Cover Image: The Guest

The Guest

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Member Reviews

I really struggled to get into this book - Alex was not likable at all and I felt like the story was all over the place.  There was no background on why Alex was living her life the way she was and what exactly she had stolen from Dom.  Emma Cline is a good writer but this book just wasn't for me.
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I would have read a thousand pages following this character.  Really enjoyed this story and did not want it to end.  A great summer read!  Definitely recommend.
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The Guests

I was so intrigued by this cover, it was a “cover made me request,” situation. 

Alex, a young 20 year old finds herself technically homeless after a fling with a rich old dude goes sour. She finds herself in rather, unfavorable situations. This is all told from third point of view, which made it feel very distant and disconnected from the main character.

I think that it was intended to be representative of a millennial female deviating from social norms. It just didn’t have any overarching themes, morals, prose, insight, climax, resolution, or substance all together.

I just didn’t vibe with it? I think it might be a lot of peoples cup of tea, reminds me of lit fic without the critical literature component. 

I’ve actually read so many reviews after reading this to see if I had missed something critical and it seems like for the most part this book is getting pretty decent reviews so don’t check it off your list just yet!

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Emma Cline has done it again! I went into The Guest not knowing much about the plot and boy, was I not ready for the ride it would take me on!

Alex is a grifter, likely a high-end call girl (though this is never explicit) who is staying with a wealthy older man on Long Island for the summer. But her position is precarious and a small mistake upends the world that she has created for herself. Rather than retreating back to the City, from where another former client is threatening her, Alex lingers like a ghost on the island.

Alex is a hard character to root for. She's manipulative, troubled, uses pills to get her through her day and taking advantage of everyone she comes in contact with. However, I found myself sucked into her story, needing to know what the next step she took would be and how she would survive another day on the island. I think that speaks to the strength of Cline's writing, that she can draw you into this character's life so easily (much like Alex draws other people into her orbit). 

It was a pleasure to read another Cline novel after The Girls a few years ago. I look forward to more writing like this from her in the future.
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emma cline is just not the author for me, i tried with her first novel, the girls, back in 2014 and now her second novel has not fared any better. 

alex is a drifter, after a falling out with her rich older boyfriend she decides to stick it out in long island, NY instead of going back into the city. in the land of the wealthy, alex doesn’t belong and it’s not an easy thing to decide to stay with a short-on-cash-problem and the lack of hotels out there. the message is clear, alex is not welcome here. but alex works it out by charming and manipulating the men she comes across with to give her shelter, food and a chance to figure out her next move. 

this was boring, but i can forgive boring, just not when it’s paired up with a boring protagonist and a cheap and lazy ending. alex is supposed to be the next trendy unhinged girly but instead she comes up as tame and did i mention that she’s boring already? because she is, incredibly so. 

‘the guest’ doesn’t go anywhere and when it did seem like it was going somewhere, the plot was at it’s highest and full of tension, it just ends abruptly. none of the plot points were addressed or resolved, leaving me feeling disappointed. 

oh and the statuary rape casually thrown in there? the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth
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Brilliantly written and fully immersive. This is a character study of a lost girl name Alex. I just finished this story and it left me wanting more! (In the best way possible)
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Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the eARC! I was so excited to read this and sadly was disappointed and unable to finish the book in its entirety as I found myself bored and unengaged. I love contemporary and literary fiction and this seemed like something I would enjoy, but unfortunately not.
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THE GUEST belongs to a group of books I like to think of as "Woman Against the Void."  This story fits nicely with Acts of Service, A Very Nice Girl, Hurricane Girl, and any book by Sally Rooney.  The plot of this book isn't complex -- it's a story of a woman, Alex, who gets kicked out of the house she's staying at with an older man and, rather than leaving, she decides to float through town until she can crash the Labor Day party that she was supposed to attend with the man. She's convinced a few days of cooling off will have him welcoming her back with open arms. 

The plot felt intentionally aimless, a grifter novel where the woman acts without much regard for those around her and then leaves before the consequences of her actions fully settle. The heroines of this type of novel often make us cringe, make us want to scream "What are you doing?" and yet we keep reading, unable to look away from the women acting so brazenly. 

