Cover Image: The Guest

The Guest

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Member Reviews

this one is an absolute fever dream in the best way possible. it’s like a good 90s indie movie that leaves you sad, but in a beautiful way.

• unreliable narrator
• unlikable characters
• constant plot suspense
• well-paced, beautiful writing
• ending that will leave you speechless

Alex was incredibly unlikable & unreliable, but I found myself rooting for her despite the anxiety she gave me. I loved the ending; it was unexpected and left me thinking about it for awhile.

this is the first book I’ve read by emma & I will absolutely be reading more. daddy is on my shelf + I’m itching to pick it up next.
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I love Emma Cline's style of writing and I read The Guest in one day. I don't know how to describe the main character Alex - is she a grifter, a hustler? She's asked to leave the summer home of the man she's been staying with and we follow her path as she tries to stay in Long Island in hopes for a second chance. I couldn't put it down, I was fascinated by Alex and her plottings, but the ending left me scratching my head.

This would be a good beach read, but I think you are either going to love it because of the beautiful writing or you are going to get the final pages and be mad at the time you've invested. 

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for this ARC.
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Alex is a drug addled, young woman from New York who manipulates and cons her way through life. She meets Simon and goes to stay at his coastal home for the summer. Through a series of sketch events Alex is no longer welcome to stay with Simon and since she doesn’t have a home to go back to she wanders from place to place and person to person using whatever means necessary to stay in the town long enough to surprise Simon at his annual Labor Day party. 

I was such a huge fan of The Girls and I had high hopes for this book, but I’m not really sure how I feel about this one. I was a little bit confused by Alex and it was difficult for me to get inside of her head and make sense of the decisions that she made. I was engaged with the story as I read and the mystery of Dom kept me wanting to find out what might happen but then I was very let down by the ending. This could just be because I have a personal preference of books having a wrapped up ending and this ending was certainly not wrapped up. It left me with so many questions and a bit unsatisfied with the abrupt close to the story. If you are okay with a more open-ended, vague finale to a story then I think you will enjoy this book as I did enjoy it up until the end.
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I really liked The Girls, so was excited to read this. I loved the setting and anxiety-inducing tension of this story about a burnt out sugar baby wandering the Hamptons. I was shouting, "Alex, no!" the entire time. I had to sit a few days with the ending, but now I think it's great and I loved it.
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A waking nightmare that made me feel bad every moment I was reading it. Absolutely loved it. I want 100 more books like this.
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every once in a while, you have to decide you're going to love a book based on literally no evidence. and it worked!

very soon into this book, i had to turn and say the words "oh, i have a very good feeling about this one" aloud.

it was so consuming and intense that i often found myself physically putting it down and looking away from the page. not reading wasn't enough, i had to remove myself.

i adored the beginning but wish it stayed as slow and eerie — the pace by the end was a little too thrillery for me but still excellently written and almost too real!

brilliant choices like how little we know about our protag mirrored in her life will stick with me for a while. excellent!
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I really liked The Girls by Emma Cline abd this book did not disappoint.  Alex is a 22 year old grifter/escort.  She needs to get out of the city-Dom a client is after her after she cleaned out his money and drugs.  An older guy starts dating her and invites her to go out East with him for August.  After a pool incident at a party, he throws her out, but she is sure she can worm her way back in.
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If you need to fully understand a protagonist or feel a sense of closure in order to like a book, this is probably not the book for you. But, if you can get on board with ambiguity, anxiety and bad behavior in exchange for a gripping story with insightful social critique, I highly recommend The Guest.

Our protagonist, Alex, is an escort who begins the book unhoused and adrift in an unnamed seaside community after her wealthy boyfriend, Simon, kicks her out of his beach house. The rest of the novel follows Alex through a tense week of grifting her way through the community in hopes of outrunning her problems and winning back Simon (and the financial security he offers).

Suspense accumulates throughout this novel, feeling both inevitable and completely untenable by the story’s conclusion. I found Alex’s insistence that everything would turn out okay despite her own intuition and all evidence to the contrary to be compelling and very human, and I enjoyed Cline’s decision to parallel her delusion with Jack’s in the latter half of the book and highlight that the abnormality isn’t in Alex’s ability to fool herself (we all do), but instead in the precariousness of her circumstances and in the way her heightening desperation repels the privileged people around her. I liked that Alex wasn’t a hero, that it wasn’t just a story of a woman cowed by wealth and misogyny. Alex grapples with her own destructive tendencies, often harming people whose circumstances aren’t that much more stable than her own rather than the wealthy people who feel more deserving of her contempt.

