My Favourite Manson Girl Hardcover – 7 Jun 2016
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Messy, honest, and unflinchingly real. I can't get this book out of my head. I don't want to get this book out of my head (Becky Albertalli, Morris Award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda)
A brilliant novel . . . it has elements of a thriller and romance but it is also wittily and cynically written, accurately portraying the thoughts and feelings of a 15 year-old girl. (Guardian online)
In My Favorite Manson Girl, Alison Umminger gives us an unforgettable teen heroine - smart, observant, witty, and tough. Anna navigates family conflict, movie sets, and a seriously macabre research project with unsparing intelligence and humour skewering contemporary culture and adult hypocrisy in an edgy coming-of-age novel that will appeal to adult readers as well as teens. Anna's voice is as original as it is compelling - and ultimately it's moving, too, as we detect the vulnerability behind her bravado. Umminger's swift, razor-sharp prose makes this a fast-paced read, a lively and incisive treatment of teen-aged girlhood with seriously dark and provocative undertones. (Maggie Mitchell, author of Pretty Is)
Funny, sad, often surprising, and just damned authentic. I know I won't be the only one who didn't want Anna's glittery-dark Hollywood summer to end. (Emily M. Danforth, author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
The most imaginative novel I've read in years . . . It explores the everyday-ness of psychological violence and emotional affliction without normalizing the violence. It actually normalizes the love, humour and youthful curiosity needed to understand trauma. I can't think of a type of reader who will not thank themselves for going on the journey with Anna and Alison Umminger. It's an incredible book and it's so so important. (Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America)
Debut author Umminger's humor is biting, yet it reveals richly complicated relationships among mothers, daughters, and sisters. Umminger crafts a Los Angeles both glittering and soulless, leading to Anna's realization that she may have more in common with the Manson girls than she thought, but it's the choices she makes that set her apart (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
Setting her tale against the glittery, gritty backdrop of modern-day Los Angeles, the author deftly weaves together multiple story strands to create a razor-sharp commentary on our culture, observed with keen wit from the perspective of one honest and complex American girl. An insightful, original take on the coming-of-age story, this novel plumbs the depths of American culture to arrive at a poignant emotional truth (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
This is not a sensationalized look at a family of serial killers, but a mirror held up to a certain type of violence that effects women in America every day. Bittersweet and true, Anna's journey to self-discovery is one that should be widely read. (Booklist, starred review)
From an electric new YA voice comes a surprising, razor-sharp coming of age story about a fifteen-year-old girl over the course of one glittery-dark Hollywood summer.See all Product description
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I have to be honest and say that some of the initial sections about Charles Manson felt like an information dump and I wish it had been better incorporated into the novel. Once I was passed this part though all the references to some of the Manson girls were better because they were written from the perspective of how Anna identified with them. The idea of a teenage girl being fascinated by the Manson girls and wondering how they ended up where they did was really interesting to me. I read my mum’s copy of Helter Skelter when I was 15 and it scared me so much, I still shiver when I think of that book, but the murder of Sharon Tate was the thing that particularly got to me. So Anna’s fixation with these girls and the murder of a movie star made some sense to me; I think I was far more horrified and much less understanding of what they did than Anna but I could understand why she got so drawn into the lives of these women and how they ended up as murderers. It’s apparent that Anna can identify with how a couple to the girls were before they got involved with Manson, which leads to a compulsion to learn more but also terrifies her to an even greater degree.
Anna doesn’t feel like she really fits in but she so badly wants to – it’s the age old struggle for teenagers. She makes silly choices and isn’t good at seeing the consequences of her actions but she’s not a bad person. Ultimately, she worries for her sister and tries to make sure that she is ok. The side story of Delia having a sort of stalker was interesting and fitted well with what Anna was learning about the Manson family. It seemed quite apparent to me why Delia wasn’t overly concerned about the stalker but I could see why Anna, paranoid from reading books on Charles Manson, was really worried that something sinister was going on.
