The Girls by Emma Cline

26210512California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

How did I get the book?  
Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Genre: Literary Fiction / Historical Fiction

Review: I was excited about this book when I began reading it but this began to wane the more pages I turned. The Girls seems to me a book that will enthral and connect instantly with readers or, as was the case with me, become something of a task that rewards you later on.

The second half of The Girls focuses on Evie’s time at the ranch and how it crumples from the idyllic. I found Evie’s story in 1969 more interesting than the present day counterpart narration.

One of the things that surprised me what how often the words “later I would or I’d later” (or variations thereof) were used, sometimes even on the same page, especially in part 1. This distracted me from the narration because I’d be thinking “oh here is another one” each time.

The Girls is fascinating and I’m glad I persisted with it. Evie’s narration of 1969 was what held my attention.  It’s a time I don’t really know much about and the murders that inspired this story are something I only knew by name.

Recommend it?



The Girls is out today

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