Cover Image: The Guest

The Guest

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Strangely, I'd never read Emma Cline until "The Guest." I was aware of all of the excitement around her debut novel, and I recall that she was one of the first people to be dubbed a truly great "millennial" writer. But still, I hadn't read her work until now.  I'd been missing out. She's a truly magnificent writer. 

"The Guest" tracks one young woman's odyssey around a beach town. She has little means or resources, except that she can read people very well. Importantly, she cannot return to New York; she must find a way to stay on the island. So she attaches herself to various other lonely and desperate people who provide food, shelter, and safety (and drugs and alcohol). It's a perfect beach read (though it's far from being light and fun); it just evokes that end-of-summer malaise and heaviness, as well as the unreal quality of a vacation town, just so well. 

I didn't particularly like the main character, nor relate to her. But she is written so well that I sympathized with her, and I felt that I understood her. And I definitely wanted better for her. Cline's writing style is spare, a bit detached, a bit dreamlike, a little bit haunting. It was, frankly, beautiful, with no sentences gone to waste. When the novel ended, I was actually a bit sad. I just felt so immersed in the story and the plot. I highly recommend it, and I'm going to go read her other work now.  

Edit: I forgot to add that I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Alex has always had to manipulate and lie to people to get by in life. She has never really had a real job, but has found a way to survive by using others. She feels like she has finally hit the jackpot when she meets Simon, a 50 something wealthy bachelor to her 22 years. She is invited to accompany him to his beautiful Long Island home for the summer, where she lives a pampered, privileged lifestyle, all be it short lived. Attending a party at another wealthy couples summer home, Alex oversteps and finds herself being handed a one way ticket back to the city. But does she really have to go back? She decides to wait out the week so she can get back in good with her ex-lover at his end of summer party and retain the ritzy lifestyle she has grown accustomed to.  As the days go on, Alex finds herself using and disposing of multiple unsuspecting victims in order to get by and survive the week. Her manipulations and deception spiral into a fast approaching climax! This was an exceptional novel that I completely devoured. It was a car crash that one cannot look away from… I gave this book a solid 5 stars.
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The Guest is great name for this book, as I felt like a guest in the mind of Alex, our protagonist who wanders around life hoping for some sort of safe landing. 

Alex is a young waif, who doesn’t seem to have specific plans in life, but wants to survive and will steal, connive, and give her body just to have one more shot at getting it right. She gets bounced from her older boyfriend’s house in the Hamptons, and instead of heading back to the city on the train, she decides to stay a week, and hope that her boyfriend cools off and she will resume the relationship. The problem is, she has no money, no place to stay and no plan with a dead phone and an ex-boyfriend harassing her over money she took from him.

The story follows Alex for a few days before Labor Day weekend. She needs to make it through until then as the house party at her boyfriends will be her ticket to get back into his good graces. Despite stealing his watch, she knows she can cover that and make it work. Her goal if there is one is to make it work this time.  

Alex is an intriguing character. She is so well drawn and aimless. She is modern, ruthless and wants what she wants. We are drawn to her because she is ruthless and can’t believe the things, she does to achieve her desires. Nothing it seems is off limits.

I read most of the book in one sitting, almost couldn’t put it down. At the end, after all she has endured, she literally marches into her triumph. But there is no reflection about the week, what it took from her and all the other people she engaged with. I guess the point is to reflect on the shallowness of her reality and know that these types of people exist. Like small fish that feed off whales.  

All in all, I think it is an interesting book. Well written and captures the tone of a young aimless girl beautifully. I just wish there was a bit more.
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Genre: Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: May 16, 2023

I enjoyed other novels by Emma Cline. “The Girls” centers on teenage girls in a commune in 1969. The commune leader is modeled after Charles Manson. It is basically the plot of the movie “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.” The film came out in 2019. The novel was published in 2016. Wonder if there is a connection. “Daddy,” published in 2000, held my interest with ten edgy slice-of-life tales exploring human nature.  
In 2023, “The Guest” will be coming out. The fact that I didn't enjoy this one surprised me. The novel is written as a character study with a fascinating protagonist, a pathological liar, and an expert grifter. Alex is in her early 20s. We get a good feel for her from the beginning. Her NYC roommates kick her out for not paying her share of the rent. Alex goes into hiding out on Long Island while evading a city boyfriend from whom she stole money.

