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Publisher's Summary

California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counterculture, a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life....

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air, and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls. And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

©2016 Emma Cline (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

" 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)
"I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language." (Mark Haddon)
"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)
"Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. The Girls destroys our ability to consider violence a foreign territory, and reminds us that behind so many of our culture's fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind." (Lena Dunham)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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No Reviews are Available
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 01-05-17

The human side...

I thought this was a wonderful book. However, it is not a thriller, or a study of murder. If you want that get Helter-skelter, which is also wonderful.
This is a coming of age book, which just happens to use the (Fictionalised and renamed) Manson family murders as a narrative device to pull you through the book.
It is really about a mother-daughter relationship and then about female friendship, and then ultimately about first love. It handles all the characters believably and their interactions show genuine insight into the human condition.
There is excellent imagery in nearly every paragraph and the prose keeps the story moving at a nice pace.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes good writing as much as they like a good story.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Hannah
  • 10-16-16

Dreamy with quiet, sad dread

Where does The Girls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks highly, it's a good book that is well suited to the audiobook format.

What other book might you compare The Girls to, and why?

It feels quite unique but has a shadow of the growing dread and pervading sense of guilt found in We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The flashback scenes were fascinating but Evie's first encounter with the 'girls' stands out in particular.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Evie and her reflections on her father were particularly poignant.

Any additional comments?

A surprisingly subtle meditation on womanhood, the disappointment of youth and guilt, with an almost incidental but seductive cult story triggering it all.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • helen claire smith
  • 07-18-16

Uncomfortable and compelling

This reworking of the Manson Family saga takes the concept from a different perspective. The focus is really more on the powerlessness of some of the female characters and their readiness to be manipulated. It captures characters with an often ugly realism. I found the story engaging though it is primarily focused on the mundane elements of the individuals lives, thankfully not focusing too heavily on the gruesome. In many ways it's the everyday material that creeps you out most!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs S.
  • 01-03-17

Bit dull

A bit disappointed. This book has been raved about but I'm struggling to work out why. There is a constant jumping back and forth which makes it difficult to follow what timeline you are in and the story is really about not a lot.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hannah
  • 12-18-16

A gripping story, hiding contemporary themes

What made the experience of listening to The Girls the most enjoyable?

I bought this book after reading the number of reviews that praised Cline's storytelling, and was certainly not disappointed. What I hadn't expected though where the thought-provoking insights into issues of contemporary feminism that felt as relevant to my own life as to this extreme story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Samantha Moss
  • 12-13-16

enjoyed this

slow pace but good I enjoyed this book liked the way it flashed back and forth

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Suswati
  • 12-08-16

The fragility of youth under guise of a cult

A very descriptive and interesting concept tackling the effects of being a vulnerable child being manipulated by a cult. While it describes how all young people are fragile and are desperate to find a place in the world, the author seems to lack somewhere, and the narrative seems slightly disjointed.

There isn't much of an explanation for the adult Evelyn and it leaves a massive hole between the young and older versions of the main character.

There is also a lack of character build up of the members of the cult, and it does not explain what happened tp the Manson-like cult leader in the end. Overall, a little long for a plot with too many questions but a great idea.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Miss H L Jones
  • 12-08-16

okay but not great

an easy listen and a good detail on that sort of twisted cult living. not glamorous with free love and drugs and yoga but dirty hungry criminal living and uncared for children. that aspect was interesting and well read throughout but no surprises. The whole book stayed pretty much at the level it started on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • jnowlrose
  • 12-06-16

Dark and enticing

Not what I was expecting but couldn't stop listening. I love the reader's voice and found the story believable and intriguing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • joanjava
  • 07-10-16

Excellent, chilling...

Having listenend not too long ago, to "Helter Skelter" this was a well-timed book for me. Giving the perpective of what compells seemingly ordinary young people to join a cult - and drive them to the extreme. Very well written & told. This one captured and kept my attention until the very end.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Allan Dickinson
  • 10-12-16

Terrible book

This was a push from when I started listening but I couldn't do it. It simply went from bad to worse. I wish I'd known.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Fiona O'Connell
  • 09-06-16

Slow slow slow

This book was a struggle to finish. I kept hoping that something would eventually happen ....but nothing did. It was overwritten and overloaded with often bizarre metaphors and similes - probably trying for 'deeply profound' but for me it was just irritating. The author failed to develop the characters into anyone I could possibly care about. So relieved when it finished!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jane
  • 06-30-16

Brilliant

Though set in 1969, and based on the Manson gang, this is an incredible, visceral & current portrait of what it means to be a girl in this world. The powerlessness, and subsequent snatched pseudo-power conjured by sexual currency. The self destruction and sacrificing of themselves that young girls put themselves through in an effort to be relevant in any way. This book will stay with me for a long time.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-17

Awsom

Beautiful book. Great to hear from emma cline. One of the best book by her.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Erin Beaumont
  • 06-28-17

Painful

Apart from this feeling terribly miscast, its delivery is also laboured and dull.
Overly written and difficult to follow. If it weren't for bookclub I wouldn't have finished it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate Louise Webster
  • 05-05-17

Wordy but beautiful

The pacing is slow but not boring. Take your time with this book. It's not meant to be read in one sitting but in parcels over time so that you can relate to Evie and the things her teenage self feels.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanne
  • 02-11-17

At best quasi-fiction

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Found the book utterly tedious. The story is loosely based on the Manson Family with some sort of romantasism, and anyone old enough to remember that awful has to be appalled that it's horror can be thinky veilled and passed off as Fiction.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Cady McClain?

The content of the book is dull, and the narrator's monotone reading does nothing to make the content a more appealing listen.

Any additional comments?

Give this a miss....too tedious.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • MISS
  • 12-18-16

Girls

I really enjoyed this book, great invocation of the era. The performance was great excellent. I look forward to Emma Clines next book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful