CHOSEN AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR, KIRKUS, AND BOOK PAGE * A BEST DEBUT OF 2017 BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. * A Spring 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection * Semifinalist, Best Debut, Goodreads Choice Awards 2017 * 2018 Tournament of Books Selection * Praise from Publishers Weekly * Kirkus * The New York Times * The Guardian * The Boston Globe * BUST * and more
The Animators is 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 Whitaker’s formidable gifts. I was so sorry to reach the final page and Sharon and Mel with stay with me for a very long time.” Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
“Unexpected and nuanced and pulsing with life…Sweeping and intimate…Empathetic but never sentimental; a book that creeps up on you and then swallows you whole.” Kirkus
“[A] tender, lively début . . . [Kayla Rae] Whitaker’s nimbly created characters are as vibrant as the novel’s title suggests.” The New Yorker
“Abiding friendships . . . are rarely portrayed with such nuance and humor as in this first novel, a nimble comedic turn edged with shadow.” O: The Oprah Magazine
“The Animators crackles with intelligence; Whitaker’s remarkable ear for dialogue reads as if Aaron Sorkin wrote an episode of Girls.” The Guardian 
“A compulsively readable portrait of women as incandescent artists and intimate collaborators.”  Elle
“[An] outstanding debut . . . Whitaker skillfully charts the creative process, its lulls and sudden rushes of perfect inspiration. And in the relationship between Mel and Sharon, she has created something wonderful and exceptional: a rich, deep, and emotionally true connection that will certainly steal the hearts of readers.”  Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Every artist must come from somewhere; this is something you try to outrun, even as home fuels the creative engine. The Animators is a novel about a pair of cartoonists, but it’s also about the complexity of creative friendship, about balance and jealousy, growing into yourself and living with your talent and trying to actually, impossibly get along in this cracked and unjust world. The result is unapologetic and raucous and compulsively readable; it is potato chip friendly, and deeply, generously, wise.” Charles Bock, author of Alice & Oliver
“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. I wish I’d written The Animators.” Emma Donoghue, author of Room and Frog Music
The Animators is a heartbreakingly beautiful, sharply funny, arrestingly unforgettable novel about love and genius, the powerful obsessiveness of artistic creation and the equally powerful undertow of the past. Kayla Rae Whitaker writes like her head is on fire.” Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award-winning author of The Great Man