by Leah Hocking
‘The Girls’ by Emma Cline
Based on the infamous Manson family cult and murders, this book tells the story of Californian teenager Evie Boyd in the summer of 1969.
Estranged from her divorced parents, lonely, bored, and desperate for female companionship, Evie becomes caught up in a cult based at a nearby ranch, complete with callous, charismatic leader stand-in Russell, his adoring female disciples, and an inevitable violent end.
Although it’s clearly not your average light-hearted beach read, Cline perfectly paints a portrait of the infamous summer of 1969 California, conveying the oppressive heat so viscerally that you can almost feel the sun beating down on your back as you read.
If you want some respite from the dreary, dark days of winter and be transported into a Californian summer, this is the book for you.
by Catarina Vicente
‘Call Me By Your Name’ by André Aciman
With the temperatures we get in Cardiff, it’s normal to long for summer. If you want to be transported to a warmer time, ‘Call Me by Your Name’ is your best bet.
The novel revolves around Elio’s, a 17-year-old boy spending the summer with his family in Italy, fling with Oliver, an older American professor.
This book captures the summer feeling well in many ways. What struck me first was the beauty of the writing, and how it expertly evokes the atmosphere through its metaphors and descriptions. The writing is highlighted by the protagonist, Elio, as it is through his point of view that we read the story: I loved reading his way of seeing the world and his thoughts as he falls in love.
Lastly, the story has elements of escapism that are key in a summery read: the feeling of an experience contained in a time in the past, almost as if encased in a nostalgic memory.
If you haven’t read it – unlikely, given how popular it was after the movie came out – I recommend picking it up during these dreary, cold months.