Unlikely Animals

Thank you, Random House, for the gifted copy of Unlikely Animals. 🦊 {partner}

Genre: Fiction
Trope: All of them!
Format: 🎧
Pub Date: 4.12.2022
Star Rating: β˜†β˜†β˜†β˜†.5


“Natural-born healer Emma Starling once had big plans for her life, but she’s lost her way. A med school dropout, she’s come back to small-town Everton, New Hampshire to care for her father, dying from a mysterious brain disease. Clive Starling has been hallucinating small animals, as well as visions of the ghost of a long-dead naturalist, Ernest Harold Baynes, once known for letting wild animals live in his house. This ghost has been giving Clive some ideas on how to spend his final days.

Emma arrives home knowing she must face her dad’s illness, her mom’s judgement, and her younger brother’s recent stint in rehab, but she’s unprepared to find that her former best friend from high school is missing, with no one bothering to look for her. The police say they don’t spend much time looking for drug addicts. Emma’s dad is the only one convinced the young woman might still be alive, and Emma is hopeful he could be right. Someone should look for her, at least. Emma isn’t really trying to be a heroβ€”but somehow she and her father set in motion just the kind of miracle the town needs.”


“That’s why we like living with animals so much; they exhibit their joy so outwardly, remind us how to be better alive.”

I’m mentally kicking myself for leaving this unread on my shelf since April! I love a book with a combination of genres, and that’s precisely what Annie Hartnett has provided in Unlikely Animals. This book has a little something for everyone: drama, fantasy, magic, humor, quirky/lovable characters, talking headstones, family dynamics, and lessons on letting go and grief.

While Unlikely Animals did deal with some heavy topics, it never seemed unbearable. Despite the story’s heaviness, it showed all the ways that a community can come together to learn and grow.

And that narrator? Gosh, I love a book that’s told in the third person omniscient. It has an entirely different vibe, and I always end up enjoying the book. Then the audiobook narrator reminded me of the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life, and, of course, I enjoyed that too.

🀩 Genre Mash-up
🀍 Heavy topics but maintained a lighthearted feel
☺️ Community coming together
πŸ—£ Third person omniscient narrator
🐻 Full of fun, quirky animals with lots of personalities

I truly loved Unlikely Animals and Annie Hartnett’s writing style, and I can’t wait to read more from her πŸ’—

Format: 368 pages, hardback
Published: April 2022
ISBN 0593160223 (ISBN13: 9780593160220)

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