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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  520 ratings  ·  69 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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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
Catherine Siebel
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
C.C. Cole
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beautifully written - incredibly scary and mesmerizing.

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.
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
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
Lindsay Heller
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
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
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
Jennifer Higgins
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
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
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
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.
'Cracks' is a mesmerizing Lolita-type story with an all-female cast and a winding narrative. Through vivid descriptions and a first-person point of view, Kohler transplants the reader into a Western all-girls' school in the South African veld in the 1960s. The prose is jarringly poetic at times and oddly vague at others -- as a narrative by a schoolgirl is wont to be -- and Kohler does a great job of tantalizing you with glimpses of the dark finale before throwing open the curtain at the end.

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
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.
Jenna Mia

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.
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.
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
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.
Mel L-C
Excellent. Thought provoking. Read it in one sitting. Loved it.
Unassuming yet utterly haunting.
I read about this book on, which is an awesome site overflowing with good book/movie/fashion, etc. recommendations. I watched the movie and fell in love with it. It was beautiful and dark, my favorite kind of movie. I went to a bookstore soon after and asked if they had the book in stock, which was pretty funny and awkward because of the book's title.

I definitely liked the movie better than the book because the movie had more substance. Sheila Kohler wrote beautifully, describing
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
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
I read this book after seeing the movie, which was beautiful and complex. The book... was a bit weird. Okay, it was really disturbing. The movie created a compelling triangle between Miss G, Di and Fiamma, which made the entire film captivating. In the movie, Di was headstrong and powerful. Miss G was complex... projecting herself as a femme fatale to the girls and a frightening bully to Fiamma... all the while really being a mentally ill shut-in. And, Fiamma was confident, kind and really just ...more
Cracks was a short and somewhat disturbing read. It is able to excite the reader but lacking in depth at the same time. It does not bore you with endless chapters nor does it puzzle you with complex characters. Even if described by Sheila Kohler in another way, you feel like the girls develop no notable personality and they differentiate from each other only at first sight. It's like all the girls on the swimming team seem to feel about things the same way. I was able to relate to them only thro ...more
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Description of the school 1 4 May 10, 2013 08:30AM  
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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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