A very novel approach to the telling of a life s story Three girls growing into young women as their worlds circle each other but seldom touch The main story revolves around a horse ranch and the many different personalities that interact with each other As circumstances always do, the young women are forced to change how they see themselves and each other Kate Milliken has written an entertaining story that will have you hoping for happiness and less drama Definitely worth your reading time. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley I am voluntarily providing my honest opinion.While I don t know much about horses, the story was interesting and engaging The characters were well rounded, and despite their flaws, it is easy to empathize with and even like most of the characters My biggest issue was the pacing In the beginning, the story was a bit slow moving, although this resolved itself later in the book The family dysfunction, tragedy, struggles involving coming to terms with sexuality in high school during the 1990s, and the underlying current of racism and inequality set against a backdrop of impending wildfires made for a powerful and moving story.
This review is based on the advanced uncorrected proof This book is unbelievably captivating throughout it s very quiet, there s so much that happens, and nearly all of it feels surprising and inevitable at the same time The novel, while narrated by her daughter years later, is centered around Rory s story, and at first I found Rory difficult to get to know However, as the novel progresses, we realize as readers that her daughter also feels this way about her, and I love the way this mirror happens in the story We get to experience Rory in Topanga Canyon just as her daughter imagines it years later, and as we slowly get to know her, she becomes and complex and interesting I love the way Vivian and Sarah Price are rendered, and the theme of absent mothers I also very much enjoyed the queerness in this novel it creates realistic tension, but not in an in your face way I couldn t put it down I highly recommend pre ordering this novel Enjoyed the experience of this coming of age novel but the ending was totally jarring A fantastic main character but fuzzy secondary characters. This story captivated me from the start Great read I was honestly sad to get to the end Had the opportunity to read this ARC and thoroughly enjoyed it At first it was a little bit difficult for me to get into, but then it became very captivating It is the story of three different girls coming to age and their struggles with their sexuality Highly recommend I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 4.5 stars, rounded up This was really good I was intrigued by this book from the outset the early 90s California setting, the complicated relationship between three girls Rory, June, and Vivian , and the mystery of what happened one fateful night And this book did not disappoint The story flips between the past and the present, the past through various different characters and the present through Charlie, Rory s daughter Charlie is trying to come to grasps with her mother s shadowed past, and it s this that propels the narrative Rory is the main focus of the story Coming from a low income dysfunctional family, Rory is a budding photographer who longs to get out and see the world as much as she loves working as a stable girl She s also a repressed lesbian Over the course of one year, Rory gets drawn into the worlds of two vastly different girls June and Vivian and all of the complexities that come with that June, the daughter of a rich doctor, is crushing hard on Rory, but Rory is interested in the elusive Vivian, her next door neighbor and daughter of a famous actor Their lives become intrinsically linked following a tragedy It s messy and complicated and Rory finds herself in the middle of a lot of connected plot threads I liked how well written all the characters were There are certainly villains in the story, but everyone is written as a fully realized character, with flaws and complexities This is a world in the midst of upheaval, and everyone reacts accordingly.Rory, of course, is especially nicely defined Her struggle with her sexuality felt natural and honest Truly, I saw many shades of The Miseducation of Cameron Post one of my all time favorite books here, and I could even imagine Cam and Rory being best friends if they ever met The mystery aspect is also well done, with all of the plots tied nicely together at the end The closer we drew towards it, the I felt a sense of dread I had a sneaking suspicion as to what happened the further I got it, but I was still surprised by the execution Although I can imagine some people may find the ending a bit too pat with some resolutions, it worked for me I can t say I could find much, if any fault in this book It was a solid read with interesting characters and an engaging plot. This is a remarkable, but simple, book about 2 generations of a family on the edge It deals with day to day happendings at a horse ranch, the pressures of growing up rich and poor, and family dynamics across the spectrum.Rory Ramos is a girl who works at a stable that is run by her stepfather She meets several rich kids at the stable She becomes friendly with June, a rich girl who rides horses competitively June comes on to Rory We also meet Wade, June s brother, who is a wild child Then there is Vivian Price, the daughter of a hollywood insider, whose house Rory can see from her porch Rory ends up entering and winning a competition against Wade and June, which alienates her from June We also find out about the relationship between Rory and her stepfather, who she loves despite his flaws Rory becomes interested in photography and ends up meeting Vivian and taking pictures of her, some risque Her photography teacher encourages her as a photographer Everything changes when Rory goes to a party at Vivian s house and the two end up back at Rory s.Wade and his friend find the risqu pictures and orchestrate an assault on Rory This happens at the same time as a devastating wildfire Rory becomes pregnant after the assault and the family moves to Wyoming, where her daughter Charlie is born Charlie ends up working at a stables when she is growing up We hear about the relationship between the mother and daughter, which is kind of sad, but understandable Rory becomes a famous photographer who specializes in war zones and other dangerous places She is rarely at home with her family She is eventually killed on a shoot.the story is narrated by Charlie in one time period and Rory in another We follow events of betrayal and redemption and hope in the characters lives We learn about the difference in the lives of the rich and famous on one hand, and the poor and powerless on the other When circumstances change for one character or another, the relationships and power between them change This is a story which pulls at the reader s heartstrings and their intellect. (FREE PDF) Â Kept Animals é A Bold, Riveting Debut Novel Of Desire, Betrayal, And Loss, Centering On Three Teenage Girls, A Horse Ranch, And The Tragic Accident That Changes EverythingRory Ramos Is A Dutiful Teenager With A Love Of Photography Who Works As A Ranch Hand At The Stable Her Stepfather Manages In Topanga Canyon, California, A Dry, Dusty Place Reliant On Horses And Hierarchies There She Rides For The Rich Clientele, Including Twins June And Wade Fisk June Begins To Take An Interest In Rory But She Is Drawn To Vivian Price, The Beautiful Teenager With The Movie Star Father, Who Lives Down The Hill, And Rory Can T Help Noticing, Swims In Her Pool Nearly Every Night Rory S Ambiguous Roots And Blue Collar Upbringing Keep Her Largely Separate From The Likes Of The Prices And The Fisks Until Her Stepfather Is Involved In A Tragic Car Accident From That Moment On, The Lives Of These Teenagers Become Inextricably Linked Are They Friends Or Foes, Lovers Or Rivals Sparking A Series Of Events That Come To A Head The Night A Wildfire Tears Through Topanga Canyon, And Rory S Life Is Changed Forever Kept Animals Is Narrated By Rory S Daughter, Charlie, Twenty Years After That Fateful Fire Rory Is Away On Assignment As A War Photographer, And Charlie Knows The Key To Her Own Existence Lies In The Story Of What Happened During That Unseasonably Warm Fall And Without Her Mother To Tell Her The Truth, She Must Unravel It By HerselfTaut, Propulsive, And Gorgeously Written, Kate Milliken S Debut Is A Searing Exploration Of Girlhood, Class, And Fate KEPT ANIMALS is a beautiful, unexpected piece of art Yes, you will get a lot enjoyment out of it if you are a horse person, but the story of finding yourself, California in the 90s, and shocking revelations is worth the price of admission It had a slow start, but the second half of the book really grabbed me and I couldn t put it down The ending will be hard to read for many, and is shocking in a way that the rest of the book is not at all, but I think the author s choices for her story make sense and all in all, it s a great work of storytelling The characters are well defined and intriguing, and I loved the setting most of all The second book in a row set in the 90s and I never tire of that period of life right before the Internet that I can vividly remember It s a solid read, has a great mystery, and a wonderful coming of age story Also that cover is chef s kiss