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Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence. When Lo’s given the perfect opportuni Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence. When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger. As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her. From Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of the 2019 Edgar Award Winner and breakout hit Sadie, comes her electrifying follow-up—a suspenseful, pulls-no-punches story about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister no matter the cost.


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Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence. When Lo’s given the perfect opportuni Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence. When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger. As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her. From Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of the 2019 Edgar Award Winner and breakout hit Sadie, comes her electrifying follow-up—a suspenseful, pulls-no-punches story about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister no matter the cost.

30 review for The Project

  1. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    THE PROJECT is out now. For 13 years, you've championed my brutal narratives featuring 'unlikable' female protagonists, and when I promise to destroy you, you show up every time. You meet all my books ask of you and then, for some reason, you keep asking me for more. THE PROJECT's deliciously challenging narrative might be asking the most of you yet. Thank you for the privilege and the support and . . . #WelcometoTheProject. Purchase ⚓ THE PROJECT is available in the following editions: From left to THE PROJECT is out now. For 13 years, you've championed my brutal narratives featuring 'unlikable' female protagonists, and when I promise to destroy you, you show up every time. You meet all my books ask of you and then, for some reason, you keep asking me for more. THE PROJECT's deliciously challenging narrative might be asking the most of you yet. Thank you for the privilege and the support and . . . #WelcometoTheProject. Purchase ⚓ THE PROJECT is available in the following editions: From left to right, they are: The standard edition. The Barnes & Noble exclusive edition which comes with the beautiful red cover. Inside, you'll find 3 unique graphics, an annotated chapter where I break down one of the most pivotal scenes in the book and a bonus chapter that's one of the most wicked I've ever written. Available at B&N only, purchase here. The exclusive Canadian edition. This has a maple leaf burst on the front and includes all of the bonus material you'll find in the B&N edition. It's available for purchase at Indigo or Amazon. The signed edition. A limited number of signed editions will be available at participating stores and retailers, including Forbidden Planet (UK), Oblong Books, and Page 158 Books. Keep your eyes out for the 'SIGNED EDITION' burst. While this edition doesn't include bonus content, see if you end up with one with the red anchor stamp. You'll know how significant that symbol is after you've read the book and there are less than 200 of them floating around. ⚓ Read it and . . . wear it?! 🤯😱 Wednesday Books partnered with Blissfully Bookish Tees to create a Project inspired collection. Check out the launch announcement here and shop it here! ⚓ 5 Things You Should Know About THE PROJECT A Closer Look at THE PROJECT A Message for You. From The Project. BELIEVE BELONG COME HOME ⚓ Buzzfeed Books has an exclusive excerpt of THE PROJECT for you! Read it here and when you're finished, I hope you'll continue on to CrimeReads where I've written an essay on Jim Jones, Peoples Temple and Jonestown's impact on my work, the challenges of writing a cult novel and what I mean when I say THE PROJECT will make you rethink everything you think you know. ⚓ ⚓ Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for exclusive content and the news as it happens!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Let’s start with this hypnotizing cover that you cannot take your eyes on it: it deserves more 15 million stars, doesn’t it? Before you start this book, I assure you this is not standard “ welcome to the world of cults and meet with the lunatics who are also worshippers of one legendary man who lost most of his marbles” kind of book. It’s not only about a cult. It’s about losing your way in your life, looking for an anchor, grieving your family but mostly finding yourself story at the most unexp Let’s start with this hypnotizing cover that you cannot take your eyes on it: it deserves more 15 million stars, doesn’t it? Before you start this book, I assure you this is not standard “ welcome to the world of cults and meet with the lunatics who are also worshippers of one legendary man who lost most of his marbles” kind of book. It’s not only about a cult. It’s about losing your