Cover Image: The Guest

The Guest

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Member Reviews

A mesmerizing, intimate, and unputdownable story of a young resourceful woman. Even though it's character driven and slower paced, the writing was addicting.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an advance copy of this title in exchange for honest feedback. A perfect summer read, tense and full of summer beach vibes all the way through.
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This book took me a long time to get through, which was surprising to me because it was fairly short and I also loved Emma Cline's book The Girls.  But for some reason, this one didn't wow me the way that one did.  The ambiguity of it all didn't hit the mark for me, and for some of the book I found myself thinking, "What is the point?"  Even so, I grew to care for the main character and I wanted things to work out for her.  While this wasn't a bad book, per se, I struggled to enjoy it.
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Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book unsettled me in a way that almost had me putting it down -- how bad are we supposed to feel for Alex? Is she sympathetic -- this girl who is clearly down on her luck but also seems to derive joy from making other people's lives harder because of her mess? I don't know that I found her particularly compelling, only unsettling as she somehow drew out the cruelty of everyone around her to match her own. 

3 stars.
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i think i’m in the minority but i found this book very boring and overhyped. i have friends that loved it and i just can’t see what they see in it.
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I have just finished The Guest by Emma Cline and I just love this author’s works!  She pulls you in early and you can’t stop reading this story!  You have a feeling that there’s a chance this can’t end well, but it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion & you just can’t stop watching!  Or reading in this case!
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Am I the only person that can’t make up for the ending? I’m so confused that I don’t know how to conclude this story. But this book indeed has such an intriguing concept. The writing feels so raw, an unusual exploration. So even when it wasn’t an easy read, I was bewitched until the end.
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This is my first book by Emma Cline. I’m not sure how it compares to her other work, but I really loved this. Alex is a master manipulator who lives her life essentially giving people what they want in order to survive. She makes a misstep at a party, and her subsequent decision leaves her stranded on Long Island for a week, scrambling to get by.

She hops from stranger to stranger, grifting non-stop along the way. I was captivated because her idea for redemption was such a bad one that I had to know what happened next.

The writing and characterization were so anxiety-inducing for me. Cline’s writing is able to convey a low-thrum panic the entire time, which is excellent. Highly recommend this one if you love unreliable characters who make bad decisions.
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From the very first pages of The Guest, we are caught up in Alex’s story, following her along as she moves from place to place, trying to escape some kind of mishap, while still delaying her return to a man named Simon, who will soon be hosting a Labor Day party.

She is a fascinating character who slides into various places without making her presence really known. She is sneaky, moving along and keeping her secrets without much effort. She has a true talent for staying out of sight or on the edge of whatever is happening.

We keep wondering what her plan is, and how she will find her way back to where she wants to be.

The story ends in a very tentative way, and we are still wondering. An intense tale that held my interest throughout.
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This was an absolute blast too and a rare one day read me. It felt like a train ride where you were either going to pull into the station safely or end up crashing and burning. Alex felt very much like a girl I’ve encountered in the past or a compilation of people I’ve known. To me, to relate the character to people or personas, you’ve known in your life, is the sure sign that the author has succeeded with the character development. 

Additionally, the setting was an extra treat for me as it took place on Long Island, which is where I’m from and spend my summers.
Thank you to Random House Publishing eig Group and NetGalley for the ARC.
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This was a one day read for me! I just couldn’t stop.
Alex is a young woman scraping by using whatever she can to survive.  My stomach was in knots following her exploits.
I definitely recommend grabbing this one, although Alex is not the most likable person. Some will also be turned off by the ending, but I absolutely loved it!
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This was really well written and I loved the setting of Long Island. Emma Cline evoked the people and their attitudes so well. I found Alex so interesting, I think because I could never behave the way she did (who could?!). Her lifestyle was so insecure and unstable. It frustrated me at times. A decent sultry summer read.
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Thank you to Net Galley, the author, and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Emma Cline is unquestionably a talented writer. That was the big takeaway I had from reading her previous novel, The Girls. And yet, as was the case back in 2016, her books just don't fully work for me. No one creates atmosphere quite like her. Her characters are questionable, morally gray, never someone you're fully rooting for. I'm here for it. I love a flawed protagonist. And the whole "no plot, just vibes" lit fic sub-genre she writes within? Tends to be the sort of writing I gravitate towards.

But it took me a relatively long time to become invested in this story. I imagine that was because of the way it was presented. We're never fully clued into all of the details surrounding the "mystery" (if you could even call it that) at the heart of this book. Layers of it are (strong emphasis needed here) slowly revealed to us as we go. But there's no real closure. The conclusion is about as open-ended as you can get. 

When I was first reading this, I didn't even know how I could explain what it was about. But, once I got there, I was in it. There were parts of this that were intentionally repetitive. Essentially, we're following Alex, a twenty-two year old grifter, who spends about a week dodging a dangerous person from her past and putting all of her hope in her plan to reconnect with Simon, her most recent (wealthy, well-connected) "ex" (if you could even call him that). As she does so, she gloms onto whoever is within reach, getting whatever use she can out of them until moving onto her next target. This includes, but is not limited to, a small child, teenagers, service workers, etc. We see the pattern time and time again. And in almost every single case, each person who crosses her path is worse off for it.

I honestly feel like I might have enjoyed more had it been told in first person, directly through Alex's eyes. And while I can appreciate Cline's writing (and assume she has reasons for the choices made throughout in regards to POV and how it ends), I was left wanting just a bit more from it.
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We stan a messy woman! This story so so chaotic is the absolute best way. Every decision made me so uncomfortable, I was never sure how far Alex would go in her quest to remain on the island which kept me on edge from start to finish in only the way a really well written book can. 

