Member Reviews

I love the way Emma Cline writes her characters - they are all so palpable, by the end it feels like I personally know them. That is a unique talent, and makes the book incredibly rich and wonderful to read.

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WHAT a ride this was. We first meet 22-year-old Alex, who has contentedly settled into the Hamptons for the summer with her newest companion, the 50-something Simon. We quickly learn this is perhaps not so much a May-December romance, than the latest in a long string of convenient arrangements for Alex, who has grifted her way through a long line of men. She has just recently completed headshots for an ad for "services," giving us a brief glimpse into her lifestyle, and why she cannot bring herself to change her number, despite her latest mark Dom aggressively trying to track her down.

After a couple of minor transgressions, Simon coldly dispatches Alex back to the city, dangling the possibility of allowing her back in a few days. With Dom looming in the city, Alex stays in the Hamptons, hanging her hopes on reuniting with Simon for his annual Labor Day bash, and proceeds to get through each day conning her way through each day on the kindness of strangers.

This book will not be for everyone. Alex is a character of questionable morality at best, arguably an anti-heroine. However, I absolutely devoured it, gripped by Alex's creative and improvisational survivalism at every turn - how far will she go, will she make it to Labor Day., and just what made her this way...
In short, 5 stars. Probably will land on my top reads of the year.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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If you read Emma Cline's debut, The Girls you will be equally engrossed by her follow-up novel, The Guest.
Alex, the book's main character, is a literal hot mess and sabotages herself and every opportunity she is given at every turn. After screwing up a potential relationship with a well-to-do older man, Alex is left with nowhere to go and prowling the beaches and millionaire homes of Long Island looking for someone to squeeze for either money, food or shelter until her offended lover forgives her faux pas.
The way Cline writes the story and the characters is so unique that you end up rooting for Alex even if you can't sympathize or understand her.

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I finally had a chance to dive into this book and I really liked it.
Told from a third person point of view, who is also a hot mess, we go on a journey of exploring "love" and relationships from her perspective. She accompanies Simon on a summer trip to the Hamptons and he gets tired of her. What happens next? Chaos.
There was a lot of tension throughout this novel, and I love the writing style. The ending was the only thing that did not work for me.
Thankful for the ARC

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Thanks for the review copy. The writing is great but I couldn’t empathize with Alex. I’m sure others will enjoy it more than I did.

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The Guest was a great, quick read. Alex has been spending the summer on Long Island with a much older man, Simon, until she is promptly asked to leave. The Guest follows Alex over the course of the week as she tries to find places to stay, with her bad behavior seeming to always catch up to her. The Guest was so well written and a really engrossing read. It will have a long holds list, I'm sure, but once it quiets down it will be a great title for book club and definitely will be displayed.

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<i>Alex was missing the mark so often, lately. Everything was jarred from its proper place, or maybe the problem was Alex. Maybe she should cool it with the pills. Even as she told herself she would try to be better, she was aware that she would not.</i>

Alex's life is a mess. She started out as an escort after leaving home and had done well in choosing her clients. But she's having a hard time not messing up and after she takes money and drugs from the apartment of a man she was involved with, he's angrier than she'd anticipated. And neither the money nor the drugs lasted as long as she'd expected. She's thrown a lifeline when another man offers to let her stay with him at his beach house in the Hamptons. Of course he doesn't know the trouble she's in, nor that she's also now homeless after failing to pay her share of the rent. Alex does try, she does know how to behave as a wealthy man's sidepiece, but she doesn't seem to be able to stop messing up, in ways both big and small. And with one man looking for revenge and another becoming rapidly disillusioned with her, her options are limited.

Dealing as it does with a woman intent on destroying her own life, this book is right up my alley. I think my attraction to this kind of novel stems from the agency it gives the main character. Sure, her life is going downhill fast, but she's the one who is causing the downward spiral. Alex has a lot going for her; she's smart and attractive enough and she knows how to behave among the wealthy. She's also self-destructive to an alarming degree, prone to actions that she knows will alienate the few people still willing to give her a hand, a group disappearing at a rapid pace. Cline knows how to bring a scene to life and Alex is a wonderful character to follow around, as she fails to rein herself in. Alex is not a likable character, but she is a compelling one and Cline paces this novel well, as she walks Alex towards a reckoning of sorts.

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The perfect summer read! You'll be transported to Long Island, you'll be stressed out, and you won't be able to put this down. Cline's prose is sublime as always—and she wonderfully deconstructs this world of wealth and privilege.

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I love Emma Cline - for me she is on par with Emma Straub. The Emma’s are amazing, what can I say. This is the story of 20-something Alex, drifting and alone on Long Island after scamming one man after another. Alex is an incredibly well-written character. She's so young, and dumb, and useless, but honest and raw and so clearly in need of the right person to love her. The Guest is a beautiful character study, and a deft commentary on the lives of the rich in as they summer in The Hamptons or Nantucket or wherever else they can isolate from the bleak reality of American life.

Highly recommend!

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The Guest by Emma Cline is a propulsive, engaging read that expands the typical definition of 'page-turner'. Written in the third person, the reader is dropped into Alex's life and story and you're never clear where the story will go next. Alex is not necessarily a likeable narrator, but her unique voice completely immerses the story in her story and history. This is a truly unique and innovative read. Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC.

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I couldn’t put this book down, but I’m also so annoyed by it. I usually love the whole « unhinged woman » vibe, but I just can’t with Alex. She’s terrible without a single redeeming quality.

When I realized I was on the final 30 pages of the book I thought there had to be a mistake. I was hoping I would be pleasantly surprised with some kind of satisfying ending, but NOPE. That felt like the author didn’t know how to wrap her story up and just wanted to be done with it.

All in all, the actual reading experience was engaging and I found myself wanting to continue reading to find out what happens next. It’s too bad that everything I was anxiously reading to find out about never actually got tied up! Idk maybe you’ll like that kind of thing though.

Thank you to Emma Cline and Random House for the e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thank you so much to Netgalley and Random House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

DNF @ 41%

I have been trying to finish this book for the better part of 6 months. As someone who reads about 200 books a year I can usually push myself through them even if they aren't necessarily my favorite. I loved Emma's debut novel 'The Girls' so I thought The Guest would be at the very least- a liked book. But after trying and trying to get myself to read this book I have to admit defeat. I don't find the character interesting or likable in any way so I find myself not really caring where she ends up. I even rented the audiobook so I could finish it and I didn't even want someone else to read it to me. I try to find at least one good thing in a book that I don't like and for this one it is that the writing is technically proficient. I think Emma Cline has skill but just has a very small niche for who would find this book entertaining even if they don't like the MMF.

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A delusional and cringey novel in a good way! Perfect summer read filled with tension and setting, it’s like you were aimlessly walking along with Alex trying to help her with her next move but at the same time wanting her to fail because she was such a manipulative person.

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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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