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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
A bewitching story of a 1960s summer
The Girls, Emma Cline’s debut novel, is an exploration of the precariousness of being a teenage girl and the perils of craving acceptance. The 1960s are waning, and Evie Boyd has been carelessly disposed of by her childhood best friend, just as the onset of high school looms. Her parents’ divorce has Evie seeking solace elsewhere, far from her mother’s recently acquired new-age practices and boyfriend. She is also distanced from her father, now residing with his much younger assistant. One lonely afternoon, Evie encounters a group of fascinating strangers at the park: the girls.
Evie is smitten by Suzanne, a disarmingly ethereal yet tough queen bee, and drawn into the world of the ranch she lives on. At its heart is the cult leader, Russell, who collects people as easily as a child collects bugs. Bewitching men and women alike, he oozes a sense of entitlement, a posture that infuses into every interaction that the group has with the outside world. Evie senses danger but becomes entangled regardless, her intense desire for Suzanne leading to the novel’s inevitable, violent conclusion.
Cline has created a perfect slow burner of a story. Her writing is languid and astute, and the rapport she establishes with her audience is like a cat courting a mouse that it plans to consume. A dual narrative chronicles the account of the summer on the ranch and Evie’s present-day life, and Cline keeps the reader engaged by teasing the details until the tragedy in question takes a starring role at the last moment. If you enjoyed Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, The Girls is your next pick.