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The Girls from Corona del Mar

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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  5,181 Ratings  ·  763 Reviews
A fiercely beautiful debut blazing with emotion: a major first novel about friendships made in youth and how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or sustain.
Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, a
...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Knopf (first published 2014)
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Max Reif I feel differently than all of you, it seems. I felt the authenticity of the voice throughout, that is the narrator's voice, that of Mia. I don't feel…moreI feel differently than all of you, it seems. I felt the authenticity of the voice throughout, that is the narrator's voice, that of Mia. I don't feel that the last part was quite as compelling as the first 2/3 or 3/4, but I was ok and I felt the book was far from a waste of my time. I felt I learned about some women of a generation or two down the line from my own. (less)
Max Reif yeah! Only part of the book is set there, but I thought the setting was well done as a foundation for the characters and the further developments of…moreyeah! Only part of the book is set there, but I thought the setting was well done as a foundation for the characters and the further developments of the story. (less)

Community Reviews

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Theresa
Wow. Such a powerful and profound novel. Don't let the glossy cover fool you - this book is brutal, heartbreaking, real, genuine, and filled with raw, brazen emotion. This is my first Rufi Thorpe novel and it certainly will NOT be my last. I can't even articulate how "The Girls From Corona del Mar" made me feel. But I definitely FELT something. The character felt real. They had real problems, and their lives were messy and complicated. This novel is about friendship. Growing up in Southern Calif ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5 Loved the beginning of the book, Mia and Lorrie Anne, their friendship, their different families, the comparisons between the two girls and how they saw each other. Even when they moved apart, they were always there for the other in times of need. So how did I end up rating this so low?

The story tried to be too much, too over plotted, I believe. Everything under the sun was thrown at one of the girls and when her life falls apart she ends up in India with her vet legless boyfriend. Well I t
...more
Mary
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fiction
This was a deceptively emotional book. It had me early on with its sarcasm and bluntness, and then it became heartbreaking and real and thankfully not really about the trite “two girls and their friendship and their coming of age blah blah” thing.

How to explain this book?

Life is shitty would sum it up.

But there’s also that one person in your life that can never manage to get it together - and those people with bad childhoods - and we’re judgmental - and we’re hypocrites - and we are so unbelie
...more
Laura Hogensen
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I feel like the marketing for this novel has been completely misguided. This is not really a novel about female friendship. At least not in the beach-read-friendly way the novel has been pushed. (Even the cover is misleading). Yes, there are females in it, and yes, there is a friendship - of sorts - but that's oversimplifying what turned out to be a far more complex novel that I was expecting. This novel addresses so many issues that it's a wonder it's as short as it is. Mainly, it centers aroun ...more
Sara Nelson
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
While much of pop culture might have you believe otherwise, the most important relationship a young woman has is not always with her first love, or even, say, with her father. It is with her best friend, the one to whom she tells everything about her sexual encounters, the one who accompanies her to medical procedures, the one who sometimes forgives but never forgets. As Rufi Thorpe demonstrates so vividly in her debut The Girls from Corona del Mar, the one we grow up with is the one we love for ...more
Patricia Williams
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this story. I've been trying to read a lot of short, under 300 pages, books to catch up on my reading since my pet sitting business is very slow in January. I've read quite a few in the last few weeks. This is one of the best. Another one I could not put down. A story of two young girls and their on again, off again friendship through the years. Told by this two women. The author has a way to make you really care about these two people and what happens to them and a lot happens. T ...more
Karin Slaughter
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love stories about friendship because I think that as we get more connected with the internet and such, it weirdly becomes harder to maintain lasting relationships with people. I mean, there's the flurry at the beginning and you write three or four times a day, then by the end of the year it peters out and you're writing every day to someone else.

Anyway, I loved this book for its exploration of a long-time friendship in all its complicated glory. As a student of chance, I was also drawn in by
...more
Julie Ehlers
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
A story of two friends, Mia and Lorrie Ann, whose lives go in very different directions, The Girls from Corona del Mar entertained but failed to wow me until the moment I became completely discombobulated. The novel is told from the point of view of Mia, who seems like a reliable narrator until the evidence subtly piles up to indicate she might not be, at which point the entire novel turned on its head for me. But I still can’t decide what the author’s intention was. Are we meant to see Mia as r ...more
Joanne
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book thinking it would be a light summer read, a sort of California coming of age chick lit. I was so very wrong.

