If you are familiar at all with Charles Manson and the summer that he and his groupies threw California into a fear frenzy then this novelization is for you. Fourteen year old Evie is an average teenager trying to deal with acne, her mom and dad's break up and wearing the right color nail polish at school. It is 1969 in Petaluma and nothing much is happening until she sees a group of weathered girls dumpster diving. From almost the first minute Suzanne holds power over Evie. She is cool, she is pretty and she has freedom.
The lure of the ranch and its king, Russell, pulls Evie to the dark and scary. To win Suzanne's love and Russell's approval she is forced to grow up quickly, lose her innocence and gets pulled further and further from the life she knew. The ranch represents freedom and unconditional love and it is everything that Evie feels she is missing from her own life but in reality it is a trap. The only question is if she can get pulled back before she is in serious trouble. Drugs, sex and brain washing are standard fare at the ranch. The story goes between Evie in the present years later and recounting her time at the ranch. Sometimes what is broken can't be fixed without a few cracks visible and it is the fragile older Evie that is endearing. You will finish this book in one sitting and find yourself wincing on more than one page.
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