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The Girls
Cover of The Girls
The Girls
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
THE INSTANT BESTSELLER
  • An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong
    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
    The Washington Post
  • NPR
  • The Guardian
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Financial Times
  • Esquire
  • Newsweek
  • Vogue
  • Glamour
  • People
  • The Huffington Post
  • Elle
  • Harper's Bazaar
  • Time Out
  • BookPage
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Slate
    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.
    Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award
  • Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
  • Emma Cline—One of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists
    Praise for The Girls
    "Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate."—Lena Dunham
    "Spellbinding . . . a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story."The New York Times Book Review
    "Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed."The Washington Post
    "Hypnotic."—The Wall Street Journal
    "Gorgeous."—Los Angeles Times
    "Savage."—The Guardian
    "Astonishing."—The Boston Globe
    "Superbly written."—James Wood, The New Yorker
    "Intensely consuming."—Richard Ford
    "A spectacular achievement."—Lucy Atkins, The Times
    "Thrilling."—Jennifer Egan
    "Compelling and startling."—The Economist
    "Elegant and nostalgic."—Julie Beck, The Atlantic
    "Masterful . . . In the cult dynamic, Cline has seen something universal—emotions, appetites, and regular human needs warped way out of proportion—and in her novel she's converted a quintessentially '60s story into something timeless."—Christian Lorentzen, New York
  • THE INSTANT BESTSELLER
  • An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong
    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
    The Washington Post
  • NPR
  • The Guardian
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Financial Times
  • Esquire
  • Newsweek
  • Vogue
  • Glamour
  • People
  • The Huffington Post
  • Elle
  • Harper's Bazaar
  • Time Out
  • BookPage
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Slate
    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.
    Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award
  • Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
  • Emma Cline—One of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists
    Praise for The Girls
    "Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate."—Lena Dunham
    "Spellbinding . . . a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story."The New York Times Book Review
    "Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed."The Washington Post
    "Hypnotic."—The Wall Street Journal
    "Gorgeous."—Los Angeles Times
    "Savage."—The Guardian
    "Astonishing."—The Boston Globe
    "Superbly written."—James Wood, The New Yorker
    "Intensely consuming."—Richard Ford
    "A spectacular achievement."—Lucy Atkins, The Times
    "Thrilling."—Jennifer Egan
    "Compelling and startling."—The Economist
    "Elegant and nostalgic."—Julie Beck, The Atlantic
    "Masterful . . . In the cult dynamic, Cline has seen something universal—emotions, appetites, and regular human needs warped way out of proportion—and in her novel she's converted a quintessentially '60s story into something timeless."—Christian Lorentzen, New York
  • Available formats-
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    Excerpts-
    • From the book Adapted from THE GIRLS by Emma Cline, available everywhere June 14th, 2016.

      I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls.

      I noticed their hair first, long and uncombed. Then their jewelry catching the sun. The three of them were far enough away that I saw only the periphery of their features, but it didn't matter—I knew they were different from everyone else in the park. Families milling in a vague line, waiting for sausages and burgers from the open grill. Women in checked blouses scooting into their boyfriends' sides, kids tossing eucalyptus buttons at the feral-looking chickens that overran the strip. These long-haired girls seemed to glide above all that was happening around them, tragic and separate. Like royalty in exile.

      I studied the girls with a shameless, blatant gape: it didn't seem possible that they might look over and notice me. My hamburger was forgotten in my lap, the breeze blowing in minnow stink from the river. It was an age when I'd immediately scan and rank other girls, keeping up a constant tally of how I fell short, and I saw right away that the black-haired one was the prettiest. I had expected this, even before I'd been able to make out their faces. There was a suggestion of otherworldliness hovering around her, a dirty smock dress barely covering her ass. She was flanked by a skinny redhead and an older girl, dressed with the same shabby afterthought. As if dredged from a lake. All their cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. They were messing with an uneasy threshold, prettiness and ugliness at the same time, and a ripple of awareness followed them through the park. Mothers glancing around for their children, moved by some feeling they couldn't name. Women reaching for their boyfriends' hands. The sun spiked through the trees, like always—the drowsy willows, the hot wind gusting over the picnic blankets—but the familiarity of the day was disturbed by the path the girls cut across the regular world. Sleek and thoughtless as sharks breaching the water.

      1

      It was the end of the sixties, or the summer before the end, and that's what it seemed like, an endless, formless summer. The Haight populated with white-garbed Process members handing out their oat-colored pamphlets, the jasmine along the roads that year blooming particularly heady and full. Everyone was healthy, tan, and heavy with decoration, and if you weren't, that was a thing, too—you could be some moon creature, chiffon over the lamp shades, on a kitchari cleanse that stained all your dishes with turmeric.

      But that was all happening somewhere else, not in Petaluma with its low-hipped ranch houses, the covered wagon perpetually parked in front of the Hi-Ho Restaurant. The sun-scorched crosswalks. I was fourteen but looked much younger. People liked to say this to me. Connie swore I could pass for sixteen, but we told each other a lot of lies. We'd been friends all through junior high, Connie waiting for me outside classrooms as patient as a cow, all our energy subsumed into the theatrics of friendship. She was plump but didn't dress like it, in cropped cotton shirts with Mexican embroidery, too-tight skirts that left an angry rim on her upper thighs. I'd always liked her in a way I never had to think about, like the fact of my own hands.

      Come September, I'd be sent off to the same boarding school my mother had gone to. They'd built a well-tended campus around an old convent in Monterey, the lawns smooth and sloped. Shreds of fog in the mornings, brief hits of the nearness of salt water. It was an all-girls school, and I'd have to wear a uniform—low-heeled...
    About the Author-
    • Emma Cline was the winner of The Paris Review's Plimpton Prize in 2014. She is from California.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      Starred review from February 15, 2016
      A middle-aged woman looks back on her experience with a California cult reminiscent of the Manson Family in Cline’s provocative, wonderfully written debut. Fourteen years old in the summer of 1969, Evie Boyd enjoys financial privilege and few parental restrictions. Yet she’s painfully aware that she is fascinated by girls, awkward with boys, and overlooked by her divorced parents, who are preoccupied with their own relationships. When Evie meets “raunchy and careless” Suzanne Parker, she finds in the 19-year-old grifter an assurance she herself lacks. Suzanne lives at a derelict ranch with the followers of charismatic failed musician Russell Hadrick, who extols selflessness and sexual freedom. Soon, Evie—grateful for Russell’s attention, the sense of family the group offers, and Suzanne’s seductive presence—is swept into their chaotic existence. As the mood at the ranch turns dark, her choices become riskier. The novel’s title is apt: Cline is especially perceptive about the emulation and competition, the longing and loss, that connect her novel’s women and their difficult, sometimes destructive passages to adulthood. Its similarities to the Manson story and crimes notwithstanding, The Girls is less about one night of violence than about the harm we can do, to ourselves and others, in our hunger for belonging and acceptance. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency.

    • Library Journal

      February 1, 2016

      Cline gets to prove why she won the 2014 Paris Review Plimpton Prize with this first novel featuring lonesome teen Evie Boyd, who's drawn to a bunch of louche and daring-looking girls in the park, particularly ringleader Suzanne. Soon Evie is part of a cult, based on a ranch deep in the hills and led by a dangerously charismatic man, that will make headlines in the worst possible way. A look at adolescent desperation for acceptance; big in-house enthusiasm.

      Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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