Book Review: The Girls, Emma Cline

This book received a lot of publicity during the summer, although I have only just read it. Set in California in 1969, Evie is a young impressionable teenager who wants to be noticed. Her broken family has had its affects on her, her volatile mother more interested in her boyfriend than her daughter and her father living elsewhere with his girlfriend. And then she notices 2 girls in the park who appear to be fun and carefree, with unkempt long hair and dirty dresses and she becomes intrigued with them and eventually becomes involved in their lives and secrets at the commune that they live in along with many other girls and run by Russell, a Charles Manson style figure.

Evie becomes quite fixated on one of the girls in particular, Suzanne who is leader of the girls, and seems willing to play along and do what she needs to, to spend time with Suzanne, regardless of the consequences, which changes her life forever and impacts it greatly.

Given the nature of the storyline, it is quite a dark novel but with a softness to it and very engaging as the author draws you in and helps you discover and understand how someone can be manipulated and get caught up in such a situation. As well as exploring the cult scene of the 60's, it explores young adulthood and the difficulties associated with it. It's a very enjoyable read which will flare up many emotions in you including heartbreak and anger.

This is the first novel by Emma Cline, herself a young Californian, for which she has received much acclaim.