WOW. I mean.. This book is far cry from what I’ve ever read. No doubt The Girls have the potential to be shortlisted for literary prizes, such as the Pulitzer or the Booker Prize for fiction. Its rating on Goodreads already speaks for the book quality – how often do yet unreleased books have on Goodreads rating over four stars by more than six hundreds readers? I bet not so often. Just for the record – it received five stars from me and I think they are well deserved. Why? Let’s see.
The Girls is devided into two parts, late sixties and present. The main character Evie remembers her early teenage years, spend with a group of girls and the leader guy on the crumbling ranch in the middle of nowhere. There’s everything she logns for – the feeling of belogning, appreciation and omnipresent aura of mystery. Evie is tired of being a good girl and when she sees the hypnotizing, free-spirited girl in the park one day, she immediately wants to get to know her. So she does. And since then, it seems there’s no way back.
This novel is written in very catchy style, desciribing feelings in a way that every reader can relate. It leaves behind goosebumps and weird feeling. Because The Girls is no young adult romance, no teenage literature with an expected ending. It’s actually very realistic illustrated situation of a bored, kind of unhappy girl whose life turns upside down by meeting certain people. People, with who she feels the freedom, her upcoming adulthood and with who she can prove her own worth. There is something wrong with them, but Evie’s admiration for Suzanne forces to push such feelings away. Enjoying drugs and newfound confidence, she feels like this is what she was ever looking for, although it scares her from time to time. But who cares? Not this young lady, until it‘s almost late.
Of course, it’s not only about sixties although this part takes up the most of the book. The other part from present is about Evie, spending few night with teenagers, not so different from her past self. Their emotional and sexual expressions remind her old days and she finds herself in repeated need for acknowledgement. How much do people actually change?
To read this book was a pleasure on many levels. It brings an original insight into running and organization of a cult/a sect, still creepy but interesting. How do you become a part of something like that, why and most importantly, what/who makes you stay?
What I appreciated was author’s approach to the whole story. The main theme were the girls, relationships within the group and their feelings. Sure, you can sense the upcoming drama but it’s not in the primary focus, which makes The Girls more original.
All in all – can’t wait to see Emma’s star rising and I’m already waiting for her next book, haha.
Note: I received this book in NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.