Emma Cline published her first novel, The Girls, in 2016. The novel was a finalist for a National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the First Novel Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and it won the Shirley Jackson Award. Cline then published Daddy, a short story collection, and her next novel, The Guest, releases this May. Cline’s books feature powerful theme like feminism, family dynamics, sexual identity and exploration, girlhood, and many others. If you’re a fan of Emma Cline, here are 8 books you should read.
How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
This hilarious but poignant coming of age novel follows fourteen year old Johanna as she reinvents herself. Still ashamed from an embarrassing moment on local TV, she becomes Dolly Wilde, a fast-talking, heavy drinking, Goth hero who is also a full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. By sixteen, she’s deep in the world of sex, drugs, hard liquor, and rock music. But Johanna still wonders if she’s truly built the person she wants to be.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Ingrid is a brilliant poet now in prison for murder. Her daughter, Astrid, journeys through Los Angeles foster homes, each one feeling like an entirely different planet with its own rules, dangers, and lessons. This journey turns into an odyssey of redemption and self-discovery for Astrid.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Twenty-two year old Tess is new to New York City and gets a job for one of Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurants. She’s quickly thrown into the world of champagne, cocaine, love, and lust. In a chaotic and enchanting way, Tess learns to navigate the glitzy, gritty, and punishing life she’s chosen for herself.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
This coming-of-age story explores the two sides of Brooklyn: the beautiful, brilliant, hopeful side and the dark, dangerous, maddening side. August and her friends grew up learning about life, their community, the good and the bad while strolling the streets of Brooklyn. Years later, it is evident how friendship, no matter how fleeting, unites people for a lifetime.
Boy Parts by Eliza Clark
Irina has been exiled from the art world and on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job. She becomes obsessed with taking explicit photographs of the men she persuades to model for her. When she’s invited to showcase her work at a gallery, it’s a chance to revive her career and pull herself out of the rut she’s fallen into. But the news sends Irina into a self-destructive spiral centered around her obsessive relationship with her best friend and a new man she’s met.
Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
Cleo is twenty-four when she leaves England and arrives in New York City. As her student visa is nearing its expiration, she meets Frank, a successful man who is twenty years her senior. Everything Cleo Lacks, Frank has in excess. He offers the chance for Cleo to be happy, paint freely, and get a green card. But their impulsive marriage has monumental effects on their lives and the lives of the people around them.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Edie is trying to navigate life in her twenties as she shares a subpar appointment, clocking in and out of her office job, and making all the wrong sexual choices. Then she meets Eric, a man with a family who has an open marriage arrangement with his wife. Soon, Edie is unemployed and invited into Eric’s home, but not by Eric. She quickly becomes the only role model Eric’s adopted daughter Akila has, probably as the only Black woman Akila knows. Luster is a striking and sharp depiction of a young woman trying to make sense of herself in a tumultuous time, and the unexpected influences that help her along the way.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
This collection of short stories explores the lives of different women in modern America. These women differ in social and marriage statuses, and have lived vastly different lives. All of the stories, however, give voice to unforgettable women and the haunting experiences they’ve had.