way in your life, looking for an anchor, grieving your family but mostly finding yourself story at the most unexpected place you may imagine. Glory-Lo-Denham has with one of the shittiest hand she’s dealt with: she might be only 19 but she already lost too much starting from the car accident left a long and ugly scar on her cheek makes her remember that ominous day every time she looks in the mirror or catches a stranger’s pitying look at her face. At the very same accident she lost her parents and after fighting for her life at the hospital, her elder sister Beatrice ( Bea) abandons her to join a special group called themselves “ Unity Project” And her caretaker auntie Patty passes away only few years later. Only thing helps Lo not completely lose it is her writing and thankfully she finds a job at SVO- one of the most powerful magazine as founder Paul Tindale’s assistant position. She dreams to be a writer and her only story already started to form on her mind since the day her sister left her for the Unity Project. From the beginning she is suspicious about the motives of their organization. They might have already won the hearts and manipulated the most of the people in the Upstate New York region but she feels like this is just an act to cover their organization which is functioning like a cult. And one day she witnesses a suicide. A boy jumps on the train tracks. Before he kills himself he calls Lo her name and a passage from bible. Then Lo finds out the boy called Jeffrey who took his own life was the son of Arthur, a very close friend of her boss, who always treats her nice since they’ve met. He says that his son was a member of Unity Project and they brainwashed him to kill himself. That’s the opportunity for Lo to dig more about them to write a story bringing out the facts and reconnecting with her sister who rejects to call or talk with her for six years. That means she has to face with the charismatic and powerful leader Lev Warren. And guess what, Lev Warren who never opens up his abused childhood story and the inner mechanism of their organization to the press, accepts to talk with Lo. She is closer to accomplish her mission. But what if everything she knows about her life consist of a bunch of ugly lies. What if the sister she yearns for turned into a complete stranger to her? What if there is more about her miraculous survival story at the hospital?Could she be wrong about the project ? Could Lev Warren have supernatural powers to resuscitate people and heal their souls? Could she choose the wrong side from the beginning? This book is harsh, cold, painful slap to your face. Ms. Summers always know how to create tragic, sad, broken survivor young adult characters. At some parts Lo reminded me her previous character Sadie. The darkness, depression and grief surrounds her like a black smoke. But she is determined, stubborn to go on and finish what she started in expanse to shatter everything she believed and cared. She’s bold, she’s relentless, she’s risk taker. You think you know how the story will end and everything is so predictable. Nope, think again! Nothing as it seems and just get ready to burn and your heart to be broken into million pieces. This is gripping, layered, enigmatic, stirring, stimulating, complex and extremely well-written story. I didn’t expect less from the author. That was one of the most anticipated reads of mine and I’m so happy, i wasn’t wrong about it. Sharp transitions between past and present were clever but a little confusing which request your full attention not to skip the important details of the novel. So I’m just lowering half star but eventually rounding up 4.5 to 5 stunning, well deserved stars! I cannot wait to read more works of the author. Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Wednesday Books for sharing this incredible Arc with me in exchange my honest opinions. blog instagram facebook twitter

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by Wednesday Books ✨ My Review for SADIE "Having a sister, Mom says, is a place only the two of them will share, made of secrets they never have to say aloud—but if they did, it would be a language only the two of them could speak." Courtney Summers is an author who has always meant a lot to me and her stories always impact me more than I have words to write in a review. I truly believe no other author writes about the sibling experience and feelings that ARC provided by Wednesday Books ✨ My Review for SADIE "Having a sister, Mom says, is a place only the two of them will share, made of secrets they never have to say aloud—but if they did, it would be a language only the two of them could speak." Courtney Summers is an author who has always meant a lot to me and her stories always impact me more than I have words to write in a review. I truly believe no other author writes about the sibling experience and feelings that I personally have better than her, even though I always am left feeling grateful and thankful that I am not