by Emma Cline
An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong—this stunning first novel is perfect for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.
Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction.
This was a fantastic debut novel by Emma Cline. It had everything I enjoy in a book - coming of age story, a shy and confused protagonist, and a dangerous intrigue that flows throughout the story.
Evie is a "blank slate" - life has been happening around her without her permission and she's just been dragged along. Then, she meets Suzanne and the rest of the folks at the ranch, and at first it feels like freedom. A place where she is given attention, and is part of something bigger. She finds herself escaping home more and more so she can be at the ranch. And then slowly - the air feels different and the freedom Evie feels starts to meld into something else, something a bit more ominous.
I'm about to go into something a bit spoiler-y - so feel free to stop reading. Just know that I truly recommend this book. It's a fantastic debut.
Now - what I thought was great about this book is that it appears to be loosely based on the Manson murders that happened back in 1969. It is definitely parallel to those crimes, give and take some details of course. Because of this link, the book goes to a whole other level. It takes the reader to what it truly would be like to be a teenager coming into her own at a time where promised love and freedom could have twisted into something horrible very quickly. If you're a fan of true crime or have an interest in the psychology of psychopaths - this novel gives you an analyzation to think about.