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3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  590 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
A schoolgirl disappears into the South African veldt. Forty years later, 13 members of the missing girl's swimming team gather at their old boarding school for a reunion, and look back to the weeks leading up to her disappearance. Soon, however, the women start to relive a long-buried secret.
Unknown Binding, 176 pages
Published February 19th 2001 by Not Avail (first published September 1st 1999)
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Jennifer Higgins
Sep 23, 2009 Jennifer Higgins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read about this one in Vanity Fair. It is being made into a movie starring Eva Green (the sexy French woman from one of the recent Bond movies).

I found this little 165-pager really moving. I liked the use of the collective "we" as the narrator. The book was strangely moving for me. Even though these girls were so together and acted as a group in many ways, they were all hurting so much by being apart from their families. They all want the love and attention of Miss G so badly as some sort of r
Catherine Siebel
Sep 15, 2009 Catherine Siebel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is, hands down, among the worst books I have ever read. I have no idea what other people see in it. My gripes are many, but I'll try to limit them to things that people might find useful:

1) The narrative style -- it's written in first-person plural, which means the voice is always a "we", with no concrete sense of whom that includes. This makes is extremely difficult to conjure any sympathy for the narrator, which I imagine the reader should feel.

2) Lack of characterization -- This book is
Aug 15, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Hmm, this was good... but odd!!! Cracks is the tale of a group of young teenage girls at a South African boarding school back in the 60's. The weather is hot and dry, the school is isolated, and the girls don't have much in the way of strict supervision. The South African scenery was well-described, and I could absolutely feel the brutal summer heat radiating off the pages. Thirteen of the girls are chosen by Miss G to be on the swim team, including beautiful new-girl Fiamma, who keeps her dista ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Veda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written - incredibly scary and mesmerizing.

Mar 20, 2010 Natalie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was an interesting concept. A group of eleven women reunite at their African high school many years later at the behest of the old headmistress. The school is having financial difficulties. One of the women is a character named Sheila Kohler, who is also an author. Inevitably, we learn that something very bad happened when the women were in high school: the disappearance of a girl named Fiamma.
The reader is moved back and forth through time in a vague, distant, we-point-of-view. As you
Jenna Mia
Jul 07, 2011 Jenna Mia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt

Reminds me so much of something that happened in real life that I was obsessed with for awhile...also of a few things I started writing and never finished. First book in like a YEAR that I found really hard to put down.
Aug 29, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly dark and haunting. Fantastically written. One of the best books I've ever read, I couldn't put it down. I loved the first person plural and the lengthy descriptions of the South African landscape. Wonderfully creepy, and a shock of an ending. Pure brilliance.
Sep 08, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've ever read where I've liked the film better. The film's characters were more complex and well-developed, the storyline was cleaned up into a great narrative, and the dialogue was less cloying. As for the novel:

Wow, do I feel conflicted about this one. I love boarding school novels, and this one had an exceptionally lovely setting (South Africa in the 1960s, not England in the 1930s like the film,) and an interesting perspective (first person plural-- all "we") but... t
Mel L-C
Jan 26, 2012 Mel L-C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Thought provoking. Read it in one sitting. Loved it.
Feb 29, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm conflicted. It has a really cool sort of "Lord of the Flies" but with girls feeling. And the first person plural didn't bug me at all - in fact, I think she did a pretty masterful job of using it without overwhelming the reader with "we" throughout the book. Creepy in a wonderful way, with a shocker of an ending. But all the same, I felt the lack of something - maybe because the book is so short, and the cast of characters fairly lengthy, I felt a disconnect between myself and the story. May ...more
C.C. Cole
Jun 08, 2012 C.C. Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw the film “Cracks” and out of curiosity decided to read the book and found it to be more deviated from the movie than expected. As in the above description, the setting is in South Africa and Fiamma is an Italian girl from an aristocratic family. As a teenager, she enrolls in an isolated school with other girls her age but has little in common with them, and with the aid of a favored but abusive teacher, the situation degenerates into bullying and finally tragedy.

What I found interesting is
Lindsay Heller
Sep 09, 2012 Lindsay Heller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, academia
I thought this book was relatively extraordinary. Dealing with issues like youthful infatuation, the mob mentality of a group of teenagers, and the dangers of not recognizing boundaries. It was written in a sort of omniscient first person, as if by the entire group as a singular entity, which worked very well for the story.

In a lot of ways this book reminded me of another book I read recently, 'Dare Me' by Meg Abbott. In fact in reading 'Cracks' I wondered several times if perhaps it was one of
Bill Kupersmith
I'd never heard of the author or the book, but I saw a reference to it in a comment on Dare Me and discovered the library at the U. had a copy so took a few hours off from Jojo Moyes to read it. As my rating indicates, I thought it a pretty good but not great school story. Exept for Miss G., the swim coach, the characters were not clearly drawn, and there were too many to follow in such a short book. The victim, Fiamma, never became real enough to care about what happened to her. Miss G. seemed ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Sadie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I watched the movie awhile back and really, really loved it. Naturally I was happy to read the book. It is quite a bit different from the movie, but still great in it's own way. The book has a lot of telling and description and not much dialogue. I think I understand what the author was trying to do with this writing style, and I didn't mind it that much at all, but I think the book would have been embraced by more people if it was written differently . But I mean it's still a really good boo ...more
Nov 08, 2014 Ines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quiltbag
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2013 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
1.5 stars.