The Guest is reminiscent of Play it as it Lays in it's examination of a messy woman who refuses to conform to what society expects. Alex is not a particularly likeable or sympathetic character a first glance but I still found myself rooting for her and hoping she would find why she needed. A great book from start to finish.
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Emma Cline is an author whose sentence level writing I adore, but whose previous books haven’t quite landed with me. The Guest takes place in a single week in which 22-year-old Alex makes a mistake that gets her exiled from her rich (much) older boyfriend Simon’s Hamptons house just before his annual Labor Day party. Rather than return to the city and have to deal with the consequences of another mistake with another man, Alex decides to float through the week, surviving as best she can before showing up at Simon’s party in an attempt to reconcile. The writing in this novel is hypnotic and I felt lulled by Cline’s shimmering prose, even as Alex’s antics horrified and baffled me. While I’m not sure what my final take on this book is, I found it to be stylish, engaging, and ultimately more successful than The Girls. Reading it in tandem with The Odyssey was also a fun experience, and I’m nurturing a half-baked theory that The Guest is a haze, millennial reimagining of Homer’s epic poem. Read this if you like exceptional prose and don’t mind frustrating characters. I found The Guest to be particularly compelling on audio.
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Curious read. The writing was propulsive, even when nothing was really happening. It contained 2 things I personally dislike in books - descriptions of substance use and sex with a minor. A lot of this felt gross and overall I left feeling anxious. Neither a ringing endorsement nor an anti-recommendation… you’ll just have to decide for yourself.
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It's rare for me to read a book about virtually nothing and still find myself flipping page after page, but that's exactly what happened when I read "The Guest" by Emma Cline. The story follows Alex, a drifter who moves from house to house on the beaches of Long Island, as she tries to figure out what she intends to do with her life. She is fleeing an ex and has no job and nowhere to live. As she wanders from situation to situation, she encounters people who have an impact on her life, good or bad. 

Alex is a fascinating individual who thrives in the gray areas of life. She is lonely and must rely on the generosity of others to survive. Emma Cline's portrayal of her delightfully flawed character feels authentic. She writes with staggering empathy, which allows Alex to continue to be likable despite her many bad decisions. "The Guest" is definitely a book I would recommend to others.
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The Guest follows Alex, a young woman who finds herself unwelcome on the East End of Long Island after a social blunder at a party with her older, wealthy boyfriend. With nothing to her name but a broken cell phone and mid-tier people skills, Alex goes on a journey that seems to float between reality and a ghostly haze. Cline's writing captures the sun-blasted dunes and the intense atmosphere of Long Island's elite, creating a stunning if not unnerving backdrop.

I found it super challenging to feel any sympathy for or connection to Alex. While her ability to move effortlessly through her world should have intrigued me, I was rolling my eyes. Alex seemed like a cipher, lacking emotional depth that would have made her more relatable.I just didn't understand this girl's motives at all and so I wasn't really invested in her journey. I also found this book to be a bit of a snooze at times, just drifting aimlessly. I wanted the stakes to be higher, the tension to be palpable, but instead, the narrative floated along just like Alex, occasionally punctuated by moments of destruction.

That being said, Cline is a talented writer and I did come around to the book by the end. While this was not my favorite read recently, it was a good summer book and made for good entertainment at the pool.

In the end, The Guest is a novel that offers glimpses of brilliance but just didn't fully hook me!

Thanks so much to Random House Publishing as well as NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
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Deeply uncomfortable in a way that is really fascinating. I did not love The Girls so I went in cautious, having been intrigued by the synopsis. It's a really cool character study about folks whom I do not want to spend any time with.
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Alex is a guest… to the many different people she encounters. Because she never stays for long. Most recently, she’s been mooching off a wealthy older man, Simon, who buys her fancy things and lets her enjoy his beautiful home and everything it has to offer. Alex is an expert at becoming exactly the type of girl a man desires, molding to their specific type. When Simon breaks things off with her because she has caused a few issues, Alex is in denial and hangs around, planning to win him back at his Labor Day party a week later.

She spends her time drifting among other people, blending in to seem like she belongs. Although she doesn’t have any money, she always seems to get what she needs, through manipulation, flirtation, and posing as someone she’s not. She’s avoiding other long standing issues, like owing money on an old apartment and stealing from a scary ex-boyfriend who keeps calling. You never know what move Alex is going to make next.

Just like Alex, this book is enthralling, people-smart, and innovative. I was quickly drawn in to Alex’s world and strongly pulled to return to the story when I had to put it down. I have almost nothing in common with Alex and what she fills her days with to get by (extreme lying, manipulation, prostitution) and yet her view of the world and astute observations ring so true and relatable.

Emma Cline is a master as writing such tiny, realistic details that caused me to lose myself in the story. So much of it feels like a dream, and I’m floating through the motions Alex sets into place with her decisions. Alex isn’t a particularly likable MC, but I really felt a kinship with her and rooted for her throughout. At times, the book feels like a slow motion train wreck because it feels impossible that things can keep working out for Alex-they have to go wrong at some point! And of course they do, but not always in the way I expected. I so enjoyed experiencing this book, written at a perfect pace to push things along.

That’s why I was incredibly let down by the ending. I’m not even sure I can rightfully call it an ending, the book just stops. The lack of any feeling of closure was (forgive me for saying it) so lame. My brilliant creative writing teacher at university (shout-out to Adam) told us to sometimes end our stories earlier than we thought we should because it created more intrigue and openness. This book was ended WAY earlier than it should have. I wanted drama, emotion, a blow up! As it is, this ending was really not for me and unfortunately negatively impacted my overall feelings towards The Guest.
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