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Book Reviews: The Girls + Wanted! + 4 others

The Girls by Emma Cline
In this massively hyped novel, Evie recalls 1969 and how she was an unhappy 14 year old. Then she saw Suzanne and her acquaintances - dirty street girls who adore their ‘guru’ Russell who lives at a ranch in the hills. This is evidently based on the Charles Manson case. It is strikingly realised tale of teen alienation and how due to Evie lacking shrewd judgement she was into a darkly complicated cult. Evie recalls in worn tones how her hippie mother seemed to radiate hostility and disinterest and how her new friends gave her deep satisfaction and how Russell had a powerful fascination. But it is Suzanne who reduces her to stammering awe.

Evie feels free with people who live with no moral underpinnings as their ignored children run wild. Evie can’t or rather won’t see how dark, filthy and full of downright lies the place is. She’s too drawn to the mesmeric Suzanne. Cline is an excellent chronicler of the ethereal depths of female misery.

A very unpleasant atmosphere is building around Russell as is the scale of rage until thwarted and unrequited emotions explode. Evie was thrust not unwillingly into a world where her understanding and the lack of it and her negative self image allowed her to make irretrievable mistakes. This was excellent but with one error: ‘The Man From UNCLE’ had been cancelled by 1969 and I don’t think it got US repeats until the 1980s.

Best Lines:
“They didn’t have very far to fall.”

“Everything tinted with mild decay.”

“A situation so obviously bad.”

“Slight drift of unease.”

“Their shared disgust.”

“This is an awful place.”

“They aren’t nice.”

“Days crumbled away like debris from a cliff face.”

~
Wanted! By Caroline B. Cooney
This dated 1997 YA mystery is from the author of many a naff Point Horror novel and the superior ‘Losing Christina’ trilogy. Alice’s father tells her to get two of his computer disks and drive his corvette to a milkshake stand. But then he is murdered and someone has forged a badly spelled, grammatically incorrect email confession from Alice. Everyone believes she is guilty and like a teen female version of ‘The Fugitive’ - Alice must run to prove her innocence.

Alice is not ultra-practical and does many a stupid thing. Will her slightly assertive efforts stop the uncertainty around her name? Alice uncovers a tale of warped moral outlooks, adults who react with withering scorn to the truth, dated technology and while this was not a lived, authentic experience it was good. Alice’s mother is useless. To remind us that it is 1997 E-Mail is important. A mall is run through and a charge card is used. As are phone books. There is no 24 hour news.

Computer disks are an important plot. Coke is drunk out of a paper cup. Doom is played. Public phones are used. What is a phone charge number? WTF is Ruby Tuesday’s? What is a credit card phone call? The police are idiots and the baddie is obvious and the wrap-up is quick. This has harsh accusations, false claims and a girl not positioned to respond.

Best Lines:
“She may be on crack.”

“Dad got bored shifting.”

“We’re not going to make up stories about strange men.”

“My own mother is not on my side.”

“The speaker was disgusted with the concept of trying harder.”

“They were watching General Hospital, which was impossible at this hour. Must be a tape and a VCR.”

“But moochers (and liars) probably did not have the right to adjust volume.”

“She must give them nothing to notice.”

“For a minute this seemed rational.”

“But this looked demented.”

“She must do something intelligent.”

“An apartment complex designed for people whose marriages died -”

“An unpopular, unsuccessful, low-end model.”

~
The Ripper aka The Cemetery by D.E. Athkins
This 1992 Point Horror wasn’t that good.

~
The Snowman by R.L. Stine
This Point Horror was ugh.

~
The Perfume by Caroline B. Cooney
This 1992 tale is about a perfume that induces DID and family drama or something.

~
Twins by Caroline B. Cooney
Mary Lee steals her dead identical twin sister’s life only to discover that Madrigal wasn’t who she thought. Bad.
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review
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