Mia and Lorrie Anne are best friends in high school. Mia has a dysfunctional family dynamic, an alcoholic mother and an absent father, while Lorrie Ann's family is a model of love and happiness, even if they rather unconventionally live in a one bedroom apartment where her brother sleeps in a tent on the balcony. Mia believes herself to be hard-hearted and cold while
...more
Ladybug Lynn
Jul 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Loved this book for 3/4 of it and then I wanted to throw it across the room. At first, it is a beautiful examination of female friendship and the "bad luck vultures" that seem to plague certain people's lives. And then the book starts with all this BS that there is nothing more important than a woman to be a mother. Really! What of those women who never have children (either by choice or by circumstances beyond their control). Are their lives not of value because they didn't have a child? She vi ...more
Patrick Brown
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating and incredibly readable novel. First, the narrative perspective is interesting, in that it's a story of two characters and told from one character's perspective. Second, it's a story that tackles big, moral issues around abortion and motherhood. These two aspects combine to give this novel the feeling of being very old, even though it was published in the last year.

I felt it did a great job of both offering a perspective and an opinion on abortion while still telling a tre
...more
Sarah
Jul 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This book started well and held my interest while building the friendship of two high school girls. I enjoyed the author's truthfulness from the protagonist when describing her younger self. About the mid-point I stopped appreciating the truthfulness and the dark omens. I was not in the mood to read a depressing book about bad decisions compounded by jealous and/or selfish behavior. I skipped ahead and read the last chapter. I'm glad I did and was confidant in my decision to stop.
Melinda
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, arc

This is a story of friendship. It asks the million dollar questions of How well do you know your closest friend? Do you only see what's in front of you? Do they share every nuance of their life with you?

I admired this book for the numerous ethical scenarios brought to the forefront. This book will lead to many discussions and leave you considering the questions asked, the situations presented. The topics addressed abortion, responsibilities of a mother, quality of life, illness, loyalty and ch
...more
Alena
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Fair or not, I think if I had read this novel when it was published and not after reading the 5 star Dear Fang With Love, I would have liked this better. But now I know what Rufi Thorpe is capable of writing so this doesn't quite measure up.

I love that her young female characters are unapologetically brash and smart and profane and confused. They're incredibly complex, which makes for great reading.

But they story telling is convoluted and the brashness borders on the needlessly offensive. I just
...more
Kalen
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
** 1/2

I liked this a lot until it got all bogged down in how amazing motherhood is and then I mostly felt like I am probably somehow a bad woman for not having children. And then I got over that and just felt irritated.
Liv (Оља)
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
I almost got rid of this book a couple of days ago. I decided to give it a try via audiobook before I actually went to sell my physical copy.
I knew from the third chapter on that this was gonna be a 5 star for me.
A day later and here I am. I am shook and touched and I feel so greatful that I had that little of brain left to give The Girls from Corona del Mar a try.
It was depressing as fuck, but it was the realest thing I've ever read.

UPDATE 9/7/18

Perhaps a 4.5? Now that I'm a bit more removed fo
...more
Ben
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Don't misunderstand my 3-star rating -- I would (and often do) recommend this book. It's ambitious and largely relatable, powerful and beautiful.

This story of two women's lives and their evolving relationship with each other is a good wake-up call to so many social ills, and a surprisingly frank observation of self and interpersonal relationships.

The first half of the book is especially compelling. The characters experience life in very common ways, and the story is told with heart. Ominous fore
...more
Ashley Daviau
It's really hard for me to rate and review this book because I really had such mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I absolutely loved some parts and thought they were beautiful and touching. And I absolutely fell in love with Mia's character. But on the other hand, Lorrie Ann's character grated on my nerves so intensely that it severely affected my enjoyment of this book. She literally made me want to throw the book across the room with the things she would do and say at times. All in all, ...more
Elizabeth
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the most impressive books I've read all year. The complexity in the writing was frankly, intimidating. A really great book.
Patty
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Girls From Corona del Mar
by
Rufi Thorpe

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Simply put...this is the difficult story...the rough and raw story of two friends who grew up together.

