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, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
Publish Date: 14th June 2016
This was a novel that was loosely based on the infamous Manson murders that took place in 1969.
I honestly had never even heard the name Charles Manson before I picked up this book and as someone who is morbidly interested in these kinds of things, I found it quite good that from the book, I could go over and do my own research on these famous murders and in the end walk away with much more knowledge on it.
So this book follows Evie, a girl who is struggling to find her footing after her parents get a divorce and start seeing other people. She is pretty lost until one day she sees a group of girls in the park.
After a couple of chance encounters, Evie starts to get mesmerised by these girls and eventually, one of the girls, Suzanne, invites her to their home which is in a ranch. At the ranch, Evie meets their ‘leader’, Russell, as well as the other girls and their children.
There it was again, their wonder at Russell, their certainty. I was jealous of that trust, that someone else could stitch the empty parts of your life together so you felt there was a net under you, linking each day to the next.
As Evie gets lost in the world that is Russell and Suzanne and the ranch, she gets lulled into this false pretence of family and finding her place in the world.
Eventually the story comes to a climax and essentially if you are familiar with the Manson murders, then you will know how this book ends.
I really wanted to enjoy this but I just felt like the writing style was very pretentious and a lot of the book was just really boring because nothing happens.
I mean there were a lot of parts that just simply didn’t make sense like this bit:
I ate in the blunt way I had as a child—a glut of spaghetti, mossed with cheese. The nothing jump of soda in my throat.
What the heck is a ‘nothing jump’?
I quite honestly don’t know why or how I finished this book. I mean part of me was just so eager to finish it and just be done with it.
I mean I know there were a lot of bits that were just really raw and honest and yes I appreciated that. But the language used was unnecessarily complicated.
Another thing I hated about this book was how badly men were portrayed. Granted that the men Evie associated herself with were generally the not so nice types but every single man in the book was portrayed as a horrible being. I would think the author has some personal agenda against men or something the way she wrote about them.
I honestly don’t have an in depth review for you for this book because most of it was dull and I was just trying to get through it. I wouldn’t recommend it.
If you are looking for more information on the Manson murders, there are loads of resources online. Also, if you really must read a book on it, you can try ‘My Favourite Manson Girl‘. I haven’t read it but I’ve heard amazing things about it. Just skip this book.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review however all opinions are my own*