I received an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It is the summer of 1969 in California and Evie Boyd is about to turn 15. With her parents divorced, her best friend distant and the long warm days stretching ahead of her with nothing to fill them except transferring between her mother’s indifference and her father’s young girlfriend’s cool sexiness, Evie becomes entranced with a girl that she meets in town.
This chance meeting leads to Evie spending her summer becoming involved with a strange group of reckless and carefree misfits that will later be referred to in whispers as a cult. A summer that will end in horror and infamy, haunting Evie for the rest of her life.
I was absolutely blown away by this book – especially as it’s Emma Cline’s debut novel. The writing captured what I imagine to be the essence of the 60s, and what was going on at the end of the decade.
No doubt inspired by the Charles Manson and Sharon Tate story, it invokes a Polaroid photo story of coming-of-age and the passions and drive of teenagers.
It is easy to see why Evie chose the path that she did, and how easily she was influenced due to her experiences at that time.
Haunting, evocative and reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides, it is probably my favourite read of the year so far.
The Girls by Emma Cline will be published on 14th June.
Another one on the special offer from Amazon, this sounded right up my street. I got it for 99p in mid-August, but apparently it is now £6.23 from Amazon.
The story spans two timelines – the late 60s and the late 90s. In the 60s, two 9 year old girls are forced into being ‘friends’, although they never really manage more than ‘playmates’.
Set in a sleepy southern-England coastal village, Eleanor’s family are slightly unusual and exotic for the 60s. Her father is a big-shot doctor, charming and loved, whilst her mather is something of a glamour-puss. The family often have parties which are the talk of the town, and they have a rather strange way of talking to each other – cutting, sarcastic and show-offy.
In the summer of 1968, during an afternoon playing with Eleanor, Alice goes missing and is never found. The story of what happened slowly unravels following an event in 1999.
This really had so much potential, and although a horrible subject-matter (the disappearance of a young child being a rather pertinent topic at the moment), the story of the emotions and actions of those left behind are generally pretty compulsive reading when handled properly.
However, that didn’t really work with this book. The part in the 60s was just too slow, I ended up feeling quite bored when reading it – although the family themselves seemed extremely interesting, the viewpoint of the story didn’t really seem to capture the characters at their most interesting.
To be honest, even though the family wre larger than life, they seemed the most believable characters, and all of the other supporting characters seemed boring and pointless (I am mainly thinking of Alices’ parents.)
For 99p, it was a good enough holiday read. At £6.23 I would have felt completely robbed!