When Simon, a wealthy older man, moves her into his beach house, she believes she has it made. When Simon kicks her out, she aimlessly walks around Long Island to wait for Simon's party on Labor Day. She believes that Simon will take her back once he sees her. In her usual state of self-interest, Alex lives with the help of a teenage boy who falls in love with her. The author expertly captures her apathy towards others. Cline even somehow manages to make Alex almost sympathetic. She is so lost and without a home that she bounces between men in the hopes of making a relationship with one who will provide for her. Cline ensures the reader that Alex is unaware that she might be capable of independently finding a way to live not involving sex.
With such a compelling narrative, I expected to be enthralled by the story. However, because the plot's theme is overused, the novel loses its appeal. The book ends abruptly, ruining the excellent tension I was experiencing while waiting to find out what would happen on Labor Day.  I was left wishing there was an epilogue. While "The Guest" is just as edgy as her other books, it lacks significance. Eventually, I started to wonder what the point of this story was. Is it researching the mentality of a sociopath? Is Alex really a sociopath, or is there some underlying trauma influencing her behavior? Either way, there is no denying Cline produces such strong writing that it took me a while to realize that the plot isn't worth getting invested in.  A shorter version of the tale, possibly a novella, with fewer repetitions would have been more effective.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! I really wanted to love this book as I have loved Emma Cline’s others, but it kind of fell short for me. I just wasn’t entirely sure what this book was trying to portray.

This book follows Alex, a younger girl who finds herself involved with some very different people. As much as she tries to fit in, she never quite manages to hit her mark. She spends time with strangers after ultimately being kicked out of the house of the man she is staying with. As she travels between a summer house of teens, a young girl she befriends and then a young, mentally unstable boy, I can’t quite figure out how to feel about her as a person. I spent most of the book feeling sorry for her and wanting to help her.

It is definitely a good quick read, but it is not my favorite from Emma Cline.
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3.5? Emma Cline creates the most specific, niche vibe every time she writes. I don’t know the words for it but it’s incredible at conveying a specific out of body feeling that has both a touch of glamor and feels unbelievably, for lack of better word, icky. I really enjoyed so much about this novel. I love the narration, the energy, the concept. I loved Alex even though she doesn’t let us know anything about her outside of the basics. We know virtually nothing of her before she went to “the city” We know how she makes money, we know she’s out on the streets now, we know Dom is out to get here and the reasons are blurry behind the narration. Alex will randomly tell a small antidote that cracks open a window into more of her past but quickly shuts it so she can push the narrative forward. It’s all very interesting and frustrating (in a charming way). 

The Guest is an enjoyable quick read but because of the narration, there is so much blank space to fill. It can be charming but as the story unfolds, I felt like all of the gaps grow larger and larger. 

I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil the story! I would def recommend trying this one out for yourself.
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It is important to note that the majority of the themes explored in this book deal with sensitive subject matters. My review, therefore, touches on these topics as well. Many people might find the subject matters of the book as well as those detailed in my review overwhelming. I would suggest you steer clear of both if this is the case. Please note that from this point forward I will be writing about matters which contain reflections on promiscuity, threats of violence, substance abuse, sexual exploitation of a minor, physical description of a minor in the context of sexual intimacy, financial insecurity, & others. 

I will preface this review by stating that the terminology I use might not be appropriate & should that be the case, I welcome being corrected. I will be using terminology which I am aware of to reflect the actions & career choices in this story but, should there be titles that are more sensitive or up-to-date from the moment of my writing to any moment in the future, I will revisit this review & edit them. 

Some books, such as this one, exist purely for a specific reader's pleasure. Objectively, Cline writes well. So well, in fact, that I lost track of time throughout my reading experience. It is easy to become immersed in this story even accounting for the fact that this story isn’t worth becoming immersed in. I do not mean to offend with this last sentence. I mean simply to state that for anyone who reads as I do & has read for as many years as I have, this plot does not constitute the ideal literary format & highlights its own flaws in a repetitive way making it so I had no choice but to keep in mind the reader who would salivate at the mouth every time Alex spoke about pain killers, luxury handbags, gratuitous sex, nipples, dollar bills, & the sandy beach of East Coast America. 

Alex is twenty-two years old & has found herself an avid enthusiast of the adult industry. I use the word enthusiast quite liberally given the fact that Alex expresses no form of common enthusiasm for anything except maintaining her clientele & thieving from every single person she comes across. This story poses an interesting premise because there is nothing to appreciate, empathize with, or enjoy about Alex & yet, even given the fact that this was the purpose of her character, she remains a void to mirror the holes in the hearts of men. She explains to the reader that she has not chosen to work as an escort—in the adult sex industry—because anything particularly traumatic occurred in her youth. She has simply chosen this path because it was something she chose to do. 

