9 Quotes From 'The Girls' That Will Convince You To Pick Up This Book ASAP

Perhaps summer 2016's most-publicized release, The Girls by Emma Cline is not the type of book I would normally read. I picked it up at an airport, thinking it would be a thriller. Instead, I found a reflective, compelling novel that had me reaching for a pen to underline quote after thought-provoking quote and scribble in the margins.

The plot is simple: Evie Boyd, a teenager in 1960s Northern California, becomes intrigued by a magnetic older girl named Suzanne. Evie, unsure of her place in the world and at odds with her childhood best friend, is quickly drawn into Suzanne's cult. The novel is told non-chronologically; Evie as an adult narrates the story of her past — the story that ends with an act of unimaginable violence. Despite the dark subject matter, the breezy, honest prose make it the perfect summer read.

I blazed through this book, but Evie's story stuck with me for days afterwards. Yes, the dark plot is unforgettable, but it was more than that. As a young person growing into herself and her body, Evie turns to the cult because they give her the attention she lacks. Her father is absent; her mother is distracted; her best friend is gone. Evie makes many comments about womanhood, about her body, about herself as a person that pushed me to reflect upon the many ways society can manipulate a young girl’s self-perception. If you haven’t read The Girls yet, you should — here are some of the quotes that spurred my thoughtful mood post-read:

The Girls by Emma Cline, $13, Amazon

The Girls by Emma Cline, $13, Amazon

"All that time I had spend readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you — the boys had spent that time becoming themselves."

The Girls, Emma Cline

"Girls are the only ones who can really give each other close attention, the kind we equate with being loved. They noticed what we want noticed."

The Girls, Emma Cline

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"So much of desire, at that age, was a willful act. Trying so hard to slur the rough, disappointing edges of boys into the shape of someone we could love. We spoke of our desperate need for them with rote and familiar words, like we were reading lines from a play. Later I would see this: how impersonal and grasping our love was, pinging around the universe, hoping for a host to give form to our wishes."

The Girls, Emma Cline

"Life a continuous backing away from the edge."

The Girls, Emma Cline

"That was part of being a girl — you were resigned to whatever feedback you'd get. If you got mad, you were crazy, and if you didn't react, you were a bitch. The only thing you could do was smile from the corner they'd backed you into. Implicate yourself in the joke even if the joke was always on you."

The Girls, Emma Cline

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"It was an age when I often conflated liking people with feeling nervous around them."

The Girls, Emma Cline

"Other people's admiration asked something of you. That you had to shape yourself around it."

The Girls, Emma Cline

"At that age, I was, first and foremost, a thing to be judged, and that shifted the power in every interaction onto the other person."

The Girls, Emma Cline

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"You wanted things and you couldn't help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong."

The Girls, Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline, $13, Amazon

Images: Giphy (3)