Why did I love this book?
The world might obsess over the charismatic men behind horrific famous killings like those of the Manson family, but Emma Cline is far more interested in the girls lurking in the shadows of those sinister figures. Their longings, the way they move through the world, their own capacity for depravity. Cline’s lonely protagonist Evie is drawn into the orbit of a group of beautiful, careless girls in thrall to a cult leader whose violent vision will drive them all toward a night of unspeakable violence. Through Evie’s intense adolescent gaze, we’re inexorably driven along too. This book was one of those lightning-bolt reading experiences for me: it changed the way I thought about language and creating a vivid, indelible sense of place—in this case, the frantic, dreamy savagery of 1960s California.