Throughout the course of this story, we watch as Alex maintains a disconnected stance in relation to everyone & everything around her. Certainly, this can work to the benefit of the book. There is no need for a character to be a garden of roses for the reader to be able to make their way through the story; this is evidenced by the acclaim given to Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights” (1847). This being said, Alex does not appear to be a person who is well-rounded in the realistic sense of the word. She has had experiences with other human beings, knows the value of currency, & understands how to barter social interactions for profit but, she doesn’t actually read as a person anyone might know. 

Alone, her traits & characteristics may be linked to individuals who reside in the non-fictional world. Alex is at once a person who values money but has no problem ignoring her physical needs, which money is necessitated to maintain. Therefore, leading her to rely on money when it is gifted but never earned. I would not want my comment to come across as shade towards people who work in the adult industry & therefore let me clarify, this comment is specific to Alex—a make-believe character. Alex has no issue with embarking on a journey with a man because he gave her a nice handbag. She has no problem stealing a large sum of money because she thinks it is her due—her gift. But, when she is behind on rent she does not think to seek other hours of employment to care for herself. 

Arguably, housing is part of the basic needs of everyone. The unfortunate turn of events which has increased the number of people who live in financial insecurity is staggering & a true crime against humanity given the absurd violence & devilish behaviour that we force upon those who are without a traditional home. Alex lives in a city where this is abundantly clear. For many individuals, the fear of homelessness has never been part of their reality. For those amongst us for whom it has, reading this book presented a curious dilemma. Should I set my feelings & experiences aside to simply accept that Alex was hard-done-by because Simon asked her to leave? Or should I feel annoyed that I read an entire book about a girl who chose the hard route rather than making any choices that would have helped her case? 

Why didn’t Alex try to get a part-time job while she was living in the city? Her roommates were very lenient with her until they finically could no longer carry the burden. It feels unkind to take advantage of other people who were faced with the same circumstances but who were trying their best to ensure that they & the other housemates were able to stay afloat. Everything I have said up until this point can certainly be taken with a grain of salt. My personal experiences make it very difficult for me to view this situation neutrally. I can appreciate that this review might appear to be overly personal & that some readers might be able to appreciate Alex at face value. As I said in the introduction of this critique, I am no such reader. 

Putting aside the fact that Alex relied on clients to remain financially secure rather than budgeting her money & properly scheduling her time, we are faced with several bizarre occurrences & a conclusion that sheds light on none of them. First of all, how much money did Alex steal from Dom? Did Dom ever catch up with her? Did he kill her? Did Simon go berserk after seeing Alex in his home? Why didn’t Lori remember Alex—it hadn’t been a week since she dropped her at the train station. How did Jack miraculously get Alex’s phone to work again when it’s common knowledge that you have to put your phone in rice immediately after water contact, not days following the incident, for the technique to work? What happened with Dana? What makes Alex such a horrible person to those around her? Are her tendencies a product of her boredom? 

I can forgive a story that gives me very little given I am habituated to Literary Fiction which requires of my brain its full attention & power. However, this story was a puddle masquerading as the sea. There was no rhyme nor reason for anything that took place & the main character was never given enough depth for the reader to grasp any sequence of events that might reveal the essence of the story. Was I meant to deduce that sometimes things happen & that’s why certain things happen? Why did it take Alex nearly a week to brush her teeth when she was bumming in other people’s mansions? How can you think yourself the product of physical wealth & neglect to shower, choosing instead to linger in a swimming pool or a hot tub with your eyes set on stealing sunglasses? 

Again, these comments aren’t meant to be taken generally, they are dedicated solely toward the main character. Throughout all of her escapades & in which we are meant to believe she is setting her mind to the task of finding a safe place to spend the night, she never jumps at the opportunity to be in a bathroom. I suppose this might be used to read into her person & how little she values anything other than property & possessions. However, I found it really gross to watch her steal sunglasses rather than check for a toothbrush in any of the bathrooms in the house. How would she think that this behaviour would be appealing to Simon? The man with the meticulous lifestyle? 

