they are as individuals. They push each other to extremes, drive each other crazy, but are always there when it counts. While Mel may date half the women in New York and Sharon remains hung up on the first boy she ever loved, it still comes down to them and their all encompassing bond in the end. They weren’t just a team at work, they were a team in life as well.

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I am trying to find a way to express my feelings about this book. I don’t see the point of talking about the plot, that is something each and everyone should discover on their own. However, this book treated a lot of topics and very dark ones at that, which in turn made me feel an unexpectedly large amount of feelings that I simply didn’t see coming. There are themes of loss – quite literal loss of a person you love but also the loss of innocence. Family – the one you choose and the one you don’t. Love – the pure, platonic and romantic kind. The Animators makes you aware that the world isn’t rainbows and sunshine, there are dark alleys and predators. Amidst all of that gloom, it still never lets you forget that there is always someone, even if it’s someone unexpected, who will be there to help you through it.

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The book is “only” 380 pages long, but somehow it felt like three times as much. It’s almost as if you are accompanying Sharon, who narrates the whole story in her unique voice, for an entire lifetime. She grew on me so much and I felt with her whenever life threw her another curveball. It’s such an ingenious debut, so very well crafted, however, I don’t think this is really for everyone. At times, it felt like going into a really deep, really warped and disturbed rabbit hole. It makes sense in hindsight, a necessary journey for the characters to go through, but even I felt like it was too much for me and too crass in some parts and I watch the weirdest stuff on TV. Still, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story and I doubt that it will leave me anytime soon!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A stunning debut about partnership and adulthood and all the struggles coming with it!

4stars

Could you see yourself enjoying this book? Can you sometimes find joy in really messed up stories too?

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (Book Review)

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Publisher: Point
Page Count
: 330

For all of you who don’t know, P.S. I Like You was included in the August OwlCrate box. You can find my full unboxing post here. A couple years back, regular contemporaries were all I ever seemed to pick up, but nowadays Fantasy mostly rules my shelves This in no way should mean that I don’t still enjoy the genre. In fact, I like reading it very much, I just don’t seem to buy them as often. However, after my massive reading slump the past weeks, this was the PERFECT book to read.

P.S. I Like You is pretty much what you would expect it to be: fluff-galore, laugh-out-loud-funny, relatable and super fast-paced. This was my first Kasie West book, but I regret absolutely nothing. At first the anonymous-note-writing reminded me a little of Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, but it definitely is a story all of its own. In the beginning you try to figure out who Lily, the main character, is exchanging letters with and I think it’s not that difficult to figure out. At least I wasn’t surprised, because it is never the person the main character wants it to be … that’s like a universal law to not make it that easy.

Generally I really liked Lily, even though she could have a tendency to get annoying when she doubted herself to much. Quite frankly I thought what she called “awkwardness” was a brilliant sense of humour … but then again I am also more on the awkward-spectrum of human beings. I sort of expected there to be more conflict between her and her best friend at some point, but then again I am also very glad that wasn’t the case. I feel like there are often very toxic friendships in books, where things never get talked through and it slowly sours the relationship, which is probably why I expected some sort of explosion at one point or another here. As I said, they are super cute though and it never happened, which is a nice change.

Lastly, I enjoyed how much of a focus there was on family. As we have all discussed numerous times in the past, there is a real lack of involved parents in YA, but not here. The parents were present, annoying and did not let their children do whatever they pleased at whatever time of night they wanted – which seems realistic to me. There was also the opposite spectrum of parenting. So, I liked how they showed all kinds of relationships a kid could have with their parents and siblings and other relatives.

So, the plot might have been a tad predictable, but it was still done in such an enjoyable way. The characters were very likable and fun to be on the journey with.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! It was exactly what I needed when I needed it, so no complaints from me.

5starsI am really happy that all my OwlCrate-books were 5-star-reads so far! Keep it up! Did you read this one as well? Do you have a favourite Kasie West book?