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The Girls

July 7, 2016

Are you anxiously awaiting your copy of The Girls? Here are a few suggestions to tide you over until your hold arrives.

The Girls, by Emma Cline, is shaping up to be THE book of summer 2016. It tells the story of a lonely teenage girl who ends up involved in a Manson Family-like cult in California. Even more than the details of the cult, I was enthralled by the portrait of adolescent longing that Cline created.  

Every day after school, we'd click seamlessly into the familiar track of the afternoons.  Waste the hours at some industrious task: following Vidal Sassoon's suggestions for raw egg smoothies to strengthen hair or picking at blackheads with the tip of a sterilized sewing needle.  The constant project of our girl selves seeming to require odd and precise attentions.

As an adult, I wonder at the pure volume of time I wasted.  The feast and famine we were taught to expect from the world, the countdowns in magazines that urged us to prepare thirty days in advance for the first day of school.

Day 28: Apply a face mask of avocado and honey.

Day 14: Test your makeup look in different lights (natural, office, dusk).

If you like coming-of-age novels with pitch-perfect details like these, try In Zanesville, by Jo Ann Beard, Ferris Beach, by Jill McCorkle, or Girl Trouble, by Holly Goddard Jones. If you’re more interested in the cult aspect, check out the indie thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, featuring a stunning Elizabeth Olsen and a menacing John Hawkes.

And finally, if you want to go ahead and get on the list for what I predict will be the big book of this fall, place a hold on The Nix by Nathan Hill, coming out on August 30. It was described to me as zeitgeist-y in the manner of Middlesex and The Corrections, and that was 100% correct. Do not be dissuaded by the Norwegian folk spirit thing.

beth winter


Beth works in the Collection Development department.  She loves short stories, memoirs, documentary films, and cookbooks.  Her favorite things about working at the library are knowing in advance about all the new releases and the easy access to her library holds.