If I reflect on the story that I read I find myself wondering why it was worth writing. This is not a knock on the author—this is a question I pose every time I read a book, ever. In this case, I wonder why this series of events was worth making note of. For whom is this story for? Who gets a glimpse at the evasive & empty roaming of a woman in late August? Were we given more details regarding the situation at writ large, I might have felt that the plot was foaming at the bit with immersive lessons & tangible bits of relatability. Certainly, manly of us have been faced with a situation in which we had to choose; toothbrush or sunglasses? 

Yet, over the course of this story, nothing was very much worth noting as nothing really happened. After the first couple of chapters, it was already very apparent that Alex would do whatever Alex thought best, regardless if it was best or not. Why did Alex kidnap a child only to think about abandoning them rather than bringing them back to the nanny? Why was she not able to be in the presence of a person who had a sad life when all she did was spend time with men who led sad lives? Why was she not able to anticipate that Simon wouldn’t want her back at the house? Why did she flirt with Nicholas? Why, why, why, why.

None of my questions will ever be answered & that’s ok. This book is not for me. This book is for readers who enjoy a minimal glimpse of reality whilst simmering in the luxury provided to them in stories that glimmer & gleam like jewels & gems. This book is for readers who don’t ask many questions & are happy to read simply because a book is a book & they are unbothered by the rest. This book is for readers who enjoy a bit of nothing much in particular with a sprinkle of crime—criminal activity ranging from a bit of everything—but nothing so serious as to induce consequence. 

Ultimately, I applaud Cline for what she has produced. I read this entire book because it was well written & I was curious to know how she would conclude the story. I’m not upset to have read this book & I’m not upset that it didn’t end up being a book meant for me. I have in my mind the ideal reader & I know they exist in plenitude out in the world around us. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, & Emma Cline for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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I devoured The Guest, a spare novel told through the eyes of twenty-two-year-old Alex, who, seems to be an upscale escort, on vacation in a Hamptons like beach town with an art dealer twice her age. Alex, who has studied how to be an insider in worlds she wasn’t born into, is in the business of survival and self invention. This makes for a tense, fast-moving read. In scene after scene, Alex goes to parties she wasn’t invited to, pretends to know people she doesn’t, jumps into swimming pools when she shouldn’t, sabotaging and then saving herself with her quick thinking and her ability to weave the next story.

In the opening scene, she swims out too far in the ocean and almost drowns, but somehow manages to get herself back to shore with no one there to help her. Her boyfriend is busy working. She is just there as a prop, to please him, but that’s fine with her. She refers to herself in the third person, as if she’s a made up character, which, it turns out, she is: “That was the point of Alex—to offer up no friction whatsoever.”  

We don’t really know much about her past, except that there’s been trouble—people she’s alienated along the way. We get hints, like: “Of course she had not told Simon about Dom. She had not told Simon a lot of things. She’d learned early on that it was necessary to maintain some distance. Keep up a few untruths…And wasn’t it better to give people what they wanted?” 

What we are left with are her trenchant observations of the wealthy people she’s learned to impersonate and the people who orbit around them; the babysitters, chefs, children and others who are there to please. “People like Helen loved to display the artifacts of creativity as if that implicated her in the process.” 

Even though she tries to give people what she thinks they want, Alex shows cracks in her façade, popping tranquilizers that lead her to make careless mistakes, like accidentally scratching a valuable abstract painting by running her fingernail over its surface
Her cynical, world weary tone reminded me of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, if he was an Anna Delvey-like character, entirely self-invented. At the end of a party, she notes that “seemingly no one had fun, up until the very last minute, when everyone fell over themselves exclaiming how much fun the evening had been, so fun that they had to do it again very soon.” 

Emma Cline makes the reader work to fill in the blanks. Here, you get just a taste of a delicious morsel, which leaves you wanting more.
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It's the end of Summer and Alex is desperate to stay in Long Island and not return to NYC. She floats between men and women hoping to score a connection with someone who will keep her housed and fed. Alex is sort of a 
Patricia Highsmith style grifter but she has clearly lost her shine and "her touch."

As she circles the drain closer and closer,  you wonder where she came from and why she is the way she is - in many ways, we all know the answer. Alex is not alone, as everyone she connects with is a user of some sorts. This novel is a car crash, a dumpster fire, a true disaster in slow motion. We are all along for the ride and quickly turning the pages to find out what's next.

Emma Cline is a brilliant writer - there is no greater talent then to pull in the reader to care for a very unlikeable human. If you like contemporary commentary and true genius literature, The Guest is for you!
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I love Emma Cline's writing voice and in that way, this book does not disappoint.   That said, it wasn't for me.   And every book isn't for every reader, obviously, so take that with a grain of salt.  After a lot of thought, I think the problem for me is that this book feels like it's keeping the reader at an intentional arms' length throughout, never giving you enough of the protagonist to actually care about her.  Maybe that's a clever conceit:  Alex lives in a world where no one seems to care about anyone and certainly not about her, and by not caring about her, is the reader then thrust into the uncomfortable role of being yet one more person who feels irritated by Alex?  But Alex doesn't care about people, either, she cares about what she can take from people, and what she takes from us, the reader, is our time and attention with no actual pay-off for us.  Which works, metaphorically, but... I suppose now that I've realized that,  I might have been won over by it if the ending didn't flatly fizzle out for me, such an absolutely nothing ending that I had to flip back a page to make sure I hadn't missed an actual ending (which again reflects the character's life experience, I suppose, never getting closure?) I can't recommend this one, although I'll definitely pick up whatever Emma Cline writes next, and I have no doubt this book will find its audience, readers who don't mind the discomfort of what this book cleverly does (but I respect that she pulled it off!)
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A languorous, soporific, hallucinatory trip through the mind of a female con artist. I’ve been a fan of Emma Cline since her brilliant debut of The Girls and this one is just as good, if not better.

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Emma Cline is back, proving that The Girls wasn’t a one off, one of those debuts that strike gold on the first go around. Oh no, Cline is genuinely and hugely talented.
The way she writes – it has that certain mesmeric quality. Particularly effective with this novel, which is essentially a prolonged trainwreck sequence.
You’d think a novel that hinges entirely upon a shoulders of a not-especially likeable protagonist wouldn’t be so compelling and yet…you just can’t look away.
Maybe not quite a trainwreck, but the momentum is similar. It’s also kind of like one of those scenes where a character loses their footing and they pinwheel their arms as fast as they can trying to regain it and never quite do. Gravity always wins out.
That’s what Alex is doing, pinwheeling for her life. Not much of a life, one made of scrounging, using people, stealing, lying, manipulating, kind of like a perpetual low grade grift to stay afloat. One might make an argument that at twenty-two, she just doesn’t know any different, but then again, she had seen plenty in her short years. Mostly from working as a sort of prostitute/escort in the city, through associating with all manner of characters from upper echelons of society to bottom dregs. 
Fleeing one of the latter, a dreg that won’t let her go because she stole from him, Alex hitches a ride to high life with a man thirty years her senior and costs in luxury for a while until she screws that up too and gets booted out.
Determined to get back into the cushy life the man provided, she decides to stick around and win his affections back at the upcoming party. All she has to do is kill a few days.
Which turns out to be a surprisingly killer proposition for someone who’s short on funds, good graces, and ability to not f*ck up.
See, that’s sort of Alex’s specialty. Even if she means well, things just spin out when she’s around. And most of the time she’s either too drunk or too high to properly pilot herself.
So yeah, not an overwhelmingly sympathetic character and yet…
The way Cline writes her, you just can’t look away, as she leaps from frying pan into the fire, over and over, until the inevitable and stunningly rendered conclusion.
And underneath all that, there’s a simmering commentary on the wealth divide and class differential and people living in a dizzyingly stratified universe where people like Alex, essentially all service people of the world can easily and unnoticeable fall by the wayside as the elite continues to prosper in pampered unfathomable luxury.
What a terrific novel. As literary as you’d ever want, as well written as you can possibly wish for. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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I'm a huge Emma Cline fan (see my review of "Daddy" at But The Guest falls short for me--too much unnecessary stage business, banal dialogue, and unimpressive observations by the lead character. The writing feels rushed, and often without the hugely significant subtext found in her short stories and in The Girls. A disappointment for this reader, though I will eagerly read what comes next. (Also greatly enjoyed her short story, "White Noise," awhile back.
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This book made me feel many things as I went along. I am still wondering what it meant to me and what the author intended, but I like that because it makes the book memorable and unique. 

The story reminded me of how immortal and indestructible we feel when we are that young, as well as how wrong we are.  It really captured the mindset of a young woman without a life goal yet.  Sometimes I thought that the details shared were too much or why did the author include that somewhat disturbing detail, but it all combines into this immersion into the chaos of her life.  The ending was very interesting as well, because you start to question everything.

