California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture 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?
The Girls by Emma Cline is an interesting story about a young girl growing up in California in the 1960s. The story follows Evie Boyd. She is your typical teenager: dutiful and charming but hides behind the desire to do the things that she likes – she is typical in that she thinks she knows what is best. However, it is her poor decisions that lead to a life of romanticised notions of decadence that lead her in to a seedy world of drama. Essentially, The Girls is about how being young and easily influenced can lead you down the wrong path in life.
Whilst none can argue that Cline paints a stunning picture of California in the 1960s, personally I found myself drifting during the descriptions of the vistas. This happened far too frequently. The Girls had too much talk and not enough action. It was really slow paced and I found myself having to work to finish the book.
The characterisation was good. You could sense Evie’s desperation to be a part of something bigger, to be noticed and to be appreciated. Equally, the lack of information about Suzanne helped create an air of mystery and intrigued you to read more.
However, if I’m being completely honest I was expecting more from The Girls.
The Girls by Emma Cline is available from 2nd June 2016