As an unapologetic fan of beach reads, I’d pitch this to potential readers as “like a beach read, but better”. Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the advanced reader copy.
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The novel is arresting at first, the prose style smooth and controlled with sparks of pure narrative brilliance. The protagonist's voice has this unputdownable quality, and I made it quickly to the end of the book. But ofcourse, a 'page-turner' wasn't what I was looking for from this novel, nor what I'm sure Emma Cline wishes to create. I simply couldnt understand why the jacket/description isn't forthcoming about the fact that the novel's protagonist is a (really well written) sociopathic sex-worker; maybe this was an unfortunate marketing/positioning decision on the part of the publishers who might have tried to 'slot' this book--clearly not something an author of such an intriguing/ occasionally disturbing novel would want. I imagine a better version of this book--Emma cline is certainly capable of it--in which the novel chooses to lean into the more sociopathic elements of protagonist, rather than trying to half-heartedly 'slot' her too, the terrifically dissatisfying ending is a symptom rather than the problem.
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I kinda love how this summer is the summer of girl grifter books!

The Guest is the perfect read for lounging by someone else's pool with a cocktail in hand. Just don't get tol caught up in the lifestyle because it sounds exhausting and messy. Fun to read, but the level of cringe I experienced was ridiculous.
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Eerie from start to finish - but in the best way possible - “The Guest” is a 5-star read for me! As much as I was excited to read it, I was a little nervous as “The Girls” struggled to captivate me. 

I can’t say the same about this book: I was hooked from the very beginning. Normally, I’d want to know more about the main character’s past to better understand their actions and logic, but that wasn’t necessary here. Cline wrote Alex with such intrigue that her mysterious history only makes you want to read faster. And despite never getting too much in terms of backstory, what you do comprehend is that Alex’s past was complicated, and her present grifting is both a lifeline and a lifestyle. 

Will she survive? Will the people she’s pulling into her web find her out? An anti-hero to the core, Alex’s future is left up to pure chance and …(SPOILER ALERT) to the reader. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC!
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I loved this book. I have read some of Emma Cline’s pervious work and this impressed me just as must. Cline’s descriptive writing helps to lay the scene and tension in a way that keeps you drawn in. This book felt gritty in the best way.
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Book: The Guest
Author: Emma Cline
Pub Date: May 16, 2023

The description of the book says it’s impossible to look away from and it really is. I can’t say it’s that great but I kept reading. This story will draw you along. Something about it just draws you in and before you know it you’ve finished reading it. It’s a very simple story about survival and doing what it takes to get by day by day. I wish I could better explain how it feels to read this book…..the atmosphere it creates. You will feel like Alex just trying to survive each moment of each day and not really feeling anything. It’s not even 200 pages so it’s a quick read. I will say the whole phone charging thing wore thin. Was the phone broke or not? And the ending. I would love to discuss but then it would be a spoiler. 

Thank you Random House Publishing Group-Random House and NetGalley for this sneak peak! Publication date is May 16, 2023.
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3.5/4 stars

This is the perfect book to take to the beach; its short, intriguing, and leaves you wanting more

I started this book trying to comprehend everything that was going on but quickly realized that this is a book that you need to read without a quizzical thought in your brain. Once you clear your mind and get into the head of Alex (our drifter secretive main character) the story comes to life. 

I particularly enjoyed the short length but long chapters, each felt like its wholly own portion of Alex’s life despite the book being set only between a few days. Cline clearly develops her character making this peculiar person believable and unique. The more I learned about Alex the more I wanted to follow her story. 

Unfortunately, the ending was a little bit of a let down which is why this is more of a 3.5 star rather than a 4 star.  I left the story feeling unsatisfied… although I’m sure that’s exactly what Cline wanted us to feel, a direct reflection of Alex.
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Delighted to include this title in the May edition of Novel Encounters, my regular column highlighting the month’s most anticipated fiction for the Books section of Zoomer, Canada’s national culture magazine. (see column and mini-review at link)
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The "Guest" in Emma Cline's latest novel is Alex, a 22 year old grifter doing her best to get by when her much older boyfriend decides he's done with her (for good? for the time being? for the week? It's unclear...) and has an assistant drop her off with a one way ticket back to the city and off the swanky side of Long Island. It wasn't totally out of the blue, he had a few reasons and/or he may have just decided they were over. 

