My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.
When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .
This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.
**Disclaimer: Received from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review**
First off, the cover design is gorgeous – it looks great on my bookshelf and the cover is so summery!
My Favourite Manson Girl is the story of Anna, who, when faced with family breakdown and being forced to move schools, steals her stepmother’s credit card information and flies from Georgia to California, to stay with her sister, Delia, a struggling actress. Soon she is thrust into the Los Angeles scene, researching Charles Manson and his ‘Manson girls’ for her sister’s ex-boyfriend’s indie film, whilst spending time on set with her sister’s current boyfriend as he writes for a cheesy kids show.
Alison Umminger’s writing is funny and fresh, and the whole book feels summery and original. The story turns dark at times, and seems to be a true reflection of Los Angleles (not that I would know, having never been there!). I loved the interesting family dynamic and the flawed characters (in particular, Anna’s mother, her sister Delia, and Anna herself) – each character had good times and bad times, times when they were unlikeable and others when they were perfectly nice. I particularly liked how Anna, the protagonist, was unlikeable at times, making judgments about other people and bullying a girl with her best friend.
The entire book is thought-provoking, with comparisons drawn between the seemingly crazed Manson girls and Anna’s own friends and family, as well as people in general. Anna also questions her own judgments and fascination with celebrity – the rash judgments she makes when first meeting people tend to be wrong, and Umminger perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to be a teenager, making decisions and judgments which feel right, but ultimately tend not to be. The romance especially challenges Anna’s preconceived ideas and was a sweet seam through the story.
Overall, a dark, summery read and a great addition to YA – original, fresh, and true to life. Definitely one for the summer TBR list!
Have you read My Favourite Manson Girl? Will you be reading it? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!