The Girl by Girls

An irresistible tale of teenage malaise set against one of history’s most notorious murders, The Girls is an engaging summer read that meets all criteria for great literature. Emma Cline’s vivid prose illuminates Evie’s obsessive thoughts while showing just how far an adolescent’s loneliness can drive them.

The novel stands out for its deliberate avoidance of shock and sensationalism. There’s nothing to compare Helter Skelter or Charles Manson’s visions of race war here; drugs and sexual relations only play minor parts in subsequent murders that ensue… Instead, what we see here is an exploration of longing and anomie…

Cline’s writing is decadent yet non-showy; she expertly captures the disorienting competitive atmosphere of teenage life — its uneasy anxieties and fragile, half-formed egos — with unerring precision. Additionally, Cline cleverly illustrates how small steps away from a safe path can have serious repercussions for all concerned.

Cline, 27, is an impressive stylist. Her prose shimmers with vivid metaphors — she writes of Chinese ribs with “a glandular sheen and rotted pucker of sherry,” but remains grounded in reality. Furthermore, Cline has an impeccable ear for dialogue – be it slangy jargon or unmistakably adolescent tone; The Girl is an astounding debut that proves even the most sensational tales can be told with restraint and insight.

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