ARC Review: The Girls: A novel by Emma Cline

Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: fiction
Buy: Paperback | Kindle| Hardcover


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.


This book is being marketed heavily in magazine and online.  I'm not sure what I expected but I guess I wanted more.  The book flips back and forth between modern time and the end of the 1960's when Evie becomes enamored with a Manson Family type cult.  I felt like the book didn't really know where to go sometimes and I felt a bit jerked around and back and forth.  I wasn't sure if Evie is gay and Suzanne was her first crush, or if she was truly drawn in by their leader. It didn't seem like Evie was really taken by the cult just Suzanne.

I couldn't figure out why as an adult  Evie was living in someone elses run down house or even what became of her life as she grew up. While it was interesting to see how she became involved in the cult I had no inkling of what happened to her after she narrowly escaped being part of its destruction. It seems like she just stopped evolving at 14.

I found the book strange and forced and that I would have been better off reading a Manson biography.

Disclaimer: Book was received from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.