*This is a spoiler-free review.
♡ Book Title: The Girls.
♡ Author: Emma Cline.
♡ Series: Standalone.
♡ Page Count: 368 Pages (Kindle Edition).
♡ Genres: Adult Fiction & Historical Fiction.
♡ Rating: 🌟🌟 stars.
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?
So before going into The Girls I didn’t know that much; I basically knew that it dealt with some cult like activities and it was frequently compared to the “Manson Cult” which I have very little knowledge of. Essentially I was expecting a novel about how an innocent girl was lured into a cult and the activities that occurred within this cult, but unfortunately that is not what I got.
But we told each other a lot of lies.
What I got was an “innocent” girl named Evie that became mesmerized by one of the girls in the cult; Suzanne. Being alone after having a falling out with her best friend, Evie decides to go with Suzanne and the other girls to the ranch. Evie slowly but surely became emerged into the life at the ranch, but also not really because she was allowed to leave at any given time – this does not seem like very cult like behaviour to me. Evie became some sort of an outsider into the life at the ranch, not fully emerged into the cult, but also not blind to what was happening. This sometimes made me; as the reader feel somewhat distant from the cult and its activities. Evie was also not present at the ultimate ending of the novel leaving loads of loose ends.
I feel like the prose was too much! The writing felt heavy and it almost felt like a chore to get through the book. I also didn’t really care for the ‘present’ parts of the novel as I don’t think that they really added anything significant to the story. I felt that a lot of parts were messy and like the author was struggling to form coherent thoughts – at least it came across all scrambled to me and I had a hard time with certain things. A lot of the content is not for sensitive readers as it is quite sexually explicit, I almost expected this as it does deal with the topic of cults. But if you’re not really a fan of really explicit scenes then this will not be the book for you.
None of the characters really spoke to me so it was hard to form any sort of connections there. I never got to understand why Suzanne and the rest of the girls stayed at the ranch, I never fully grasped the hold that Russell had on them. His character as the cult leader was never explained which I think was a mistake as this was ultimately about his cult and his ranch, so it was hard to understand why the girls didn’t just leave. Also Evie’s parents were a no show and I didn’t understand how her mother didn’t get suspicious of anything.
I was jealous of that trust, that someone else could stitch the empty parts of your life together so you felt there was a net under you, linking each day to the next.
Overall I really did want to love this book, I was excited to read this book. But at the end of the day there was just too many things that I simply could not overlook.
- The prose was really heavy and you really had to concentrate while reading.
- I felt like the plot was messy and a little bit unbelievable.
- There was no characterization that is worth mentioning.
- It is quite sexual in nature, sometimes unnecessarily.
- I didn’t understand what Evie saw in Suzanne that was so “magical”
- I wanted to understand why the girls stayed and what hold Russell had on the girls.
- There was a couple of loose ends that wasn’t quite tied up.
Personally I don’t think that this is something that I’ll recommend.