In the summer of 1969, Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed – the empty days stretch out before her under the California sun. Then she notices two very different girls wearing short, dirty dresses, flashing cheap rings, their hair long and unkempt. At the centre is Russell and his ranch in the hills, rumours of sex and teen runaways. Looking back years later, Evie wonders if she could possibly have had any warning of what would happen or if she was too enthralled by the girls to realise that her life would change forever. Emma Cline’s The Girls is at times terrifying with its echoes of similar real life horrors and its underlying message of ‘this could happen to someone you know’. Chatto & Windus, R305.