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The Girls

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


THE INSTANT BESTSELLER • An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong

The Washington Post • NPR • The Guardian • Entertainment Weekly • San Francisco Chronicle • Financial Times • Esquire • Newsweek • Vogue • Glamour • People • The Huffington Post • Elle • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out • BookPage • Publishers Weekly • Slate

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award • Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • Emma Cline—One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists

Praise for The Girls

“Spellbinding . . . a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story.”The New York Times Book Review

“Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed.”The Washington Post

“Hypnotic.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Gorgeous.”—Los Angeles Times

“Savage.”—The Guardian

“Astonishing.”—The Boston Globe

“Superbly written.”—James Wood, The New Yorker

“Intensely consuming.”—Richard Ford

“A spectacular achievement.”—Lucy Atkins, The Times

“Thrilling.”—Jennifer Egan

“Compelling and startling.”—The Economist

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 15, 2016 – A middle-aged woman looks back on her experience with a California cult reminiscent of the Manson Family in Cline's provocative, wonderfully written debut. Fourteen years old in the summer of 1969, Evie Boyd enjoys financial privilege and few parental restrictions. Yet she's painfully aware that she is fascinated by girls, awkward with boys, and overlooked by her divorced parents, who are preoccupied with their own relationships. When Evie meets "raunchy and careless" Suzanne Parker, she finds in the 19-year-old grifter an assurance she herself lacks. Suzanne lives at a derelict ranch with the followers of charismatic failed musician Russell Hadrick, who extols selflessness and sexual freedom. Soon, Evie grateful for Russell's attention, the sense of family the group offers, and Suzanne's seductive presence is swept into their chaotic existence. As the mood at the ranch turns dark, her choices become riskier. The novel's title is apt: Cline is especially perceptive about the emulation and competition, the longing and loss, that connect her novel's women and their difficult, sometimes destructive passages to adulthood. Its similarities to the Manson story and crimes notwithstanding, The Girls is less about one night of violence than about the harm we can do, to ourselves and others, in our hunger for belonging and acceptance.

Customer Reviews


Ms. Cline freshens the concept of descriptive language, advances the technique of fashioning captivating narrative, and somehow depicts in accurate and nuanced detail the spirit and social physics of a time that only existed about twenty years before she was born. Regardless of her relative youth, this person is the fine, fine writer of a very absorbing book. Emma Cline. Next big thing? Maybe. New literary star? No doubt.

Not for me

Didn’t like the writing or the story. I don’t understand why it got so many positive reviews

Cult movement in 1969

The Girls was about a cult movement run by a man named Russell in 1969. For about two years Russel began collecting followers preaching about love and political truths.

Evie’s character was in thrall by Suzanne, a girl not much older than herself. She was envious of Suzanne, her ability to be unbothered by what others thought of her. Unlike Evie who was raised a good girl to be polite and well mannered. These girls were expressive and disorderly.

Evie’s parents were divorced. Her mother busy dating allowing Evie freedom to spend her summer with her friend. Her relationship with her mother was strained. Evie wanted attention, recognition, love, and comfort, but her mother was too focused on dating. At fourteen, Evie was evolving from childhood into adulthood. During one summer before boarding school, she experimented with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Evie had issues with trying to find herself thereby relying on observing the behaviors of other girls. She adapted to their behaviors mimicking the things she felt she needed to.

The Girls was character driven and written from Evie’s perspective. This was a coming of age story about Evie and several other girls. This was Evie’s recounting of events that took place before Russell was discovered. The pace was slow with Evie recounting the times she visited with Suzanne. It was a tiresome read of which I grew bored so I began skimming.

One word continued to plague my mind while Evie was recounting her childhood which was latchkey kids. All too often kids were left to their own demises. This story was a recapping of those households that failed to provide a safe haven of love.

I must heed a warning about this book by mentioning that there were some scenes that included sex with minors as well as sexual molestation.

The story was executed into four parts sharing Evie’s childhood summer. The past was marked by the year 1969, the only indication Evie was talking about the past.

I kept waiting for some brilliant discovery instead I felt the ending was anti-climatic.

The Girls
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Jun 14, 2016
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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