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The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

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This novel is titled The Animators because it focuses in on two young ladies who are creating cartoons. They are from Eastern Kentucky but living in New York, and the novel follows them back to their hometown.  “The Animators covers familiar debut-novel territory: the search for identity, the desire for success, the bewildering experiences of small-town misfits leaving home for the bright lights of New York City. But Whitaker turns these motifs on their heads simply by changing the direction of the road and populating it with women.” The New York Times Book Review. “A wildly original novel that pulses with heart and truth  . . .That this powerful exploration of friendship, desire, ambition, and secrets manages to be ebullient, gripping, heart breaking, and deeply deeply funny is a testament to Kayla Rae Whitaker’s formidable gifts.” – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.  “An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love—familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make.” – Emma Donoghue. Kayla Rae Whitaker grew up in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, graduated from the University of Kentucky and then earned an MFA at New York University. She now lives in Louisville.  

New York: Random House, 2016. 372 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.