I discovered Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg and The Girls by Emma Cline because both were short-listed for the Shirley Jackson Awards this year (which is one of my favorite award lists–always something good to read on that shortlist). I read them back to back and was struck by how similar, and different, they were from each other.
Both are about young girls involved in a cult, narrated from the point of view of an older woman looking back on her younger self. But each novel takes this premise in a different and interesting direction. Foxlowe is set on the English moors, in a crumbling mansion; it is gothic and creepy. The Girls is set in sunny California during the summer of love–the cult in question is rather obviously based on the Manson family. In Foxlowe, the cult leader is a charismatic but abusive woman; in The Girls, it is a charismatic but manipulative man. Both books tackle themes of abuse and identity, but through very different lenses. And both were engrossing reads.