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Other People's Pets

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  183 reviews
La La Fine relates to animals better than she does to other people. Abandoned by a mother who never wanted a family, raised by a locksmith-turned-thief father, La La looks to pets when it feels like the rest of the world conspires against her.

La La’s world stops being whole when her mother, who never wanted a child, abandons her twice. First, when La La falls through thin
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by Celadon Books
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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R.L. Maizes
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It's odd to review your own book, so instead I'll just quote what Kevin Wilson, a writer I greatly admire, had to say about it:
"While reading R.L. Maizes's Other People's Pets, I could not stop saying, as La La mouths to herself at one point, remarkable. Every time the novel opened up yet again to reveal some new depth, much like La La and her ability to experience the emotions of the animals around her, I worried how the novel could hold such wonder without bursting, could control the pain and
Kasa Cotugno
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With this novel, R. L. Maizes has delivered on the promise delivered in her short story collection, We Love Anderson Cooper. Advance praise from Kevin Wilson was all the impetus I needed to choose this book, and I can see why he was so drawn to it. These two young authors share the ability to create characters and situations so original and so accessible, that I look forward to reading everything that comes from their fertile imaginations.

Here we have Zev and La La, professional practitioners of
Jim Tilley
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was provided an ARC of Other People’s Pets by the publisher; this in no way influenced my review. Both Maizes’ writing and her storyline are masterful. I read the book in two sittings; the first half in an evening and then, when I woke up in the middle of that night, all the way through to the end. Maizes builds suspense right from the prologue and relentlessly keeps adding to it. While the characters are no ordinary people, they are well developed; the primary characters are multi-dimensional ...more
Susan Stabile
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved Maizes’ book of short stories, We Love Anderson Cooper, and so have been awaiting her first novel with great anticipation. My copy of Other People’s Pets arrived Tuesday. Only the fact that I had several appointments/errands on Tuesday kept me from finishing it until Wednesday. It is the kind of book you don’t want to put down once you pick it up.
The story itself is totally engaging – an animal empath, abandoned by her mother and raised as a burgler by her father – what’s not to find int
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book moves from LaLa Fine's point of view to that of her father Zev, but it is mostly LaLa's story. LaLa, a vet student, is an animal empath (able to sense the thoughts and feelings of animals), who seems more in tune with animals than with people. Perhaps that's because her mother abandoned the family when LaLa was young, and her father raised her to be a burglar! What makes a good parent? And what constitutes a normal life? This book tells a fast-paced crime story while also exploring the ...more
Charles Thompson
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a fantastic read from a highly gifted writer. An animal empath? A person (in this case, the character La La, a veterinary student) directly feels both the physical and emotional ailments of animals she crosses path with. What an excellent conceit for a character, and so much fun to read. As readers of Maizes’s short story collection, "We Love Anderson Cooper," will recognize, Maizes writes with a tongue in cheek manner. It’s not all comic, and it’s not all tragic. It lands somewhere in betw ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
R.L. Maizes’s Other People’s Pets is an imaginative story that follows the life of La La Fine, an animal empath who senses and directly channels the emotions and pain of animals. La La puts her exceptional gift to work early on in life, when she becomes her father’s partner in crime and on-again-off-again thief.

Though she relates deeply with animals, La La is ill-equipped yet desperate to find lasting human connections. Maizes takes you on a fascinating exploration of family, intimacy, abandonm
Laura Smith
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

