Emma Cline’s new novel, “The Guest,” is chilling, tense, and a perfect book to include in your summer reading.

As the summer winds to a close, Alex finds herself stranded in the Hamptons. Her older boyfriend, Simon, has cast her out of his lush estate with nothing but a train ticket back to New York City. With no home or connections, Alex drifts in and out of various sectors of this elite world. Over the course of a week, readers follow Alex on her journey as an outsider trying to blend into the exclusive life of the elite enclave. She manipulates those she encounters to assist her while leaving a trail of destruction behind, while only fading further into invisibility. 

“The Guest” is a story of a self-destructive con artist that examines human nature and, while not glamorizing the main character’s muddled sense of morals, points out our innate instinct to trust. Alex notices at the beach “how easy it would be to take things, out here…The cars left unlocked, no one wanting to carry their keys to the beach. A system that existed only because everyone believed they were among people like themselves.” Utilizing her gift to recognize people’s desires and insecurities, Alex slips through the cracks of the lives of the elite in one of the world’s most closed-off social settings. 

Masterfully written, Emma Cline vividly captures Hamptons society. I felt immersed in the life of tall hedges and fancy dinner parties, yet I still could sense Alex’s feeling of being barred from this society. She offers a gateway into the mind of a mastermind of human psychology, an anti-hero you will root for despite her questionable morals. “The Guest” is addictive. You will not be able to put it down and will definitely debate the ending for weeks! 

Eloisa Bloom is a Rough Draft contributor. She enjoys soccer, painting, creative writing, and playing with her dog, Daisy.