So horror isn’t my normal go to genre, but Primal Animals sounds really good. That’s why I was excited when I found out I got to interview the author of this book for the book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Besides boarding schools I love the setting of summer camps for books, so for now you get my interview with the author. I do hope to read Primal Animals this summer. Keep on reading for more about this book and my interview.
Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publishing Date: May 24, 2022
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.
Content Warning: Blood, gore, mentions of Sexual harassment/assault
What inspired you to write Primal Animals?
Originally, I wanted to write a thriller about a freshman entering college and joining a sorority with terrifying secrets, but my publisher requested to age down the characters, so I settled on a pre-college summer camp. I grew up going to a horseback-riding-focused all girls camp for years as a kid, and it definitely had a massive impact on my development (and my eventual realization that I was queer). I loved the idea of this liminal, in-between space of summer where the kids rule the roost and the adults kind of fade into the background. There’s something really odd about summertime as a kid; it’s like this surreal, strange space, and I thought it’d be the perfect setting for a scary story.
What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
Connecting with young readers, definitely, especially in person, though I also love chatting with people online and have especially enjoyed it during the pandemic. There’s something so incredible about someone reading your work, enjoying it, and having a moment of connection with you. It makes everything stressful, difficult and depressing about publishing so, so worth it in the end.
Describe Primal Animals in five words or less.
Surreal, haunting, violent and twisted.
What is your favorite quote from this book?
That is so difficult! Here’s one favorite:
“There is something rare and magical here. Strange and eerie as it’s been today, it’s like Camp Rockaway is beginning to claim me.”
What do you hope readers take away from Primal Animals?
Arlee is such a flawed, complicated character, and she has so much inner shame. As dark as her story gets, I think it also contains glimmers of hope, and she finds this inner strength that I believe we all have. You know, the idea of that essential balance of darkness and the light, even within ourselves, and the intersection of horror and pleasure. I hope this story inspires people to be gentler with themselves and their own “darkness,” and recognize that we are all flawed people who have more strength than we know.
What is next for you? Anything you can tell us readers about?
Currently I’m working with my agent on revising a proposal for a new Sapphic, young adult thriller. Think Gossip Girl with a dead body and rivals to lovers. Hopefully at some point, that gets picked up and becomes a real book! Either way, I’ll always keep writing new stories and exploring different genres.
If you were a character in Primal Animals, what kind of character would you be?
I would definitely be Chantal: blunt, cynical, kind of over it, but at the same time full of so much genuine love for her friends and her “girls.”
Besides my author interview there are a lot of post being done by other amazing bookstagrammers and bloggers. Click here for the schedule to follow the tour.
About the Author
Julia Lynn Rubin lives the writer’s life in Brooklyn, where she finished an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at The New School in 2017. For three years she served as a writing mentor for Girls Write Now, New York City’s premiere writing program for high school girls, and she continues to facilitate pre-K literacy programs throughout Brooklyn at libraries and family shelters.
Julia has been writing books, poems, and stories since first grade, and loves reading about everything from film analysis (she’s a film nerd) to psychology and philosophy. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as the North American Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and The Lascaux Review, and she has written for a variety of online publications, including BuzzFeed, The Content Strategist, Fatherly, and Wetpaint Entertainment.
Julia is passionate about realism and diversity in teen literature. She hopes to one day own a French bulldog, pug, Boston terrier, or perhaps a mix of all three. She loves indie films, drag shows, and spending as much time as possible at the beach.
So if after reading a bit more about this book and author you’re curious, Primal Animals is out in the world today. So you can go get your own copy!