The Girls by Emma Cline begins in Northern California  in the 1960s- right before the Manson murders. There, wallflower teen Evie Boyd is spending a mopey summer, pining after boys and ignoring her overly-critical mother. She doesn’t plan to do much- until she meets the girls. Beautiful, ephemeral hippies who smoke and drink and embrace their sexuality. They’re everything Evie wishes she was, especially Suzanne, a charismatic older girl.

As she’s drawn into their thrilling world, Evie begins to see a darker side to them. Their leader is controlling and a little crazy, but Evie, desperate to be accepted, is suddenly willing to do almost anything for the group. Soon she’s walking a razor thin line, and has to decide, what the price of feeling accepted is.

Emma Cline’s gritty debut has already rocketed onto The New York Times bestseller list- and for good reason. In Evie, Cline has created a realistic and compelling character whose fascination with the girls, the cult and the questions of their acceptance is relatable- even if you’re not a killer.