Release date: June 14,2016
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
Evie narrates the book as a middle- aged woman as she recounts her days as a 14 year old in the midst of a family divorce. Her parents are absorbed by struggle of their own lives, which leaves her unhappy and lonely, seeking love and friendship elsewhere. The author does a great job getting into the head of a 14 year old in the 1960’s allowing the reader to experience the inner thoughts of Evie. The reader understands what Evie is feeling as her parents make unilateral decisions for her, with their lives, and her justification for seeking refuge with a cult.
I enjoyed the book, which is loosely based on the Charles Manson/Sharon Tate story. This book is a debut novel and I hope to read more from this author.