2016, 2016 Challenges, ARC, Books, Community, graphic novels, ProBlogger

Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators

Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators


I’ve always been a fan of good animation. From the Looney Tunes, Warner Brothers and Popeye as a child, I graduated to the Disney afternoon and Batman: The Animated series and then Liquid Television, Aeon Flux and now, Bob’s Burgers. When given the opportunity by its publisher, I knew I needed to read Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators. I am very happy I did read it!


Sharon and Mel meet in college, at a university whose visual arts program is out of their meager price ranges growing up. Mel leaves Florida and Sharon leaves Kentucky and don’t really look back. They work together first out of necessity, and then turn out to be good partners–Sharon fills in on the things Mel is not good at, and vice versa. However, when an autobiographical cartoon starts getting nods and awards and the women get a huge grant, Mel is notified her mother (the subject of said cartoon, and currently in prison) is dead. Mel and Sharon make their way to id the body in the prison morgue and in the aftermath, Sharon’s headache turns into a full blown attack and she ends up in the hospital.

TheAnimators 2 weeks later, when Sharon awakens from her coma, Mel is there. And there is a dynamic that changes between the two. While Sharon has been the even-keeled one in their working partnership, now it is Mel that Sharon has to rely on. And she starts to learn to walk again, Sharon’s left side needs major rehab–her face drags, her hands need strength and she needs to learn how to walk again. While she was out, Mel stumbled upon Sharon’s sketchbook and saw a drawing from Sharon’s past which leads to an uncomfortable conversation about something that shaped Sharon’s life.

Once partially rehabbed (when the insurance runs out), the two rent a small place in Florida, working on developing an idea–an idea that will take the friends and business partners back to Kentucky. Sharon left a long time ago, and the family she left behind is a little shattered. Soon, the darkness of the past colors more than just their story idea. The two travel to meet a friend from Sharon’s past in nearby Louisville and then end up putting down temporary stakes as they work on their new project (Sharon’s story). But the darkness of Sharon’s past threatens her present and future with her family, and her lover–are the project’s stakes too high to allow Sharon to tell her story and keep her loved ones?


I’ve always been a fan of animation, and hearing about some of the subversive and non-popular cartoons within Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators really made me think. This book goes to some very dark, depressing places and while I cannot recommend it enough, please keep that in mind.

Final thoughts about Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators

Random House is publishing Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators on November 29, 2016. It’ll be a great gift for the holidays, or a great book to read as you de-stress during the holidays. It will be available in your favorite format from your local bookseller as well! Thank you to Random House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review!

Either way, I thank you or stopping by–and look forward to interacting with you. This is part three of a week-long challenge (Getting Your Blogging Groove Back Challenge) by the ProBlogger podcast. To listen to this episode, or others, please click this link to ProBlogger. Thank you for reading How Did I Get Here… Share how you got here in the comments below!

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