Cover to Cover: The Girls

The Girls by Emma Cline surprised me in the best way. Set in the late '60s, Cline tells the story of a young girl, Evie, who is drawn into a Manson-like cult through her obsession with an older girl, Suzanne, and her need for attention. The ranch where Suzanne lives orbits around Russell, the leader of the cult, seems- at first- like a shiny beacon of everything Evie has been looking for, but eventually becomes less welcoming and more dangerous.

I was nervous about this book being over-hyped, but Cline did a fantastic job of channeling the restless energy that makes up so much of adolescence and long summers. The Girls is clearly set in the '60s, but the girls in Cline's novel are timeless: Evie spending her early summer days flipping through magazines, nurturing crushes born out of proximity, the strong want of belonging and attention- which eventually is what leads Evie to the ranch.

What I liked: The story was intriguing, but what I remember most about The Girls is that Cline sure can turn a phrase! One of my favorite quotes from The Girls is from Evie when she is noticing the ease boys have in their environments:

I waited to be told what was good about me. [...] All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you- the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.
— The Girls

What I didn't like: Sometimes it felt a little too "much ado about nothing." Like Evie/Cline was trying to force a feeling, and it was a little to angsty- even for a woman who still listens to her pop-punk playlist. But then I remember back on my days as a 13-14 year old, and I can remember experiencing those feelings (or forcing them) as well. So I'll leave it to you- did anything feel forced?