a main protagonist in her stories. And The Project is no different; it is hard hitting, filled with twists and turns that make you constantly question what is real, it is lyrically written, emotional, and fully a heart-wrenching story about the things you are willing to do for someone you unconditionally love, even when you feel isolated and confused and so very scared. Oh, and it’s about cults and how they prey on people who are isolated and confused and so very scared, too. Lo was only thirteen-years-old she was in a car accident that left her parents dead and with everyone believing that she wouldn’t be alive much longer. Bea was only nineteen-years-old when she watched her world fall apart when she walked into the hospital to maybe say goodbye to her little sister. Desperate for hope that Bea wouldn’t lose Lo too, she went looking for something to believe in inside the hospital, and found Lev Warren. And when Lo ends up making a huge leap to recovery that very night, Bea realizes there is nothing she wouldn’t pay to ensure her sister will live. "Bea closes her eyes. She wants Lo to understand that night in the hospital, what was supposed to be Lo’s last night on earth. How it brought Bea to her knees and how it split her heart in half and how its breaking called forth a miracle." Six years later, Lo is alone again and hasn’t spoken to Bea in many years. She feels hurt and abandoned and just misses her sister so much, and she directs all that pain in to the Unity Project, that Lev Warren runs and where Bea is a member. And then one morning, Lo’s world gets touched again by the Unity Project when she witnesses someone take their own life, but before they do they recognize her because of Bea. And this death touches even closer when it impacts her job, and she gets the opportunity to finally do a story for the magazine she is working for. And she decides she will finally contact her sister again and make her see the corruptness of the Unity Project, and she won’t let anyone stop her, especially Lev Warren. "All I wanted was to claw my way back to my sister, but the whole time she was surrounded by new love, she buried her old family and built a new one on top of its bones." This story is mostly told in Lo’s perspective, but we get little glimpses of Bea’s throughout and every time I could feel my stomach and heart just drop lower and lower. The things that both of these sisters were willing to do for one another renders me utterly speechless. Truly, I feel like no one can write vulnerability and sacrifice, unconditional sibling love, earth-shattering desperation, and pure heartbreaking hope like Courtney Summers. All while also making her characters feel so real, and their journeys feel like you are right beside them experiencing everything alongside them. Yet, also make you question everything at every twist and turn. Lev is written in a way that is scarier than any monster in any fantasy book, because monsters like him are living and dwelling and thriving in our world today. They prey upon people who are isolated from their families, people from lower incomes, people who are unable to get help from broken American health care systems, people who very rarely will realize that what they are experiencing is manipulation, gaslighting, and abuse. And if they are able to realize it, they are unable to seek help because men like Lev are gaining more and more power, more and more followers, and more and more resources to keep you trapped every single day. This is a hard book, and it is so very dark at times. The range in which Lev is able to manipulate people into believing his cult is a community is actually harrowing. And seeing Lev lead people into believing that he is a vessel for God, chosen to do His wants, is truly some of the scariest literature I’ve ever read and it really will leave me feeling haunted forever. "The hard part is this: the small broken girl inside me clawing against the wall I’ve built to keep us separated. The one who still wants so much for certain things, despite all she knows." Overall, I really did love this and I very much believe Courtney Summers was born to write and impact so many people with their stories. Her way of crafting and telling stories leaves me in awe, and I’m always completely blown away reading all her last lines. The reason I am giving it four stars is because I didn’t love the ending. I mean, this wouldn’t be a Courtney Summers’ book without a bit of a mysterious ending, but this one was just a little too mysterious for me and left the book at a little bit of a weird note when you look back at everything that was endured. But the last line? Perfection. Speechless. Masterpiece. Everything. Courtney Summers and her stories truly are something special and I’ll carry them within my heart always, despite how heavy they are. Content and Trigger Warnings: abandonment, loss of loved ones, sleep paralysis, grief, depression, panic attacks, hospitalization, talk of death of child in past, physical abuse, torture, emotional abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, blood depiction, complications with childbirth, murder, child abuse, captivity, and cults. Please use caution and make sure you are in the right head space for this book, because a lot of these triggers are themes that are brought up a lot and unapologetically. Stay safe, friends! Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