I really liked Dex in this book, the way he took Anna under his wing and looked out for her a little. It felt like she really needed that from someone so it was good he was there over the summer. Roger was seriously weird, he was hard to get the measure of but I know that he gave me the creeps.
It was sweet that there is a small element of summer romance in this book too but it was very refreshing that it didn’t come to dominate the story. I think the romance, and who it was with, was the thing that showed that Anna grew up over the summer. I felt that she came to understand that nothing is forever and that she needs to make amends with some people on her life.
This was an interesting novel about the many ways in which girls can be lost. The Manson girls were lost in the most extreme way – drawn into a murderous cult that trapped them, whereas Anna was lost in the way that many of us were at that age – she wanted to be seen by the people around her but they were all so focused on their own lives that she felt she had to do something drastic in order to get attention. In reality, the adults in her life had a lot of problems and needed Anna to just be ok but the lack of proper communication and understanding led to her running away.
Los Angeles felt like a character in its own right in this book and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. There was a real sense of the heat and the claustrophobic world of celebrity, and wannabe celebrity. The feeling that once you put a foot wrong you’d be cast our forever, which Olivia was teetering on the brink of and desperate to cling on. There were points when it felt quite dream-like – as if the haze of smog and sun and heat were so oppressive that it was as if the summer wasn’t real. I think Anna had a sense of this as she went through this summer, like it was almost as if she weren’t there either.
This novel wasn’t what I was expecting it to be – I thought it would be a darker novel but having said that it is aimed at a younger audience than me and so for its target market it is a dark read. It’s still a good read for all ages though.
My Favourite Manson Girl is due to be published on 7th June in the UK and can be pre-ordered now.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A coming of age novel that wasn't the best read for me to be honest 2.5 stars. I was always wondering where it was going and why which started to bore me.
Anna has taken flight from home as things are not easy at the moment, with a mother going through a midlife crisis and a father with a new fiance she starts feeling unwanted and detached. she steals her mother's lesbian partners credit card and gets on a plane to LA to her older sisters. When all is outed they allow Anna to stay and work in LA for the Summer and allow Anna time to pay the money back she stole. Anna finds her first job researching The Manson Girls, hanging around with celebrities and even her finding a summer crush... but nowhere feels as good as home.
I did find Anna hilarious at times, she was witty and seemed seriously cautious and mature for someone who was off the charts and would run away and be so selfish. She is pretty morbid for a fifteen-year-old I must admit, I don't know anyone around that age researching The Manson Girls during their Summer break but hey! each to their own.
I couldn't connect with any of the characters and I think this was because of the plot, I'm still unclear what it was and what was going on, and it was going at all different angles. Like the stalker, the sisters ex, the troubles at home, the tv sitcom, researching The Manson girls... what the hell?! It had the foundations there to make a good book but it just didn't do it for me.
Jeremy was so sweet like seriously he was just a little ball of loveliness and the way it was between him and Anna stuck a chord. It reminded me of my first crush, the sheer awkwardness of the friendship and wondering what the other was thinking then all the awkward opportunities of the first kiss but you do something to make it weird, ahhh to be a teen again!
The book is for someone who likes coming of age without a solid plot, it's a quick read and it will make you laugh at points..
"I closed her computer and hid it under a pillow. For all I knew Roger was hexing us both."
My Favourite Manson Girl is subtle in a way that I haven’t come a across in a while. The relationships in Anna’s family are mess; between Anna, her mother & her sister. Anna’s sister and the people she introduces Anna to. Everything appears toxic and broken, it’s easy to sympathise with Anna. Yet it’s not like Anna’s wonderful herself.
Anna’s research into the Mason Girls and the effect it has on her was done well. I thought Alison Umminger had a good the balance. There moments when Anna sees the tipping points to crossing that line which are unnerving– but good (not sure if that’s the best word) discussion points.
My Favourite Manson Girl is one of those books that you want somebody else to read at the same time as you, so you can talk about it.
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