The Girls

  • by Emma Cline
  • Narrated by Cady McClain
  • 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Girls - their vulnerability, strength, and passion to belong - are at the heart of this stunning first novel for audiences of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad.
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 - and to that moment in a girl's life when everything can go horribly wrong.
Emma Cline's remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction - and an indelible portrait of girls and of the women they become.


What the Critics Say

"The Girls is a brilliant and intensely consuming novel - imposing not just for a writer so young, but for any writer, any time." (Richard Ford)
"Emma Cline's first novel positively hums with fresh, startling, luminous prose. The Girls announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American fiction." (Jennifer Egan)
"I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language." (Mark Haddon, New York Times best-selling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I'm not even through the first chapter

But I have to point out that this is suppose to take place during the 1960's , yet some how the have somehow exchanged numbers on their CELLPHONES. Since I have only heard the first chapter I'm in no way attempting to review this book yet, I will say though , the authors writing style is a bit odd. For example " sweet drone of honey suckle, the glass of water quivering, the swallow of morning orange juice, the unlocking behind the eyes, the stranger at the door, a deer thrashing in the brush, I hear voices , a middle aged woman, " that's how she describes everything. "The green on the lawn, the dead bird in the lawn, the whisper in the breeze". Not going to make it through this I'll be honest.
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- leelee8888 "Say something about yourself!"

PG version of what defined Brutality and Evil

This is a peculiar novel, not unlikable, but I'm not sure what the author was going for. Obviously, the story is inspired by the horrific 1969 Manson murders: time, place, cult, drugs, and the manipulative male figure that saw himself as a prophet of sorts. The characters Cline has created to carry her echo of Helter Skelter aren't merely *similar,* they are the Manson family diluted. You know the author is talking about Susan Atkins with her All-American teen good looks, the pig-tailed, crazy-eyed Linda Kasabian, the big meat Tex Watson, and the infamous architect of the murders Charles Manson -- but the author gives you watered down, teenaged angst-filled imitations. Evie, the teen trying to find herself in a life that has just turned upside down; a beautiful bohemian (bi-sexual) Suzanne, a similarly pig-tailed girl, the family's muscle man, even the connection between the cult leader and a famous musician [*Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys and Terry Melcher (music producer and son of Doris Day] are non-dimensional, pastel versions of the real monsters. It is oddly like watching a bad modern-day troupe re-enact the 1969 murders without any knowledge of the actual event or emotional connect, a cast disconnected from a crime so brutal and shocking that it still has its ripples in our culture almost 50 yrs. later.

The result is a story that doesn't emotionally take you from a beginning to the conclusion. There needs to be some heft to the characters to define how they became the pawns of a mad man. I was interested in this book thinking that Cline would lay out the factors that made these followers vulnerable to the manipulations of a predator the level of Manson; what drew young people into this cult. Not every kid that smokes a joint and goes through family and friend problems winds up living in a cult and committing a mass slaughter. Evie would have been a great vehicle to take readers into such a descent, but Cline focuses primarily on what ends up sounding like a privileged teen-aged girl's growing pains. Does the murder weigh on her emotionally as she makes the transitions into adulthood; does she ever tell her parents about her involvement; how does the event shape her life...? I'd love to have had Evie reflect on the events with the hindsight of adulthood...or any kind of wrap up to this My Pretty Pony version of Helter Skelter. (The mention of spaghetti noodles still in the stomach of a young little victim, likely the mimicry of the stabbing of a pregnant Sharon Tate...not so MPP).

There are some wacky inconsistencies that having lived through the 60's myself, I can validate the errors. But Cline writes well at times; she also has some prose that jump in a little heavy and out of place that were confusing.
[Note: If you are interested in the actual events I suggest reading Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (Bugliosi had served as the prosecutor in the 1970 trial of Charles Manson.)
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- Mel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-14-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio