Facts and Figures
Published: June 16th 2016, Chatto & Windus
Genre: Is contemporary historical considered a sub-genre…?
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
What’s the story?
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?
What did I think?
I hate to say it but I’ve struggled with quite a few books I’ve picked up this year, particularly YA. While many new releases have been brilliant, I’ve found too many to be repetitive, unimaginative and uninspiring, so I was thrilled when I started reading Emma Cline’s debut, The Girls, and fell in love within the first few pages.
Her writing style is beautiful and the story she weaves across the chapters is so charismatic it’s difficult to turn away. Flashing between present day and the late 60s, we discover Evie’s past through her inner recollections and it’s a brilliant framing device.
Cline captures the notion of rebellious youth perfectly, touching on the obsession with fitting in, the wildness of newly discovered sexuality and the constant stream of inner anxiety that pervades teenage years. The Girls will take your breath away and I can see why it’s being talked about as one of this summer’s biggest releases – it’s definitely one to pre-order and wait for with bated breath.
Who would I recommend it to?
Fans of dark, literary fiction who are looking for something unique to devour during the sunshine.