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, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
The Girls, by Emma Cline is not what you’d expect from a book that’s supposed to be about cults. It’s actually a coming-of-age story, the life of Evie Boyd, a young teenager in 1969 who makes the wrong choices during a dark, fascinating summer.
The writing was beautiful, the pages flew and I was thoroughly captivated. It’s not similar to anything I’ve read before. To be honest, characters were mostly unlikable and you can’t really understand how anyone could be drawn into that group… but Evie tells it like it was the only option for her.
A bit disturbing because of their way of living, but I thought it would focus more on the murders (this is based on the Manson murders, after all). On the contrary, this is more of a story about a young girl who is so alone and weak that does whatever it takes to feel noticed and loved. Even if it’s hanging out with a cult and doing weird stuff for their charismatic leader: Russell.
One thing I want to say: I think the present chapters weren’t really necessary. I think I’d have liked it more if the whole story was completely set in the past, in the year 1969. It was an interesting era and I’m always searching for more stories like this one.
If you’re looking for a strange, captivating story that takes its time and is unique and fresh, I’d recommend this book. Keep in mind that it won’t be for everyone.