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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  667 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Now a major motion picture starring Eva Green and directed by Jordan Scott

A beautiful schoolgirl mysteriously disappears into the South African veld. Forty years later, thirteen members of the missing girl's swimming team gather at their old boarding school for a reunion, and look back to the long, dry weeks leading to Fiamma's disappearance. As teenage memories and emotio
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 17th 2006 by Other Press (first published September 1st 1999)
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Jul 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written - incredibly scary and mesmerizing.

Jan 21, 2013 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.
Jennifer Higgins
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 16, 2013 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
Oct 27, 2009 rated it liked it
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
May 25, 2015 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
Jenna Mia
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
well this was absolutely horrifying. definitely a big cw for rape/molestation. beautiful writing but i just wasn't expecting that
Alisha Marie
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2014
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.
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
Lindsay Heller
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, favorites
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
megan freeburn
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Maggie Hensien
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
creepy and super dark, but oddly beautiful. i'm all about quasihomicidal schoolgirls
Mel L-C
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Thought provoking. Read it in one sitting. Loved it.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book. I could rave about it for hours, and as soon as I closed it, I had the urge to pick it up and start again from the beginning. At first, I was nervous to read this, because Cracks is one of my favorite movies. When I first watched it years ago, I didn't know it was a book at all, but of course once I found out I had to get it. I was just hopeful it wouldn't lack the parts I fell in love with first. Here's my thoughts now, having experienced both-- this book is amazing. It is a f ...more
MJ Ceruti
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George Bachman
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot rougher than the film. I love the way the girls' voices and personality blends into one super character trying to work out why she did what she did, what drives Miss G, and, I think, how they can atone for it. Reminds me of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Gaby Silva
Jun 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretentious, boring artsy thriller with awful poetry in between for some reason.
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
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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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