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Monday, April 20, 2015

Short Review: When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

Title: When We Were Animals
Author: Joshua Gaylord
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Mulholland Books (April 21st)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.

When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn't have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen's confessional: as a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident "breaches" during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.

Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community's traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town's past, the more we realize that Lumen's memories are harboring secrets of their own.A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.
When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord is a weird book, but weird in a good way. Since the moment I started to read it, Gaylord’s words transported me to the little Midwestern town of Polikwakanda where this story takes place, and soon after I was completely immersed in the story, to the point where I couldn’t put the book down until I reach its very last word. And my first thought when I finished it was “What did I just read?”

Gaylord’s writing is lyrical, evocative and provocative. The story is original and like nothing I have ever read before. The characters are complex and behave unpredictably. Page after page I was wondering what was coming next and what came was completely unexpected. I love that in a book.

When We Were Animals is a coming of age gothic story in a world dominated by unrestrained instinct. When We Were Animals has the perfect amount of mystery, twists, and turns to keep you glued to its pages.

When We Were Animals is not for everyone due to its somehow violent and haunting content. I recommend it to readers who like unconventional dark thrillers full of mystery.

When We Were Animals was my first book by Joshua Gaylord, but it won’t be my last.

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other reviews goodreads
Visit Joshua Gaylord’s Website


  1. Right up my alley. I like my thrillers dark and twisted (as long as they don't cop out at the end--aka Gone Girl)

  2. Hm.,,,,*thinking*
    *watches Luci*

  3. Tis the season for dark reads it seems

  4. This is for me Marcela! Thank you :)

  5. Hmmm . . . I can't decide if this is for or not. I love the basic idea, but are we talking gory, graphic violence? B/c if that's what is haunting . . . maybe not. BUT I'm really glad you liked it ;)


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