The Girls

Set in California in the summer of 1969, The Girls is a story about 14 year-old Evie who is disenchanted with her middle-class life, boys, parents, and friends. Desperately seeking connection, she falls under the influence of Suzanne, and is drawn into a Mansonesque-like cult.

Authors:Cline, Emma
Title:The girls
Publisher:New York : Random House, 2016
Available as an audiobook: yes

Discussion Points

  • coming of age
  • American counter culture
  • complexities of female friendships
  • was this merely a retelling of the Mason murders or did Cline add anything to the conversation?
  • would Evie have helped Suzanne with the murders had she remained in the car?
  • why did Suzanne kick her out of the car?
  • can anyone get caught up in a bad situation when under the right influence?
  • teens and kids previously had a lot more freedom then teens do today – better or worse?

Book Reviews


The Millions

Author web site

Emma Cline

My Dark Vanessa

This novel is about the long term fallout from a relationship between 15 year old Vanessa and her forty-something English teacher. Alternating between the younger Vanessa and the adult Vanessa, we are drawn into her world as she tries to make sense of her life, legitimize the relationship, and create a version of events so as not to be another victim in the #metoo movement. This is an intense read and not for everyone but if you feel it is a good fit for your book club, I would recommend that your next book be a little more upbeat.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2020]
Available as an audiobook: yes
Genre: Fiction - Psychological Fiction

Discussion Topics

  • consent
  • victimhood
  • agency
  • gaslighting
  • different reactions to the same trauma (Vanessa vs. Taylor)
  • Strane’s death – avoiding justice?
  • parental reactions
  • treatment of sexual assault victims by the media

Reviews and Reading Guides


TBS Roundtable

Publisher Reading Guide