The Girls By Emma Cline 4 ♥ 5 Publisher: Random House Publishing Date: 14th June 2016
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd meets Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of infamous cult and its charismatic leader. As her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is closer than ever to unthinkable violence and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
I am so glad I got a copy from Net Galley. Certainly a different kind of read for me. The concept or the story is not what I would have usually opted for. I took a risk and it paid!
This novel is gut-wrenching. The flowing prose at times is metaphoric and never fails to be gritty. It deals with teen psychology, cult, drugs and violence. Amidst all of it or rather fueled by it is Evie Boyd. The Girls is essentially a dark coming of age story. And no, it’s not another pretentious preening teen-targeted, so called growing up story.
This one hits the nail on confusions of growing up, especially the struggle and societal pressures for teen girls. Evie comes from an affluent family, she lives in an elite neighbourhood, she is the good girl with great grades. What could her life be missing? Attention and the need to be involved in something bigger than her.
“How sad it was to realize that sometimes you never got there. That sometimes you lived a whole life skittering across the surface as the years passed, unblessed.”
This book tackles her glorious need for attention and this is what gets her into trouble. Emma’s writing is seductive; it grabs you and makes you think. Had the writing not been so impeccable (even for a proofread copy), this story would come off as just another rich spoil brat in bad influence.
The plot is straightforward. Its beautiful descriptive writing is what brings out the layers to the story. One minor concern that I had was the flashback scenes. There was no visible division in them. I was reading something of past and the next paragraph was dealing with the present. It was a bit disorienting but not enough to discoursing me from reading further.
Evie is complex. She is not the usual heroine. She is not that likable but you are drawn to her. I didn’t like her, not much, but in parts could understand her. I at least wanted to.
Evie is shown having the usual teenage angst and disdain towards the adults or grownups. The treatment of this main character was brilliant. That’s the beauty of this book, having an extremely flawed main character, but yet you want to see her succeed.
The pace is just right to unveil this kind of story.
The story itself is harsh, it’s not a romanticized take on a young adult. It uses every ploy to showcase the shattering of innocence. The characters are messy as in real life. Their intentions and actions complex and spellbinding.
I recommend this book. It’s dynamic and distinct storytelling. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to acquire a cult status in a few years. No pun intended. This powerful debut novel by Emma Cline is surely one of the bests of 2016.
Book comes out on 14 June, get ready for it.
Heads up! Producer Scott Rudin (THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) acquired the movie rights for the novel. Will be interesting to see the cast for it.
Have you read the book? Who do you think is the perfect cast?
—Take care, happy reading!—
Related Reads: Ola Reads Books
“Books fall open, you fall in. When you climb out again, you’re a bit larger than you used to be.” – Gregory Maguire