That being said: I couldn't put this book down. Maizes' writing is spare and focused, and her concise, clear style commands the book's tension from the prologue. The action focuses on La La, a (sometimes) veterinary student and animal empath with a penchant for burglary. She's a thief who pauses to tend wounded pets and comfort frightened children. When her father finds himself in growing legal trouble, La La fee
Celeste Colgan
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Abandoned by her mother, Louise (La La) Fine joins her dad in the family business: burglarizing houses. She has the extraordinary gift of empathy with animals which makes her an invaluable accomplice: she quiets the watch dog while her dad empties the house of its valuables. La La grows up without friends or schoolmates because her dad fears she may divulge their activities. She is a veterinarian student when her dad is arrested, and she sees no other choice but to take up burglarizing to pay fo ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Imaginative, easy reading, R.L. Maizes gives us the joy of unusual characters in Other People’s Pets. LaLa is the daughter of a thief. Her father, Zev, works as a locksmith by day, but in the evenings he breaks into homes and steals their valuables. When LaLa’s mother ran out on them, Zev started taking LaLa with him on burglary jobs, teaching her the ropes. He turned to homeschooling and allowed her only limited exposure to other people to ensure their secret stayed between them. Zev’s love for ...more
Shannon Rochester
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: celadon
This was a Celadon book that just randomly showed up at my house and I am always overjoyed to see them. Who doesn't love a surprise coming in the mail? Our main characters are basically LaLa and her father, Zev. Her father is a locksmith by trade but at night, he breaks into other people's houses. As a child LaLa had an accident where she was saved by a dog and after that time, she can understand and feel what they feel. When her father understood that, he started taking her on jobs with him so ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I had a hard time engaging in this book and the characters. I liked the main character, La La, and thought her story was interesting and what she was doing with the animals. The animals were, for me, the best part of the book. The story of La La being abandoned at a young age by her mother and then having to drop out of vet school to pay for her father's bail was sad, but it does show the length some will go for their family.

Overall, this was a mediocre read for me, but it did have some good qu
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book!
I don't really know about animal empaths, but the concept really intrigued me. We follow the main character, Lala, who was abandoned by her mother at a young age and raised by her father, who was a burglar and would take her on jobs with him. He pulled her out of school and home schooled her, so she wouldn't let it slip what he did for a living.
It shows what affect this has on her and her relationships as she grows up, isolated from everyone. It made me feel sad for he
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
An entertaining listen. Should have know I would get sad about Bolide. I feel like I would want to possess the ability to be in tune with animals on that crazy level; on the other hand, it might be too much. I would probably end up doing more than just robbing people.
Christina Zaucha clement
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this unique story with lovable characters and their relationships with each other and their four footed family members. It's the story about an animal empath and the lengths she will go to help out her father who raised her the best way he could after her mother took off when she was very young. ...more
(3.5) Louise “La La” Fine and her father, Zev, share an unusual profession: While outwardly they are a veterinary student and a locksmith, respectively, for many years they broke into homes and sold the stolen goods. Despite close shaves, they’ve always gotten away with it – until now. When Zev is arrested, La La decides to return to her criminal ways just long enough to raise the money to post bail for him. But she doesn’t reckon on a few complications, like her father getting fed up with house ...more
Carrie Esposito
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*I was given an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review*

Other People’s Pets is a page turning story of love, loss, abandonment and ... burglary. The story explores La la’s attachment to animals and her struggle attaching to people. She yearns for connection with her fiancé Clem, even as she does things she knows will push him away, and she cannot let go of her obligations to her imperfect but caring father Zev, even as everyone in her life tells her she’s done enough.
I found the w
Mary Collins
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed entering La La's and her father Zev's worlds as I read Other People's Pets at the beginning of these trying times. Such a creative, imaginative premise that engaged me and had me rooting for both of the main characters as they made their way through their own problems and situations to fitting resolutions at the end.
Animal lovers will like this book as the author's connection to animals and their importance in our lives comes through.
Maureen Connolly
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-read
Other People’s Pets, R.L. Maize’s first novel, is original and quirky in the best way possible. The main character, Lala, isn’t great with people. But she has a gift with animals, is in fact an animal empath. In her final year in vet school Lala finds herself in a predicament – her father, an unabashed thief – needs money. Lala chooses to assist him in robbing homes but with a twist, she treats distressed animals before leaving the burgled house.