We don't know her background. We do know that she's alienated everybody she knows and carries everything she owns around with her in a bag (every time she pulled another change of clothes, shoes, toiletry, etc. I cracked up and marveled at just how big this bag must have been). She gets in situations, she gets out of them, she's trying to last a week until she can make an appearance at older boyfriend's annual Labor Day party. 

The writing is solid, evocative of a sultry summer with damp clothing, beach fires, sand in all the crevices. The class disparity is evident, Alex floating amongst the uber-rich who could't care less about her. She only has her big bag while they have everything and don't realize how good they' have it. I get it. We're supposed to be in Alex's corner. I couldn't go there. She's not a good person, she uses everybody she meets, and there's not enough history to muster up any empathy for her circumstances. Her last mark was especially wrong. A 17-year old? Come on.

My thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the advance reader copy.
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I really wanted to like this book. I devoured THE GIRLS by Emma Cline but this one just didn't hit the same way. Sad to say I didn't finish this book which, is not something I normally do. It might be just not the right time for me and maybe I'll pick it up again later, but probably not.
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Not my typical genre, but I enjoyed the story. I would like to hear a little bit more of her backstory. The few stories seemed out of character so I would have liked a little more understanding about what brought her to this summer. I have recommended it to a coworker who is more the demographic (22 y o).
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What an incredible ride! I love when I read a book that features a character that so fully embodies charming chaos, and Alex, the protagonist, did that for me. She is a 22-year-old hustler who is very savvy at collecting rich men but also has poor impulse control and a high self-destructive streak. She has already worn out her welcome in many NYCs fancier establishments and with her roommates. She lines up a man who whisks her off to the shore, away from all her troubles (including an ex chasing her down for something she did), or so she thinks. But as the saying goes- "wherever you go, there you are," and she finds herself doing the same things in the new locale and gets kicked out of her older lover's home a week before his annual party, which is the talk of the town.  Alex decided to lay low, spend the week hiding, reappear at the party, and win back her ex's heart, convinced he would help her out of her jam. Utter fantasy.

I really enjoyed the writing. It was dark, dangerous, propulsive, cringy, and exciting.  

This book had the perfect amount of delicious wickedness, unexpected tenderness, and utter calamity for me to eat it up in a day. If you want something wild and unhinged, it would be a fantastic summer vacation read.
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𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁 by Emma Cline⁣
This spare, elegantly written novel is both a thriller and a brilliant feminist commentary on the lives of sex workers. Alex is a twenty-two year old woman who has found herself in the Hamptons with no money and no prospects. It’s fascinating that neither the Hamptons or the words sex worker are ever actually used in this book. ⁣
The author does a masterful job at building a growing sense of dread over Alex’s predicament. A bad character named Dom is chasing Alex for what appears to be a large sum of money she owes him, yet we never get to see more of him than texts or brief phone calls.⁣
Emma Cline chose to take a huge risk here by not giving Alex a backstory. We don’t know exactly why she ended up in “the city” (New York but never mentioned!) as a sex worker and then stranded in the Hamptons at summer’s end. It doesn’t matter. I was riveted.⁣
Class divisions are sharply skewered here - the Hamptons staff are almost invisible yet ever-present and the wealthy are truly in another world of their own. Children are cared for by nannies and spend no time with their parents.⁣
As an aside, I applaud Ms. Cline for gaining some agency over her own life and writing by not shaming her young main character for her sex work. In real life, the devious Boies Schiller law firm (Harvey Weinstein’s defenders) had viciously tried to make public Ms. Cline’s sexual history in a misogynistic lawsuit filed by her ex-partner. Ms. Cline triumphed as she should have. ⁣
Alex might be a grifter but I sympathized with her. The ending was absolutely explosive. Highly recommend this suspenseful, broody and dark novel. 
(𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘙𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘷𝘪𝘢 𝘕𝘦𝘵𝘎𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺. 𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘰𝘸𝘯.)
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