REVIEW: The Girls - Emma Cline


This is a novel I have been dying to read since I first caught a glimpse of the cover months ago. The nostalgic, feminine feel of Emma Cline's debut novel put me in the perfect mood for summer and so I was pleased to get the chance to finally read it while I was on holiday in America last week.

If for some crazy reason you haven't heard of Emma Cline's The Girls before (do you live under a stone?) then I can tell you it's about a woman named Evie Boyd who grew up in California during the wild times of the 1960s. Falling in with older friends and being led down a dark, twisting path of sex and scandal, the only thing that's bright is the sunshine.

I really enjoyed following Evie's progression from her youthful 14 year-old mindset to her adult one as this story flickers from her spontaneous attitude as a teenager to her reflections in later life. While her character is completely consistent, Emma Cline portrays maturity and hindsight in a painfully believable fashion. Even better, she isn't the only deeply interesting character to the novel. Suzanne, Evie's obsession and idol, is a dirty yet vulnerable young woman whose actions are conflicting and shocking. Evie's perception of her is untrustworthy but from the vision we are given, Suzanne seems to be both a Goddess and villain in the form of one person. Add to that Russell, the leader of the friendship group of which Evie begins to tag along with - if you can call it a friendship group - is the kind of man that makes you hate all men. Completely unlikable but addictive to read about, Russell became confusingly one of my favourite characters.

Something that made this novel truly unique was Emma Cline's distinctive writing style. She has an old-fashioned tone, similar to that of Anne Tyler's, but with an addictive modern spin that makes her writing easy to soak up. That's not to say it isn't of high quality (quite the opposite). Instead, Cline can write compelling, quality literature in a fashion that will attract even those who aren't usually interested in reading the literary genre. I really can't wait to see what comes next from her.

We all know a good book is one that leaves you with a feeling. Be it joyful, heartbroken, determined, or whatever. Well, The Girls left me wondering; what will it be like to feel regret? Is it so easy to get swept away? 

My only criticism was the ending which felt like an anti-climax.  After such a big build up I ended something... More. It's hard to explain but I feel this left me disappointed which is a shame after such an impressive story.

Let me know if you've read The Girls - did it live up to your expectations? You can grab yourself a copy here otherwise.

Love, Jess

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks go to the author and publisher.

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