My thoughts after reading this book...

My thoughts...rough at times. Difficult to read at times. Not at all the pretty book about growing up in California that I thought it would be. Lor...Lorrie Ann...Lolola and Mia. Always together, always sharing each other's secret. Mia always believed that Lor was the pretty one...the s
...more
Jennifer
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lapl, kindle
She's your perfect best friend, you love her to death and think you're inseparable, but you'll never really know her. Maybe this is because you're too blinded to see her flaws or maybe because she doesn't want to reveal her flaws and disappoint you. You grow into adulthood and distance shatters your version of who she is. Were you ever really that close? Or were you both simply too young, superficial, and inexperienced to create a true lifelong friendship?

I saw this at Barnes and Noble three day
...more
Joce (squibblesreads)
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5-3.75 stars
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seriously not what I was expecting. Deeply powerful and intelligent. Touching on themes of female friendship, relationships, abortion, drug abuse, child disabilities. Throughout a running theme of a Sumerian goddess myth. A little slow to start but impossible to put down later.
Sarah Strucker
Jun 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was truly terrible, and it's depressing that any critic has called it "good." I was initially interested in it because I grew up in the 90s and was in my 20s during the Iraq War--I had a lot of friends who lost spouses and family members to that war, or who fought in it themselves. In "The Girls from Corona Del Mar," I thought there might be a contemplation of the central tragedy of our time. Instead, I found that Thorpe seemed merely to exploit those events to write a "chick book" abo ...more
Suzanne (Chick with Books) Yester
Friendships between girls can be intense. And in the case of Mia and Lorrie Ann, there is no question that this is true. The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe, tells the story of Mia and Lor, as they grow from young girls to women, and the journey is filled with sun tans and lemon juice, giggling, and trips to the mall. But it's also filled with heartbreak and conflict, growing pains and despair.

Mia and Lorrie Ann live in the California town of Corona del Mar. They are lifelong friends, w
...more
Anne
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
California ~ land of sunshine and beautiful people. A place that is always depicted as a land of plenty, of success, of happiness. That's the California that is sold to the rest of the world, the image that is conjured up by millions as they think of year-long summers and beautiful beaches.

Mia and Lorrie Ann live in Corona del Mar, California. It's the early nineties and house prices have fallen and the sun doesn't appear to shine quite so brightly as we would be led to believe. This is the real
...more
Gina
This was a very difficult book to read because of the subject matter between the two friends, Mia and Lorrie Ann. The story starts when's they are teens and Mia idolizes Lorrie Ann because she believes she is perfect. She has the perfect life, the blonde good looks, and morals of an angel. Compared to Mia's life with an alcoholic mother, missing Dad, bad step-father, and always making rotten decisions how can she not think Lorrie Ann is perfect? However, the tides of luck turn and Lorrie Ann's l ...more
Kelsey
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Victoria
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family, lit-fic
This is a debut novel with an engaging hook. The story unfolds with a very retrospective flair, but Mia is the main narrator who describes her Southern California childhood in a frank tone that may surprise some readers (I guess here is where I have to freely admit that I expected something more Sweet Valley-like about their town - apparently this is a more Big Mesa type of community). At first Lorrie Ann and her golden family are untouched by the squalor surrounding them. But as the girls age, ...more
Terri Wino
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: year-2014
Interesting book. I was very invested in the story of Lor and Mia's friendship at the start of the story. However, the further along I got in the book, the less I liked both characters. This book does have quite a lot of gritty, realistic situations and conversations that depict a true friendship. Tough, moral decisions are made and not always with the best outcome. Yet the type of things that would - in my experience with my own friends - usually bring two friends closer seemed to have the oppo ...more
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Rufi Thorpe received her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2009. Her first novel, The Girls from Corona del Mar, was long listed for the 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize and for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. Her second novel, Dear Fang, With Love, is forthcoming from Knopf in May 2016. She lives in California with her husband and two sons.
More about Rufi Thorpe

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“What had been so funny? But you can never remember what you were laughing about, and even if you could, it seems doubtful that it would still be funny.” 8 likes
“Whatever it is that hurts you, don't talk to anyone about it.” 8 likes
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