The Girls by Emma Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Evie is a listless teenager in California, drifting through life, when she spots a group of girls in the park one day. Evie is immediately captivated, especially by Suzanne, an older girl with long black hair. She soon becomes ensnared by the girls and drawn back to their ranch, where she meets their leader, Russell, a would-be musician who has an entire group under his thrall. While the ranch is decrepit, and its inhabitants often hungry, Evie finds it a welcome alternative to life at home with her mother, or her boring best friend friend. She also finds herself more and more enthralled with Suzanne. But as Evie gets drawn into the group, it's hard for her to see the darkness surrounding her new friends--and what it may lead to.
I tend to either read "It" books immediately, or shy away from them. I was hesitant to read this one for a while, but finally caved while on vacation. While I found it an interesting read, it didn't live up to the incredible hype that swirled around the novel. I found Evie a lackluster character--and while part of that is the point, and what allows her to be drawn into Russell and Suzanne's web, I just found myself lacking any empathy for her whatsoever. The story itself goes seemingly nowhere for a good 2/3 of the book, only picking up near the end (yet, Evie isn't really involved in the novel's major plot impetus - it's very strange).
The juxtaposition of Evie looking back on her life, telling the story of her teenage years is an interesting one, but we don't get much further development about her present life. Overall, I enjoyed Cline's writing style and pieces of the book, but was disappointed in the novel as a whole. I didn't care about the characters or much of the plot, nor did I find the story as captivating as I'd hoped, based on all the raving reviews. Still, it was a fairly quick and interesting read.
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