Maizes poses gentle questions about rectifying ou
Sue Em
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Her deep love and empathetic understanding of animals is what keeps La La Fine together. She certainly has had her share of hardships in her life including a mother who left because she just didn't want to be a mother. Her father, Zev, taught her the family business of burglary. Working as a vet tech while studying to be a vet, she is "forced" back into a life of crime to get money to give her father's lawyer. As she burgles, she tends to the animals of her victims. Overall, an enjoyable read ab ...more
Unfortunately, I never really got into this book. It felt like a YA book to me and I struggled through the first half for over a week and finally gave up. Possibly I'm just having trouble concentrating right now with all that's going on. I absolutely loved this author's first book, which was a collection of short stories. I did enjoy that the main character was an animal empath but it wasn't enough to save the book. I won't rate the book as I didn't finish it. So sorry, Ms. Maizes. ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, own-digital, 2020
Originally published on my book blog,

Only R.L. Maizes would have thought to combine burglary with animal empaths. And she does just that in her sparkling, feel-good novel, Other People’s Pets. (Publishing on 14 July 2020.) I loved her 2019 short story collection, so I’m not surprised I feel the same way about this book.

At the center of this story is La La (short for Louise) Fine, a young woman in veterinary school. She lives with her chiropractor fiancé, and dotes on her dogs
Jamele (BookswithJams)
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Have you ever felt like you knew exactly what your pet was thinking or feeling? Ok we all know about Pep and her expressions, but this book takes it so much further with La La, who is known as an animal empath, someone who feels what an animal is going through when they are close to them. Hungry cat? La La's stomach growls as well. Hurt knee? You guessed it, La La’s knee will also hurt. So she takes the obvious path of going to veterinary school and is doing well, leaving behind a past of what y ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I heard what this book was about, I knew I had to read it. What surprised me is the human characters captured my heart just as much as the animals!
Louise "La La" Fine has been abandoned by her mother. She is raised by her father Zev, a locksmith/burglar who takes her with him to rob houses and distract the dogs in the house.
She was never able to have a normal childhood.
Growing up she has always had an affinity with animals. She can feel their emotions and pain.
She decides to be a veterinari
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed OTHER PEOPLE'S PETS and finished it in one afternoon and evening. Maizes is not a wasteful writer and the book is succinct, entertaining, and crisp with a subtle sense of humor. But while there is a sense of humor in Maizes' writing, the book is not a satire. The story is about family and sometimes you get what you get. After all, someone has to get the short end of the stick so it was certainly La La's fate. She was shorted for sure with her parents, what with her father being ...more
Hilary Zaid
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What would it be like to feel your dog's joy chasing a ball, or your rabbit's hunger for a fat carrot? R. L. Maizes's _Other People's Pets_ is an imaginative exploration of the joys and perils of animal empathy. La La Fine is a young veterinary student, gifted with the extraordinary power to feel what animals are feeling, a source both of pleasure and of pain. When LaLa's father, a burglar who has trained her early in the trade, faces jail time after a burglary-gone-wrong, LaLa's commitment to s ...more
Denise Kruse
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Although it was a little corny, I enjoyed this unusual story of a young woman dealing with her failed parenting and of her empathy for animals. Kept me quite interested.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Other People's Pets by R.L. Maizes
R.L. Maizes’ short story collection, “We Love Anderson Cooper” was filled with rich, interesting, somewhat quirky characters. “Other People’s Pets”, R.L. Maizes’ first published novel is also built upon colorful, quirky characters. In this book, Maizes tells the story of La La (nee Lousie) Fine. La La is abandoned by her mother at the age of 11, and left to be raised alone by her father. La La’s father is a daytime locksmith, but earns most of his income at nigh
Kami Vogel
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-publishers
I really loved her debut book last year and was really looking forward to this. La La Fine likes animals more than people. Abandoned by her mother and raised by her father. A locksmith and a theif that breaks into houses. La La tames the watch dogs while her father takes all the valuables. She is an animal empath. La La can sense the ailments and emotions in animals. When her father is arrested, she has to drop out of veterinary school. Forced to do what she knows to help her father. She steals ...more
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R.L. Maizes is the author of the novel OTHER PEOPLE'S PETS and the short story collection WE LOVE ANDERSON COOPER, both published by Celadon Books (Macmillan). Her stories have aired on National Public Radio and have appeared in Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. Maizes's essays have aired on NPR and have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, O Magazine, McSweeney's an ...more

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