I forget many books quickly after reading them but this will stay with me.
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I’ve always found Emma Clines books to be compelling and challenging and this book was no exception. Her writing creates a very tense atmosphere that you can’t help but be entranced by. It’s hard to root for any one character and this but that often makes the best books.
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To start as always, thank you to NetGalley for this arc! As someone who really enjoyed The Girls by Emma Cline, I really was looking forward to this one. However, I really feel like The Guest fell flat for me. This book felt like it was dragging the entire time. There was just no uptick or climax at any point. Alex, our main character, is just so incredibly unlikeable it’s astonishing. I just felt like there was zero point to this story. I bounced between boredom and secondhand embarrassment for the entirety of this story. Cline just really failed to draw me in with this one. Alex may be the type of character that will attract people who enjoy a morally grey type of character, but even there she lacks. She’s a drifter with no redeeming qualities and spends the entire novel making terrible choices. I hate to say it, but The Guest definitely was not for me.
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The Guest introduces us to 22 year old Alex, a girl who makes a living off of using men. They, who are usually middle-aged and have wives they’re stepping out on or have children older than she is, fund her high-end lifestyle. In return, she is anything they want her to be. Alex is a master chameleon, changing herself to manipulate situations and people that she think might benefit her, stealing money, things, and drugs from them as she goes. In her wake, however, is a sea of people who, at best, don’t want anything to do with her, and at worst, will stop at nothing to track her down seeking retribution. 

When her boyfriend dumps her and tries to send her back to the city from his swanky home in Long Island where she’s been staying, she panics. The city is full of people she has wronged, betrayed, or simply irritated. She doesn’t want to give up this life she’s manipulated her way into, this version of herself she has crafted. And so, she doesn’t leave. Instead, she decides that the boyfriend will take her back— he must— and that she just needs to give him time. A week, to be exact. All Alex has to do is survive on Long Island for a week until she goes back to her charmed life of being the pretty girl on a middle-aged man’s arm. How will she manage to this? By doing what she does best: reading people to understand how to get what she wants from them, and then adapting herself to become it. 

I struggled with this book— it’s difficult to like a book while disliking the main character. I found Alex to be incredibly unsympathetic and I wasn’t able to relate to her at all… but I think that was the point. More than anything, I pitied her. Her life wasn’t this romanticized notion of glitz and glamour. More often than not, it was sleeping in a stranger’s bed, rifling through medicine cabinets, and changing her clothes in a beach bathroom. She viewed others as tools to use to get what she wanted, which is, in my opinion, a really sad way to look at people. But what made me the most sad about Alex was how muddled her sense of self seemed— how can you truly be happy if you’re always pretending to be someone you’re not? And once you’ve been doing it a long time, do you even remember what your true identity is?

Overall, I’d give this book 4 stars. While I didn’t like the main character, I know I wasn’t necessarily supposed to. It was well written, and stirred up complicated emotions for me about my perceptions of a ‘good life’, and the idea that my opinions on this aren’t universal— even if I don’t agree with Alex’s way of life, maybe it’s okay that our outlooks are different.
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I found the character of Alex very compelling as she felt like someone everyone had come across in their life. Alex as a protagonist made my perspective as a reader different than other books because I didn’t find myself rooting for her, but I did want to keep seeing what would happen next with her! By no means is Alex a villain, but she’s definitely no hero. This book kept me hooked until the very end! Great beach read!!
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Moody & atmospheric. 
Creates palpable tension as the story unfolds. 
The storytelling was almost unsettling yet compelling.
First that I've read of the author--the writing was captivating.

With great thanks to NetGalley & Random House Publishing for this e-ARC!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the advance reader copy of THE GUEST by Emma Cline.  I couldn't stop reading this book once I started.  It was written in a very hypnotic fashion about a young woman, Alex,, spending the summer on Long Island, the guest of Simon, a very wealthy man she met in the city.  Slowly you come to see she's no innocent, but is actually on the run from someone she stole a lot of money from.  The suspense in the book builds like dread as she gets asked to leave by her boyfriend after an incident at a party, and proceeds to wind her way through the affluent community, hanging on to various fringe groups of people.  In her mind, if she can make it to Labor Day, she plans to go back to her older boyfriend and win him back at his annual Labor Day barbeque...if only she can make it.  The book was a fascinating piece about an imposter down to her barbecue.  I really enjoyed the compulsive pace of the book, the characterization of the people Alex encountered, and the overall mood which was set at the beginning of the story and repeatedly highlighted in every scene she went through.
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