Circle of Animals

When her hippie mother Edi goes missing the same week Sky Richard is assaulted at work—Sky wants to run away from everything. Instead, Sky goes looking for her mother and finds an estranged grandmother, the cult she was born in, and an unlikely ally. But the most important thing she discovers in her mother’s past is the strength she needs to face her own life. 

Circle of Animals tells the story of a woman, Sky, grappling with a sexual assault in her workplace and the disappearance of her troubled “hippie” mother the same week. As she searches for and uncovers her mother’s story, she also discovers the larger story of the historically situated and gendered bodies of her mother and estranged grandmother. Drawing on ancient myth (the title refers to the zodiac), California counterculture of the last century, and current conversations about sexual violence, this novel asks us to think about how the inability to communicate violence done unto the body is not just a symptom but also a means through which violence spreads collaterally between women as silence and estrangement. As Sky looks for her mother, she must also find her own voice and courage to claim her agency.


“At its heart, Circle of Animals grapples with the archaic shame of female desire, exploring how the trauma of sexual violence ripples through generations. Hoagland writes with deep empathy for her beautifully drawn characters in all their complexity; Sky and Edi are flawed, but resilient, and find in themselves and in each other a capacity for forgiveness and redemption. With the plot twists and page-turning buzz of a thriller, shimmering prose, and restrained style, Circle of Animals sinks its teeth into your bones and doesn’t let you go.”

Lara Ehrlich, author of Animal Wife, host of podcast Writer, Mother, Monster

“A compelling drama that deftly weaves a woman’s childhood memories with the sinister dangers of cult life. Sadie Hoagland reveals a singular mother/daughter relationship in this courageous story of survival.”

Robin Yeatman, author of Bookworm

Sadie Hoagland ( Author Website )

Publication Date: August 20, 2024

$19.95 Tradepaper

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ISBN: 978-1-63628-158-2

Strange Children

In a polygamist commune in the desert, a sixteen-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old girl fall in love and consummate that love, breaking religious law. They are caught, and a year later, she gives birth to his father’s child while the boy commits murder four hundred miles away—a crime that will slowly unravel the community.

Told by eight adolescent narrators, this is a story of how people use faith to justify cruelty, and how redemption can come from unexpected places. Though seemingly powerless in the face of their fundamentalist religion, these “strange children” shift into the central framework of their world as they come of age.


“Sadie Hoagland’s vast imaginative compassion gives her uncanny access to the minds and bodies of eight strange children, their histories of abuse and longing for transcendence. I fell in love eight times, bearing the children’s pain, witnessing their afflictions. Through their mesmerizing, gorgeously lyrical language, the reader shares the joyful mysteries of spiritual desire, the ecstasies of secret faith, and the terrifying thrill of subversive reinvention. Harrowing and tender, this fiercely intense, exquisitely composed novel transports us from an isolated polygamist community in the wild desert of southern Utah to the bewildering buzz and glitter of urban streets in Salt Lake City, from the raptures of adolescent love to the violent extremes of sexual obsession. If we are biased, if we cling to comfortable misconceptions about people who live beyond our experience, these magnificently beautiful children will pierce and transfigure us.”
—Melanie Rae Thon, author of Silence and Song

“A spellbinding, symphonic marvel of a novel. It could not be stranger, darker, or more illuminating. I found it impossible to put down.”
—Rikki Ducornet, author of The Deep Zoo and The Jade Cabinet

“I admire Strange Children for its mythic grandeur, its intoxicating cadences. This is a novel about a world unraveling, a desert place illuminated by the vulnerable young who belong to it—a place of child brides and murder, predation and exile, solace and exultation. Sadie Hoagland’s heart is spacious and her sentences are marvelously lush.”—Noy Holland, author of Bird

Strange Children Dark purple script that reads Strange Children a novel by Sadie Hoagland surrounded by a design of white and orange flowers.

Sadie Hoagland ( Author Website )

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

Genre/Imprint: Fiction, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

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ISBN: 9781597091169