Thank You to Random House for providing me with an advanced copy of Emma Cline's novel, The Girls, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - Set in the late 60's in Northern California, The Girls, follows protagonist Evie Boyd, a teenager from a privileged background, who befriends a group of free-spirited girls involved in a local cult. Evie is charmed by an older girl, Suzanne and soon falls prey to the charasmatic cult-leader, Russell. Stealing to help the impoverished cult members becomes part of Evie's routine, but quickly things escalate, and Evie realizes that the cult is involved in more dangerous crimes. Will Evie be able to escape the cult or will the cult become part of her permanent identity?
LIKE- A story of a Charles Manson-esque cult? Emma Cline, you have my attention! The Girls is dark, creepy, and a complete page turner. Evie is a believable, if not frustrating protagonist. Her initial fascination with the cult is quickly eclipsed by her desperate need to fit in and be accepted. It's like watching a horror movie and wanting to yell at the protagonist for walking into a dark cellar. Although this drove me nuts about Evie, it was also masterfully written by Cline. I liked how Cline set the story in the late 60's, her rich details transported me to the era.
DISLIKE- I was a little disappointed with the ending. I'm not sure what I was anticipating or how I would have written it differently, but there was an odd tone shift. The intensity of the story dropped and the ending didn't feel as threatening as I would have expected the situation to play out. The tone didn't match the story, but the story made logical sense. I liked how the ending fed into the overall theme of how the cult affected Evie's life.
RECOMMEND- Yes! The Girls is a page-turner and Cline is a wonderful storyteller. The Girls is atmospheric, unsettling, and populated with vivid characters that you won't soon forget.