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The girls : a novel [DAPL book club kit]
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New York Times Review
BOYS AMONG MEN: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution, by Jonathan Abrams. (Three Rivers, $16.) Abrams, a former Grantland writer, profiles the players, both successful and less so, who joined the league directly from high school. Some of the sport's biggest stars followed this path between 1995 and 2005, including Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett. THE GIRLS, by Emma Cline. (Random House, $17.)When Evie - 14, adriftand overlooked - encounters a group of enviable older girls in the late 1960s, she is soon drawn into a Charles Manson-like cult replete with squalor and sexual abuse. But rather than the group's charismatic leader, the object of Evie's obsession is Suzanne, a woman modeled on a reallife Manson devotee. THE BONJOUR EFFECT: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed, by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau. (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99.) As expatriates living in France, the authors learned firsthand the importance of cultural fluency. They approach their subject with anthropological eyes, focusing on the unseen rules that govern French speech: from the layered meanings of non to the art and ritual of dinnertime discussions. ANATOMY OF A SOLDIER, by Harry Parker. (Vintage, $17.) The story of Capt. Tom Barnes, a fictional British soldier in Afghanistan, is told from the perspectives of inanimate objects that surround him: a prosthetic limb, a tourniquet, dog tags. The fragmentary style of the novel suits its subject: Barnes was gravely injured during the conflict. As our reviewer, Benjamin Busch, put it, such narrators are "witness to a single casualty, their multiple perspectives finally forming a gestalt view of a soldier's journey from mutilation to recovery." STREET OF ETERNAL HAPPINESS: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road, by Rob Schmitz. (Broadway, $16.) Schmitz, an NPR correspondent based in China, offers a multigenerational portrait of his neighborhood, a former colonial and expatriate stronghold, using the stories of its residents: a struggling restaurateur, an elderly couple, a migrant worker. COMMONWEALTH, by Ann Patchett. (Harper Perennial, $16.99.) A betrayal - an extramarital kiss at a christening - sets in motion the joining and unraveling of the Keating and Cousins families over the decades, with Patchett's novel following the stepsiblings over 50 years. "In delineating the casual blend of irritation and unsentimental affection among family members of all ages, Patchett excels," our reviewer, Curtis Sittenfeld, wrote.
Library Journal Review
It is the summer of 1969 in Northern California, and 14-year-old Evie Boyd is bored and lonely. Ignored by her recently divorced parents and alienated from her friend -Connie, Evie is intrigued by a trio of hippie girls she spots in a local park, studying them "with a shameless, blatant gape." Their dirty smock dresses, long uncombed hair, and careless independent manner are so different from Evie's own neat and tidy childish world, and she longs to be accepted by them, especially by cool, otherworldly -Suzanne. Edie starts small, offering to shoplift toilet paper and then stealing money from her preoccupied mother to impress Suzanne and Russell, the girls' charismatic leader. Before long, she is hanging out at the group's rundown communal ranch in the hills, feeling for the first time that she's part of a family-even though this "family" happens to be a cult that will soon be making headlines in the most horrific way. VERDICT Although inspired by the infamous Charles Manson murders, Cline's impressive debut is more a harrowing coming-of-age exploration of how far a young girl will go (and how much she will give up of herself) in her desperate quest to belong. Beautifully written and unforgettable. [See Prepub Alert, 1/4/16; -"Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/15/16, p. 32.]-Wilda Williams, Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
This compelling and thought-provoking novel seeks to understand what might have motivated the young people who joined Charles Manson's murderous cult in the 1960s, and how they were drawn under his spell. In this fictional account, middle-aged Evie looks back on the life-changing summer when she was 14, upset at her parents' divorce, and feeling neglected and insecure. Enter Suzanne, a wild and mesmerizing older girl who draws Evie into the hippie commune/cult led by charismatic and fanatical Russell Hadrick. Reader McClain is phenomenal, evoking the older Evie's mature retrospection and struggle to analyze her own emotional state and the motivations of that tumultuous time, as well as the younger Evie's yearning for acceptance and love and adventure. McClain also creates authentic, memorable voices for the other characters, including the lazy drawl of Suzanne and the seductive madness of Russell. A perfect marriage of text and narrator, this is the kind of audiobook that stays in your mind long after it's finished. A Random House hardcover. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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