  4. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    CS tweeted ‘(this is) a book that will make you reconsider everything you think you know about yourself.’ and i get that an author has to promote their own book, but i think this is taking it just a tad bit too far. i, in fact, did not reconsider anything about myself. this did not make me reconsider anything at all. i already know cults are insane. maybe its just the skeptic in me, but i was not buying anything lev was selling at any point. never. so there werent any shocks for me, unfortunately CS tweeted ‘(this is) a book that will make you reconsider everything you think you know about yourself.’ and i get that an author has to promote their own book, but i think this is taking it just a tad bit too far. i, in fact, did not reconsider anything about myself. this did not make me reconsider anything at all. i already know cults are insane. maybe its just the skeptic in me, but i was not buying anything lev was selling at any point. never. so there werent any shocks for me, unfortunately. buuuuut i do think this story is written very well and explores different aspects of cults (as much as a YA story can) that some readers may not ever consider. i also think this is a strong story about the bond between sisters and the lengths they will go for one another. overall, not as good as CSs success, ‘sadie,’ but still an entertaining read, one fans of CS will undoubtedly enjoy. a big thanks to st. martins press/wednesday books for the ARC! ↠ 3.5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    My expectations were a little off with this one, as I prefer a bit more of a gimmick, or twists and turns throughout with the investigative mystery/thriller books I pick up. I thought the writing itself was impeccable, and will continue to read from this author without hesitation. The dialogue and scenarios felt very genuine and her ability to design characters you immediately sympathize with was inspired. I found myself feeling quite a bit of disconnect with the narration style, and the intrigu My expectations were a little off with this one, as I prefer a bit more of a gimmick, or twists and turns throughout with the investigative mystery/thriller books I pick up. I thought the writing itself was impeccable, and will continue to read from this author without hesitation. The dialogue and scenarios felt very genuine and her ability to design characters you immediately sympathize with was inspired. I found myself feeling quite a bit of disconnect with the narration style, and the intrigue just wasn't there beyond the singular spanning mystery which had an easily foreseeable end. I appreciate being sent an early copy from the publisher and the full review can be found on my youtube channel.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    "I woke to the promise of a storm." No one is more disappointed than I am that this wasn't the 5 star winner I anticipated it to be. Courtney Summers is an incredibly talented author, and I look forward to each new book that she releases with bated breath. Perhaps I overhyped myself, or it could be that I misunderstood going in just what this novel is, but I was mostly taken aback by the fact that there isn't a mystery to solve here. There are definitely dark, suspenseful aspects to the story, an "I woke to the promise of a storm." No one is more disappointed than I am that this wasn't the 5 star winner I anticipated it to be. Courtney Summers is an incredibly talented author, and I look forward to each new book that she releases with bated breath. Perhaps I overhyped myself, or it could be that I misunderstood going in just what this novel is, but I was mostly taken aback by the fact that there isn't a mystery to solve here. There are definitely dark, suspenseful aspects to the story, and we all know that fiction featuring enigmatic cult leaders continues to be on the rise, but for some reason I was expecting there to be something in need of solving by the end of this book. The journey is intriguing, but I couldn't help but wonder why there was nothing startling (aside from the obvious content) from start to finish; it lacked Summers' trademark AHA moment that I've come to crave with each novel she writes. I also found one of the plot threads to seemingly be dropped mid-book; it was just discarded and never mentioned again, which jarred me a bit. Obviously this was an interesting tale, but I just wanted more from it. Please give this one a try for yourself, and if you're thinking of purchasing a copy, the Barnes and Noble red edition looks STUNNING. 😍 *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)