I really enjoyed this one, which I suppose isn't surprising given my reading history. If you like the plot and likable characters, I might skip this one.  But, if you like the woman against the void variety of stories, pick this one up.
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Alex, a grifter, is kicked out of her New York apartment by roommates to whom she owes money.  She apparently also owes money to an ominous man named Dom when she weasles her way into the life of a wealthy older man named Simon.  They're living the high life on Long Island until Alex does something that displeases Simon, and he throws her out.  For some reason, this causes Alex to think he just needs a break, and if she hangs around for a week - until Simon's annual Labor Day party - he'll welcome her back with open arms.  The rest of the book is the story of her week on the lam - she can't go back to NY so she devises ways of ingratiating herself into the lives of strangers.  I could have put up with her repetitive activities - she really did the same thing over and over - if the ending of the book had been better.  As it was, the story ended without any resolution, and I was confused about what really happened.  It felt like the author just got tired of writing.  Many thanks to NetGalley, Ms. Cline, and Random House for the ARC of this title.
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it was definitely a book! this was unhinged a bit, not in the absurd way that my year of rest and relaxation was, but the same kind of vibe
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Emma Cline is a masterful writer. She is incredibly skilled in her ability to maintain equal intrigue during scenes in which not much of anything happens, and in which a lot happens. I loved her writing of Alex, the protagonist, for whom you feel inclined to root for, and then you consequently wonder why're rooting for such a morally gray character. This interrogation proves to be an interesting experience as a reader. 

Reminiscent of Katie Kitamura's "Intimacies" and Raven Leilani's "Luster", this book has an eerie intimacy that makes readers feel like they could easily find themselves in these off kilter universes. 

I was mostly entranced while reading this entire book, but there was a bit of a drag in the 3-4 day countdown to Simon's party in which Alex's wandering was slowing in pace in comparison to the rest of the book. Hence, 1 star taken off.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an e-arc of this book for an honest review.
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I was most impressed by the pacing and length of this book. Because of Alex’s situation, this book matched the energy she might feel, as the days drag and she tries to find ways to stay on Long Island. This book was chaotic and surreal in a tragic way that for me just worked. Reading this book feels like watching a car accident happen: it’s doomed from the start, and watching is uncomfortable, but you can’t look away. A engaging summer book that’s not a summer romance!

Alex has been staying with her older, rich boyfriend on Long Island for the summer. He came along at just the right time, since she was kicked out of her apartment and has been avoiding paying off a debt to a previous client. But when alex messes up and her boyfriend sends her on her way, Alex delusionally decides that if she can just hang out for a week until his big labor day party, everything can go back to normal.

I was provided an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Boy, do I have grumbles about Emma Cline’s "The Guest." It frustrated me to no end.

For 300 pages, Alex grifts and drifts from person to person on Long Island after being kicked out by the older man she’s been living with. We know nothing of her history, other than she’s done a bad thing to some guy named Dom. All we know is that she believes if she can hold out until Labor Day, the older man will welcome her back . Hence, all the grifting and drifting. She’s just biding her time to return to her boyfriend.

In the meantime, we discover that Alex is a mess. She has no home, no job, few morals, and a strong talent for molding her personality into many different types of women. This makes her interesting enough as a character, I suppose – plus the fact that she has zero qualms about lying, cheating, and stealing – but the emotional destruction she leaves in her wake is unsettling. Her survival comes first; everyone else comes second.

The problem is, nothing really happens in the book. And even though something about Alex’s trainwreck of a life propelled me to keep reading, I never stopped waiting for something to happen. I waited and waited and waited.

And then when the final, climactic moment did arrive, again nothing happened, because the book ended in the abruptest way possible. I tried to advance to the next page on my Kindle numerous times, but I couldn’t. There were no more words to read, no matter how much I wanted to read them.

I get what Cline was going for with the ending, and with the novel as a whole, but it didn’t work for me. Not in the slightest.

My sincerest appreciation to Emma Cline, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All opinions included herein are my own.
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I gotta be honest, this one was a major flop for me. I really wanted to like it too. The summary sounded so interesting & had me hooked. But, the main character, Alex, annoyed me so much. Like no matter how hard I tried, there was no liking her.

It’s one of those books where a lot is happening, but at the same time nothing is happening. I realize that makes no sense, but that’s the best way I can describe it hahah mainly because I’m not too sure I even know what I read.

