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Review: THE GIRLS by Emma Cline

Title: The Girls
Author: Emma Cline
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
ISBN: 9780812998603
Number of Pages: 355
How I Got It: from publisher
Format: paperback

Goodreads Description: 
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, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong. 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—and an indelible portrait of girls, and of the women they become.

My Review:
Influenced by the famous, 60s Manson murders, The Girls is getting a lot of buzz. Maybe that's why it took me a while to pick it up. Where hype tends to draw others in, it often pushes me away. So it sat taunting me from my TBR pile since January. I initially accepted the offer of a review copy because I was interested in how a 14-year-old would describe life at this commune and where the line was drawn that would push its members over the edge, so I was going to give it a shot for that alone. As soon as I began reading, I was completely submerged in Evie and in awe of Cline's ability to so perfectly describe being a young girl always waiting for life to begin, looking for the perfect formula that would unlock the secrets to where you stood in the world, measuring yourself against every other girl and painfully aware of where you stand with every boy. With only one friend, an absent father, and a mother who is rarely home, it was easy to see how Evie found solace at the ranch, a sense of belonging. There is also a current smaller story that frames the main story in The Girls. Cline's very carefully planted parallel, Sasha, shows the dangerous sacrifices young girls will make to be loved, accepted, and included. This book really did blow me away and it really is a great summer time read. The hype is much warranted. 

Emma Cline lives in New York and grew up in California, The New York Times described The Girls as the buzziest title at the 2014 Book Fair, Stylist and the Guardian listed it as one to watch in 2016. It has sold into 35 territories and Scott Rudin (Social Network/ Frances Ha/True Grit) has bought the film rights.

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***


Judy Krueger said...

Yours is the second review that has made me decide to read this one, when I had intended to skip it. It seems like the marketing doesn't quite match what the book is.

Carmen said...

Sounds like a book that should be read.

TarheelFIT1 said...

Thanks for the review! It sounds fascinating!