Quick Book Reviews: Marisha Pessl, Lauren Oliver, and Emma Cline*

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Quick book reviews: Night Film by Marisha Pessl, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and The Girls by Emma Cline

* I was fortunate to receive a copy of The Girls via NetGalley and Chatto & Windus, but all opinions are my own *

Night Film (2013, Hutchinson) - Marisha Pessl (4 stars)
This book had been on my radar for years after initially being drawn in by the cover artwork for one of its early editions. Night Film follows a disgraced reporter investigating the supposed suicide of the daughter of a cult horror film director. That description is a good start really, isn't it? This book is spooky and haunting, with multimedia aspects including news report clippings, online profiles, and sections ripped out of notebooks. It was also released alongside an app which I didn't use whilst reading, but apparently expands more upon these articles. Even without the app this book was full of information, with an incredibly deep-reaching story that goes on for over 600 pages. I don't really read a lot of 'horror' books (although I would call this much more of a mystery-horror than straight up horror as all of the awful things happen behind closed doors) but this has really lingered with me weeks after finishing. A very original story, well-executed, and one I didn't want to end.

The Girls* (2016, Chatto & Windus) - Emma Cline (3 stars)
This book has been getting attention from everyone, from professional reviewers to national magazines to Youtube beauty bloggers. It adds to the Manson-mania that seems to have been happening over the past two years, including the recent YA release My Favourite Manson Girl (also marketed as American Girls) and the TV show Aquarius. The Girls is basically a fictional retelling of the Manson cult. Our protagonist Evie lives a simple life with her mother in the 1970s until she meets Suzanne and the other girls. They flock around their charismatic leader, Russell, and live a life of free love, free (see: stealing) food, and free thought. Predictably, due to the Manson parallels, things start to go horrifically and violently wrong. The atmosphere of this book is compelling and hazy, and also probably the thing I liked the most about it. Cline does a wonderful job of transporting the reader back to the 1970s and creates a realistic voice for her young narrator that didn't feel patronising or fake. However I didn't find the story incredibly compelling and didn't feel like I had really experienced much by the end. The inclusion of a separate story told by a middle-aged Evie as a sort-of framing device also seemed a bit unnecessary. 

Delirium (2011, Hodder) - Lauren Oliver (4 stars)
A young adult dystopian read to itch that part of my brain once again, and I was pleasantly surprised by this one! Delirium is set in a world where love is illegal and must be cured. Yes, I know, stick with me on this one. When girls/boys reach eighteen they go through 'the procedure' which makes love, basically, impossible and they are matched with a boy/girl with whom they will live out the rest of their lives (homosexuality is basically eradicated through this too, hence the boy/girl pairings). Lena is our narrator and ninety-five days before her procedure, she meets Alex. Chaos and teen-romance ensues. Despite the cheesy premise, I bloody loved this book. It was funny, left lots of space in the future books for world expansion, and I really liked Lena as a YA protagonist. The second installment of the series, Pandemonium, is already downloaded and ready to go on my iPad.

M x

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