Cracks is one of those dream-like books that makes the reader walk around in a daze. If crafted correctly, such books can be amazing reading experiences, but unfortunately Cracks fell short. The writing with all the repeated phrases was hazy (though this perhaps enhanced the mood of the story). The way in which the book was framed as a memory being shared by the characters many years later didn't add to the story. I did enjoy the setting and the evocative descriptions. However, I quest
Clover  Youngblood
My experience with this book was like seeing a pretty pink slip at a thrift store and then turning it over and seeing a huge shit stain on the back.
Aug 27, 2013 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cross The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Lord of the Flies and set it in Australia and you have Cracks. Riveting and worth every word, not that there are many.
Cracks is a coming of age story about a group of girls who live in a boarding school in Africa. They are all on the swim team, and queens of the school because of it. They stick to their crowd. When a new girl named Fiamma comes to school the attention the girls once received is now on her. Fiamma goes missing and the story of her disappearance begins to unfold.

This book was suggested to me by a friend to read, and I’m glad she did. While the beginning part of the story is rather slow, it does
Alisha Marie
ETA: I found my original review! YAY! So skip ahead to the more in-depth one

I wrote a semi-long review as to why Cracks was just so utterly underwhelming...However, I can't for the life of me find that damn review. I have no idea what file in my many computer files, I stashed it in. So, here's the gist:

The book: meh. The author inserts a character with her name in it, which I found self-indulgent. Characters: double meh because they're pretty much all depth-less souls doing crazy, shitty things.
Sarah Harper-taylor
I have to say this movie was amazing. I've only said that 3 times when a movie was made into a book. The book was so unlikable! Every character was awful! Skip this book.
Jul 01, 2014 Dohne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely read - I interpreted the story as, hauntingly seductive on the surface. A clever way to describe the distinction between the fascination of the unknown outsider (foreigner) and how that fascination disappears once the the outsider becomes more familiar or integrates and becomes no different to everyone else.
Jul 29, 2014 Madeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I knew what I was getting into with this one, I really did.

Like most people who have reviewed this book, I decided to seek this out because I had just watched the movie version and wanted to know how the two compared. Going into this book, I knew that the movie had taken several huge steps away from Kohler's original story, and based on that knowledge I was pretty sure I wouldn't love the book as much as I loved the movie. And I was positive that the book version of Miss G couldn't come close to
Note: Spoilers are tagged, but they are significant.

There's something of an And Then There Were None flair to Cracks: A group of women are called together in middle age; it is, to an extent, a reckoning with their past. (If the comparison seems odd, it's because I'm thinking less of And Then There Were None and more of The Body in the Ivy, which is an homage to Christie and rather closer in plot to Cracks.)

The bulk of the story, though, is in the past. These girls were in school in South Africa
May 31, 2015 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It pains me to say it, but the film (which I saw before reading the book) was better. I still enjoyed the book, but the film left more to the imagination. The narrative was more coherent, and it explored the character of Miss G (brilliantly played by the always wonderful Eva Green)and made her into a deeper, more interesting character. In the book she comes across as hairy and Welsh (okay I might have imagined the hairy bit), which is fine, but jarred with the image of her the film had given me. ...more
megan freeburn
just watch the film instead, honestly- it's infinitely superior in every way and by that i mean it has eva green... but really, it's pretty unbelievable that someone ever read this and thought "yes, a movie version! excellent!" and mindbending that the resulting film was so good- i mean, i'm trying to think of a time i've ever preferred the movie to the book before but nope- whoever adapted the absolutely staggeringly insightful screenplay from this drivel deserves some kind of award. possibly f ...more
It is weird that the night after I checked this out from my library netflix recommended the movie to me. I had never heard of it prior in movie or book form.

I finished the book first (@ 160 ish pages with a lot of chapter breaks it is a quick read) and watched the movie last night.

A lot of people here seem to think the movie was much better. I strongly disagree. And I'm not one of those people that thinks the book is always better. Sometimes the movie is better, sometimes the book is better, som
May 04, 2016 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I heard this was like a combination of Lord of the Flies and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - two books I love that are so entirely unrelated that I couldn't help but be intrigued. But, I was more horrified by this book than anything else.

I really enjoyed the prose and much of the first half of the book. The writing is haunting and evokes the setting of the isolated boarding school so well. The use of first-person plural narration was unique and contributed to the sense of collective savagery and
May 20, 2016 n rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I want to rate it higher because of the things I *did* like about it, but the aspects I didn't like make it impossible for me to do so.

I do have to say that I loved the cultish/hivemind writing style. I like that it's written in a way where you're not sure who the narrator is, and it gives off the feeling that the book is written by a group of girls who act as one. That's probably the *only* thing that I liked about this.

But the problems are huge:
1. There is no explanation for why the girls were
Jul 17, 2016 rosamund rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are some aspects of the writing that make this book seem very naive: first, there is the use of rhyming couplets at the beginning of sections to summarise events that have occurred or will occur. Second, the author doesn't divide the into chapters, instead she begins sections of two or three pages with a question or statement, such as "What We Said to Fiamma" or "Miss G's story", which tell us what will happen in the section. Both of these seem clumsy, the first seems like something a begi ...more
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Sheila Kohler was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the younger of two girls. Upon matriculation at 17 from Saint Andrews, with a distinction in history (1958), she left the country for Europe. She lived for 15 years in Paris, where she married, did her undergraduate degree in literature at the Sorbonne, and a graduate degree in psychology at the Institut Catholique. After raising her three girl ...more
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“If you find the truth within you, it will save you. If you ignore it, it will destroy you.” 13 likes
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