    Tragic 4.5 stars “Having a sister is a promise no one but the two of you can make--and no one but the two of you can break.” The Project is an addictive, compelling, and emotional read about the bond between sisters and those who prey on the vulnerable. Lo and Bea Denham have always lived by the sisterly promise they made until their parents are killed in a car accident. Bea falls into the hands of an apparent cult called The Unity Project, whereas Lo is fighting to survive. 6 years later, Lo is Tragic 4.5 stars “Having a sister is a promise no one but the two of you can make--and no one but the two of you can break.” The Project is an addictive, compelling, and emotional read about the bond between sisters and those who prey on the vulnerable. Lo and Bea Denham have always lived by the sisterly promise they made until their parents are killed in a car accident. Bea falls into the hands of an apparent cult called The Unity Project, whereas Lo is fighting to survive. 6 years later, Lo is determined to investigate The Unity Project with the hopes of reuniting with Bea, but what she unearths puts her life in danger. This isn’t as much about The Unity Project/cults as it is about the family members who are trying to get their loved ones out of the cult. Moreover, it is also about loneliness and the desire to belong. On the surface, The Unity Project appears to be just an organization that does a lot of good for the community, and as Lo digs into her investigation she gets lured into their web. The characters are the strength of The Project. Split between Bea and Lo’s voices, the reader is exposed to their fear, their desire to belong, and their love for one another. Lo holds the bulk of the narrative, whereas Bea has chapters interspersed here and there. Lo is a dynamic and vulnerable character. It’s hard not to feel for her. Her loneliness and desire to be seen by others is palpable. Additionally, Lev, the leader of The Unity Project, is a fascinating character to read about. I felt his power emanate through the pages. Other members who are part of The Project also have intriguing backstories. I wanted to know more about all of them! The narrative switches back and forth between timelines starting before the accident to the present, to Bea’s time in The Unity Project. My one complaint is that transitions are abrupt and jarring. From the very first pages, I couldn’t put this book down. Summers knows how to lure the reader in. I wasn’t sure exactly where this was headed, but the journey to the end was fascinating. I have a few questions concerning the ending, as a lot is left up to interpretation and imagination. Lo’s final confrontation with Lev is chilling and a scene I can’t get out of my head. The ending left me feeling stunned and heartbroken. Overall, The Project is a well-written, emotional, and captivating read that I highly recommend. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    Are you sure this is written by COURTNEY SUMMERS ?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    I had to read the blurb. Rarely do I do that until I've turned the final page of a book, but at about the 10% mark of "The Project" I found myself needing a roadmap for the narrative I was trying to navigate. In short, this is a story about a (very) young woman trying to investigate and expose an alleged cult called The Unity Project that has alienated her from her older sister. Is it truly just an organization that brings lost souls together to help the greater humanity through charitable works I had to read the blurb. Rarely do I do that until I've turned the final page of a book, but at about the 10% mark of "The Project" I found myself needing a roadmap for the narrative I was trying to navigate. In short, this is a story about a (very) young woman trying to investigate and expose an alleged cult called The Unity Project that has alienated her from her older sister. Is it truly just an organization that brings lost souls together to help the greater humanity through charitable works, or is there something more sinister behind the intent of its founder? As luck would have it, our main character, Lo, has landed herself a job as an assistant at an online magazine ("SVO"). About a year into her role, she's insulted that her boss won't yet allow her to do her own investigative story. And herein lies one of my primary problems. I just didn't like her, and I'm pretty sure readers are supposed to. To me Lo came across as whiny and entitled, rather than ambitious and sympathetic. After she does some moonlighting to dig into The Project, she laments, "Between this and SVO, it feels like I never get a day off." Uh yeah, paying your dues comes at a cost. This is just one example, and it could be a generational issue. As a more (cough, cough) mature reader, my dues have looooonnnnng since been paid. YA readers who are still young adults themselves may cheer her on for her defiant