The Girls

The Girls

by Emma Cline

Overview: 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.

Gail Reid (09/24/16): "The Girls" is narrated by the main character, Evie Boyd: both as a 14-year-old during 1969 and as a middle age woman looking back at the events of that California summer. An only child of divorcing parents who are trying to reinvent themselves, Evie has lost her only friend and wastes away the days before she has to leave for boarding school.

When a group of free-spirited older girls settles at a decrepit ranch on the outskirts of town and shows interest in her, Evie is immediately enthralled and drawn to their unstructured lives and their reckless, destructive behavior. If you haven't already guessed, the backdrop of the story is a fictionalized account of the Charles Manson cult.

This disturbing novel is told from a different perspective. So much more than the rehashing of Manson, it zeroes in on the connections we make with other people and the impact that connectivity has on our lives.

"The Girls" is a literary best-seller and much hyped because author Emma Cline is only 27 years old. I thought the writing was strong but the reading was quite slow. Emma Cline is a skillful writer and I look forward to her promising future.
Rating: ****

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