by Emma Cline
I kept hearing about The Girls. How it was a coming of age story, a story about a cult, a bit of a thriller. I was intrigued, so when it caught my eye at the library, I scooped it up. I was excited to read it, but I ended up being a little disappointed. It wasn’t a bad book or one I disliked, it just was not what I imagined it to be after all the praise and hype. That being said, it was an interesting book and one that you think about after you finish reading. The great majority of the writing was Evie’s thoughts and perspective both at the time things happened and in hindsight. Cline is very descriptive about people, places, and especially feelings. You really felt like you were the one experiencing Evie’s life. It was a different writing style from anything I’ve read before.
The story follows Evie, a 14 year old girl who gets swept away by the promises of some girls in a cult (though it doesn’t seem like a cult at the time). Evie has just fallen out with her best friend and her parents have divorced, so she doesn’t feel like she belongs any where. When she meets the girls and hears their message of living in the moment and sees how they share everything they own and drink in the words of their leader, Russell, Evie gets caught up in the movement and spends a lot of her time with them. It’s summertime and she flits between her house with her mother and spending time with the girls. One day they decide to have fun by breaking into Evie’s neighbor’s house to move things around in order to unsettle the owners. They get caught, but Evie takes the fall and lets the other escape. By the time she’s done with being grounded, things have drastically changed with the girls. Their living situation is worse and there is less life in the camp. Spoilers: Evie is a little disappointed, but not disenchanted, only thrilled to be back. The girls and one guy are leaving to do something for Russell and Evie begs to join them. However, partway there, Suzanne (the leader among the girls), kicks Evie out of the car and leaves her. You find out later that the group was on their way to murder a former friend of Russell’s, but when he’s not home, they murder the people they find there instead: a man, two women, and a child. Eventually they get caught and Evie is never prosecuted. In fact, no one ever knows about Evie’s involvement, except Evie. However, Evie spends her life paranoid, always looking over her shoulder, expecting to be caught. She feels like she was involved, even though she didn’t murder anyone. And that’s basically how the book ends.
Summing it up: I have mixed feelings. I liked a lot about the book, but I didn’t love it. I can’t say I’d recommend it, but if you’re curious, I’d definitely tell you to read it. So, totally on the fence with this one. What did you all think? Especially at the very end with Evie’s paranoia? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
All the best, Abbey