drive. Beyond a lack of connection with Lo, I never could grab hold of the storyline after we got off to such a rocky and confused start. I felt like I was the claw in one of those toy-grabbing arcade machines, trying to latch on to anything that would pull me into the story. The jumping around from present to past through different perspectives didn't help, although that non-linear technique is quite common. I just don't think it worked here. I didn't want to pick the book back up after I'd stepped away from it, and I lost interest in the plot's resolution. I went into The Project rooting for its success. That striking cover! This young phenom author! Despite my tepid experience with this release, I won't be surprised if my point of view is an unpopular one. It just wasn't the book for me. I'd like to thank St. Martin's Press and Courtney Summers for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy via NetGalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Lo Denham almost died when she was a child, in the car accident that killed both of her parents. Ultimately, she pulled through, but there were lasting repercussions stemming from that horrific day. It has shaped the course of her life. Lo's older sister, Bea, essentially abandoned her after the accident, leaving Lo in the care of their Aunt. Lo, understandably curious about why her sister would leave, only knows that Bea joined a mysterious group known as The Unity Project. The Project has deeply Lo Denham almost died when she was a child, in the car accident that killed both of her parents. Ultimately, she pulled through, but there were lasting repercussions stemming from that horrific day. It has shaped the course of her life. Lo's older sister, Bea, essentially abandoned her after the accident, leaving Lo in the care of their Aunt. Lo, understandably curious about why her sister would leave, only knows that Bea joined a mysterious group known as The Unity Project. The Project has deeply embedded itself within a few towns in Upstate New York through extensive charitable works and community outreach. Even with their good deeds enhancing their image in the eyes of some, many assume The Project is a cult, led by a charismatic leader, Lev Warren. Lo is one of those who believes something is not normal about the group. Years later, when a good friend of her boss loses his son, Jeremy, to suicide, he blames The Project for driving him to his death. It turns out Jeremy was a member of The Project and as such, was purportedly kept from his family and friends. Looking through photos of the man's son, Lo stumbles upon one of Jeremy posing with Bea. Lo has been desperate to be in contact with her sister again and vows to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Lo works for a magazine, currently in an administrative position, but she dreams of being a writer. Getting the scoop on The Project + could not only help her find her sister, but also help her to reach her goals. She infiltrates and things progress from there. The Project is a slow burn. Unfortunately for me, it's one that fizzled out rather than ignited. The last quarter of the book started to intrigue me more, but prior to that I felt nothing for it; no passion, no intrigue, no curiosity, it was just sort of meh. As always, Summers includes a lot of hard-hitting subject matter and that's important. I love her examination of difficult familial relationships. Lo, as a character, is really struggling to find her place and meaning for her life. Her need to reconnect with Bea is palpable. My heart did ache for her. However, I did struggle with some of the back and forth between perspectives and timelines, as the narrative shifts from Lo to Bea at different times. I would often forget whose perspective I was reading from, as I didn't find them particularly distinct, as odd as that may sound. Also, the timelines that it switched between were all fairly close together, for example 2012, 2017, 2018, and I am just not used to that type of format. I think I am used to larger gaps in time, say for example from 2000 to 2020, but that is a me problem, not a book problem, however it did impede my enjoyment a bit. Since I was so highly anticipating this, I am left with a sense of disappointment. Even though it is a good book, there's nothing wrong with it, for me it fell flat. I wanted it to go darker, the atmosphere to be more ominous, and I wanted more suspense. With all this being said, there's a Reader for every book, so please do not let my slightly unenthusiastic review stop you from picking this one up. If the synopsis intrigues you, absolutely pick it up and try for yourself! Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ~ Bantering Books (On Reviewing Hiatus)

    Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. Flip. Flop. That’s what my feelings for The Project did. They flipped, they flopped, and then flipped again as I read Courtney Summers’ latest Young Adult thriller. And they flip-flopped dramatically. From like to strong dislike to really like to even love by novel’s end, albeit fleeting. It’s a lot of flipping and flopping, I know. Stay with me. This is all heading somewhere. Nineteen-year-old Lo Denham knows how to take care of hersel Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. Flip. Flop. That’s what my feelings for The Project did. They flipped, they flopped, and then flipped again as I read Courtney Summers’ latest Young Adult thriller. And they flip-flopped dramatically. From like to strong dislike to really like to even love by novel’s end, albeit fleeting. It’s a lot of flipping and flopping, I know. Stay with me. This is all heading somewhere. Nineteen-year-old Lo Denham knows how to take care of herself. She’s had no choice – her parents died in a car accident when she was 13, and her older sister, Bea, abandoned her to join the cult-like charitable group, The Unity Project. Lo knows there is more to both The Unity Project and Bea’s departure than what lies on the surface. She has just never been able to prove it, no matter how deeply she researches the group’s activities or how often she shows up at The Unity Project’s doorstep demanding to see her sister. Lo finally receives the break she’s been awaiting, however, when a man walks into her boss’s office, insisting that The Unity Project killed his son. Realizing that the young man’s death may be the missing link she needs to find Bea, Lo vows to do whatever is necessary to bring the group’s sinister ways to light. So, here’s the thing. I feel like The Project has two parts to it – the bad part and the good part. The bad part comes first, and it is so not fun. It’s long. It’s boring. And it’s a long time to be bored, seeing as it encompasses 60% of the novel. The characters are dull and bland, and Summers’ writing is dry and devoid of emotion. The narrative is also bogged down heavily by info-dumping, with Summers plopping huge chunks of her cult research into conversations and interviews. And the bad part is obviously why so many readers are struggling with the novel. Because if the plot is not engaging, if the characters are not dynamic, and if the narrative lacks emotion – what is there to connect you to the story? Nothing, really. But if you hang in there, as I did, and refuse to throw in the towel, you will eventually come to the good part – and your reading efforts will be handsomely rewarded. Because the plot quickens. The story grips. The info-dumps disappear. The characters are richer. Emotion fills the narrative. And we are given a closing scene that is incredibly beautiful in its melancholy. In other words, The Project becomes the novel it should’ve been from the very first page. But it might be too late. I think a lot of readers will have checked out of the story long before the novel improves, and by the time the good part finally arrives, many of those who are still reading will not even care about what comes next. And in all honesty, I’m not entirely certain the good part is good enough to outweigh the bad part. It was for me. But this sentiment may not be shared. My sincerest appreciation to Courtney Summers, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own. Bantering Books Instagram Twitter Facebook

  12. 4 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!! Having a sister is a promise no one but the two of you can make—and no one but the two of you can break. lo is nineteen, working as an executive assistant at a fledgling magazine whose founder’s mission to expose the truth at any cost is one she deeply admires and hopes to someday contribute to in a more meaningful way than fetching coffee. the truth she would most like to expose is that of the unity project; a religious group in upstate new york dedicated to social betterment th NOW AVAILABLE!!!! Having a sister is a promise no one but the two of you can make—and no one but the two of you can break. lo is nineteen, working as an executive assistant at a fledgling magazine whose founder’s mission to expose the truth at any cost is one she deeply admires and hopes to someday contribute to in a more meaningful way than fetching coffee. the truth she would most like to expose is that of the unity project; a religious group in upstate new york dedicated to social betterment through community outreach under the guidance of the charismatic lev warren. it’s also a straight-up cult. six years ago, when lo’s sister bea was herself nineteen, she met warren in the hospital chapel where she was praying for thirteen-year-old lo, clinging to life after the car crash that killed their parents instantly. desperate and alone in the world; a teenager tasked with the burdens of funeral arrangements and medical decisions in the midst of her own grief, bea is as shattered emotionally as her sister is physically, so when lev appears, and seems to perform a miracle—bringing lo back from weeks-long unconsciousness, it is as though he is the literal answer to her prayers. once lo is well enough to