On the surface, this is a novelization of the Manson murders, which is why I hesitated before reading it. I have enough murder and suffering in my Facebook feed. I don't need to be entertained by it. But this isn't really about that. It's really a story of a 14 year old girl lost in a disintegrating family and stormy adolescence who finds a connection with an older woman (and by older I mean, like 20) who is part of a free thinking, drug fueled group of young women led by a severely f'ed up male leader. Parts of this - the obligatory sex, the desperation for intimacy, the anger and shame- were so familiar to me as a teenager I was left wondering if I would have made some of the same decisions as the narrator. That's what works about this book (and any good book) - unfamiliar struggles of a character are drawn so that they are universal struggles recognizable to nearly every reader - in this case, every reader who grew up female. Excellent storytelling.-Jay's September Staff Pick, 2016
The Girls sweeps us into the Summer of Love and the life of Evie Boyd; we navigate through her recollections of her youth as a member of an infamous Manson-like cult in an around San Francisco.
Cline, a debut novelist, is already adept at designing her narrator’s interior world – the thoughts, observations, fears, hopes, the inconsistencies that define us all. You find the familiar looking at adolescence through Evie’s perceptive eyes; she yearns to belong, to be cared for, and have excitement enter her life. The Girls is made all the more interesting by being told from the perspective of Evie as an adult; we see the child, the woman she’s become, the similarities and the differences.
The author completely immerses us in 1960s culture but her novel is timeless. You’ll be left thinking about what The Girls has to say about women, their worth, their agency, in every era including our own.
Emma Cline’s novel had a lot of expectation surrounding it due, in no small part, to reports of a two million dollar advance being paid to the author. In my opinion, it’s worth every penny. The Girls is alluring, dark, and deep. The writing is raw and unfiltered and your reward for not flinching or looking away at the more depraved moments is an honest, lingering window into what it means to be vulnerable, unsure, infatuated, powerless. -Wintaye's July Staff Pick, 2016
THE INSTANT BESTSELLER - An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post - NPR - The Guardian - Entertainment Weekly - San Francisco Chronicle - Financial Times - Esquire - Newsweek - Vogue - Glamour - People - The Huffington Post - Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Time Out - BookPage - Publishers Weekly - Slate 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. Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award - Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize - The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - Emma Cline--One of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists Praise for The Girls "Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate."--Lena Dunham "Spellbinding . . . a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story."--The New York Times Book Review "Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed."--The Washington Post "Hypnotic."--The Wall Street Journal "Gorgeous."--Los Angeles Times "Savage."--The Guardian "Astonishing."--The Boston Globe "Superbly written."--James Wood, The New Yorker "Intensely consuming."--Richard Ford "A spectacular achievement."--Lucy Atkins, The Times "Thrilling."--Jennifer Egan "Compelling and startling."--The Economist "Elegant and nostalgic."--Julie Beck, The Atlantic "Masterful . . . In the cult dynamic, Cline has seen something universal--emotions, appetites, and regular human needs warped way out of proportion--and in her novel she's converted a quintessentially '60s story into something timeless."--Christian Lorentzen, New York
About the Author
Emma Cline was the winner of The Paris Review's Plimpton Prize in 2014. She is from California.