The major thing that annoyed me was that right when I was getting into it, and starting to give it a chance, it ended & I was left with so many unanswered questions. I feel like that was intentional, but that’s a no from me dawg…

Even though this wasn’t for me, it could still be your jam, as most of the reviews I’ve seen have been positive!
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This was an excellent, if sometimes difficult to stomach book.  It follows a 22 year old sex worker named Alex who is ejected from her rich, older boyfriend's house after a faux pas at a fancy dinner.  Rather than return to Manhattan, she drifts around Long Island, making connections and burning bridges, ingratiating herself into people's lives and just as quickly losing their favor.  All the while, she is evading an ex boyfriend who she seems to have stolen money from.  She makes terrible decisions in pursuit of an ill-advised goal - that of returning to the rich boyfriend who has tired of her.  The book forces you to ask yourself several really interesting questions:
-Do women have to have a traumatic back story in order to become the kind of person that makes these choices?
-What kind of society, and what kind of people, makes these choices seem viable to a young woman?
As always, Emma Cline's prose is beautiful and I would read anything she writes.  

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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THE GUEST is a mesmerizing novel that delves deep into the life of Alex, a young woman who finds herself lost and without direction on Long Island after parting ways with her wealthy, older summer fling. Cline masterfully captures the essence of the lazy summer ambience, painting vivid images with her words. Despite the unhurried pace and the lack of a definite plot, readers are kept on the edge of their seats, sensing an impending sense of doom that keeps them engrossed and eagerly turning the pages. Impending sense of doom is my FAVORITE trope, and so I was all here for it.
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I think Emma Cline just isn't for me. I read her debut previously and also rated it 3 stars. I think she does a really good job writing morally gray characters but the main character in this seemingly didn't have any motives whatsoever. She just was doing bad things just.... cuz? I did enjoy the stream of conciousness POV, but this just wasn't the book for me. I normally love bad characters that do bad things but I need them to be doing it for a good reason.
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Alex is kicked out of the house she is staying in as summer comes to a close on Long Island. She is left with just a bag with all of her belongings, since she is no longer welcome at her old place and is receiving a lot of texts from a man she took advantage of. Luckily, Alex is great at manipulating others to get what she wants. The book traces a week of Alex's life as she lies and cheats her way around Long Island while waiting for a Labor Day party.

This book strikes a great balance between keeping the reader very close to the stressful decisions Alex is making as she moves from group to group, but also keeping the reader far away from Alex's past and inner thoughts. Alex is a fascinating central character, and a lot of the book was great fun watching her get into complex situations with manipulation and deception and have to use those same skills to get out of them. The book reads almost like a series of connected short stories as she moves through different groups, with some definitely being more tense or engaging (my personal favorite was her escapade in befriending a child on the beach). Through Alex, Emma Cline does a great job dissecting the lives and identities of the upper crust who live on Long Island and who Alex is able to so easily control. Overall, this is a breezy, interesting book that did not come all the way together for me and left me wanting a bit more, but Emma Cline's prose is so easy to read it makes the book go down more easily. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Randon House for a copy of The Guest in exchange for an honest review.
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What in the drug-induced fever dream?

I really had higher hopes for this one because I loved The Girls. This book was wild and not in a good way. We follow Alex as she fakes her way into the late-summer WASPy life of a sugar baby. While you have to admire her tenacity, it's almost surreal how much she gets away with. At the same time, it's a testament to how much we are willing to try to get away with when we are desperate. To me Alex is desperate to escape the danger of her past, to not be homeless(?!?!), and to find the guy to save her. 

With the same atmospheric bewilderment that you find in Ottessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Emma Cline, creates a narrative that you can't look away from. Even though Alex is in a situation of her own making, you have to acknowledge that sometimes various decisions can lead to a person in too deep and needing to escape by any means necessary. Although this main character irritated me to no end, you end up rooting for her. We are left with a vague ending so I hope she is well!
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4.5 Starts - I’ve had this for a long time and was afraid to read it because I loved the girls so much. I really regret waiting so long - this is just as great as her others, but this means it will be extremely polarizing. I think you should only read this if you like feeling a little anxious and also like books where nothing happens. I knocked of .5 because the ending was confusing though I think this was intentional
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