Books: The Girls

I love reading debut novels. There is something so fresh and ambitious about an author’s first piece of major published fiction. The Girls by Emma Cline was a great read. It provides a vivid and very believable account of a cult in the 1960s.

In graduate school I spent a lot of time researching on cult leadership. I have often asked how a cult leader with bad motives can secure a large following of loyal cult members. Cline’s novel gives us a detailed example of how this happens. It follows Evie, a teenage girl living in California in the 1960s. She seeks love, belonging, and someone to notice her.


Then Evie notices fascinating people in the park one afternoon. From there, she becomes involved in a group lead by a charismatic man, and soon, horrific events occur. The story of cults isn’t a new idea, but Cline’s writing makes this book stand out as something special.


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