Review: The Girls - Emma Cline

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“You wanted things and you couldn’t help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong?”

My Rating: ★★★★

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction

Reading Challenge: 1 out of 50

Goodreads Synopsis —

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.

My Thoughts —

It’s my first official book review of the year y’all! Oooo exciting stuff, am I right? First and foremost, welcome to my Goodreads Reading Challenge. This year, I decided to challenge myself to reading 50 books in a year. I’ve also decided to hold myself to reviewing all the books I read during the challenge on my blog so that you all can join me in the journey!

The first book I’ve read so far is The Girls by Emma Cline. For me, this was the sort of book that I enjoyed reading the first time around, but probably wouldn’t want to read again. When I picked it up, I’d read a few chapters and get hooked, but after a couple more, I was ready to put it down. The book alternated between fast- and slow-paced writing, so I found that it couldn’t keep my attention for longer than a few chapters at a time.

There were definitely parts I really enjoyed, where I thought Emma Cline did an incredible job creating a plot and characters. There was definitely vivid imagery throughout the entire novel. You couldn’t go through any scene feeling like you were only getting half the story, which was obviously hugely important to the story. The storyline itself was intriguing. You felt like at any moment, a pin could drop and the entire course of the novel could be altered. I’m always down for a good suspenseful novel and this one fit the bill.

My major criticism of the novel as a whole was that I found it severely overwritten. I think Brad Pitt said it best in Ocean’s Eleven: “Don’t use seven words when four will do.” Yup, I just quoted Brad Pitt in a book review. Whatevs. The ending also felt like a bit of a cheat for me. I felt like that was the one part of the novel that made me feel like an outsider to the action, which was a bit of a frustrating way to end it off.

Overall, I thought The Girls was a really interesting take on teenage rebellion and the inner-workings of a cult. The characters were well-developed and the plot was nicely executed. It would be a good read for anyone interested in the Manson Family!

Have you read The Girls? What did you think?

Felicia x