Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin: WHAT THE FUCK

You know when you wait too long to write a review and then you remember almost nothing?? Wellll, here we are. I remember the main points (mainly because parts of this book are horrifying!!), but the details…a little sketchy.

But let’s talk about Primal Animals!

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Protect the girls

Arlee Gold is anxious about spending the summer at the college prep Camp Rockaway—the same camp her mother attended years ago, which her mother insists will help give Arlee a “fresh start” and will “change her life.” Little does Arlee know that, once she steps foot on the manicured grounds, this will prove to be true in horrifying ways.

Even though the girls in her cabin are awesome—and she’s developing a major crush on the girl who sleeps in the bunk above her—the other campers seem to be wary of Arlee, unwilling to talk to her or be near her, which only ramps up her paranoia. When she’s tapped to join a strange secret society, Arlee thinks this will be her shot at fitting in…until her new “sisters” ask her to do the unthinkable, putting her life, and the life of her new crush, in perilous danger.

Ok, y’all. It’s been a looooong time since I read Primal Animals so this might be a little vague. But of what I do remember, I just have to say…OH MY GOD. The brutality. The violence. I was in shock for the full second half of the book. I was not prepared.

Like you think summer camp. Maybe there’s a murder. Maybe there’s a scandal. I didn’t expect this level of violence and torture??? Like holy shit!! In a YA book??? It was a lot. But I don’t want to spoil it because the level of OMG horror I felt is also wildly exciting when reading it. Just…trust.

I also like how much the book builds up the suspense. It was a little slow at times, but not enough that I found myself getting frustrated. I really was like just like “oh shit. something is about to go down and I’M SCARED.”

There is also the secret of what happened with Arlee’s mom when she was at camp and that also built up the suspense like nothing else. It left me wondering what her mother could have done.

I was also surprised how much I liked main reveal because usually, I’m just like “yes, let the girls kill without remorse” but Julia Lynn Rubin wrote this in a way that I was just as horrified as Arlee by the deaths that were occurring. Wonderfully done!

As for the ending, I am a fan of open-ended stories because I like imagining what happens next, but I know not everyone likes that. This one told us just enough to give an idea of what happened to the girls at the camp.

Trigger warnings: if you don’t have a strong stomach, this is probably not for you, harassment, and graphic violence/murder

Overall, I really enjoyed Primal Animals. Despite knowing what happens now, I still think I could reread it and still enjoy the horror and wildness of it all. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin is available now!

Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review!

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