be left in the care of a great-aunt neither of them know, bea joins the unity project, becoming more and more distant until she eventually cuts ties with lo altogether. lo is convinced that the unity project is shady—there have been controversies and rumblings over the years, but no one has been able to uncover enough dirt to stick. when lo witnesses the suicide of a young man affiliated with the group—who calls her by her name and mouths “find it” before stepping in front of a train—she sets out to investigate the group on her own, hoping to find her sister, bring her back and hold lev accountable. the story alternates between these two parallel stories in different timelines; bea gratefully entering into the project’s fold and lo barging in with her notebook, skepticism, and virtuous agenda. the more time lo spends with lev, however, the more she begins to question her own beliefs about the project, her sister, and herself. i put off writing this review for like five months, partly because i was tears-in-my-eyes touched that courtney summers even knew who i was, let alone was offering to give me a copy of this gorgeous creature, and i wanted to Do a Good Job, but also because i didn’t love it right out of the gate, on a visceral, emotional level. now that some time has passed for reflection, i’m able to see that on a craft level, what she did is really impressive, so even if it didn’t ponch me in my feels the way Sadie did, it’s more important and resonant a reading experience, chronicling the influence of a strong personality on two vulnerable women: both nineteen, both alone in the world, both emotionally underfed; one who wants to believe very much and one who’s not gonna believe anything. we’re drawn to bea’s story because we want to know where she is and what happened, but we naturally align ourselves with the skeptical lo (right?), and as her resistance is chipped away by doubt, it is a potent destabilization for the reader. it’s been a year of mass manipulation, of people believing unbelievable shit, of herman cain tweeting weeks after his own death-by-covid that the pandemic was no big deal—so many things you would read in a book and think, “that’s too contrived.” but here we are. and this book’s depiction of the seductive appeal of being seen, of sinking into someone’s ideology, in being told how special you are by someone everyone around you regards as capital-c chosen, how, among so many true believers, a little self-doubt goes a long way; it’s masterfully written and needs to be read. the exploitation of loneliness is reprehensible. I can’t stand it, anymore, when people touch me and I find it hard to explain. It’s not that I don’t want to be touched. It’s because I do—so much—and I’m afraid I’ll give away what’s left of myself to feel less alone. I already did it once. i read this and the (still-unreviewed, grrr) We Can Only Save Ourselves months apart, and—oddly enough—they both pub on feb 2. if you're gonna read one cult-themed book this year, i'd go with this one, even if you're not into YA, because—like so many of her books—it's got crossover appeal for days. come to my blog!

  13. 4 out of 5

    krista ☽✧

    '' It's that people get so confortable in the prisons they make for themselves , they instinctively reject what will set them free....'' "If you tell a story , something real , something true , you get to be alive in other people. and writing feels like the most, the greatest chance i wil ever have at being alive. '' This revieuw is spoiler free for major things that happen , major spoilers can be found at the end of my revieuw in the spoiler section that is marked with spoiler tags 5 freak '' It's that people get so confortable in the prisons they make for themselves , they instinctively reject what will set them free....'' "If you tell a story , something real , something true , you get to be alive in other people. and writing feels like the most, the greatest chance i wil ever have at being alive. '' This revieuw is spoiler free for major things that happen , major spoilers can be found at the end of my revieuw in the spoiler section that is marked with spoiler tags 5 freaking stars. read this , be aware of this , let your mind be confused and be blown away. especially if you are intrested in cults then pick this up..... The project by Courtney Summers , the author of sadie which i enjoyed and i gave 4 stars. This is a book that explores the topic of a cult , a super important thing in my opinion that should be explored more often because it isnt fiction. Cults excist , these things are real and we should be aware of them. And its also about trauama , about losing your way in life. This story is definitly spreading awarenes and shows multiple sides of a situation dealing with a cult which was truly so fascinating for me damn. I got confused by this book by my own thoughts about this '' project '' i felt myself thinking is this really a cult , is this really bad '' and that scared the crap out of me. It felt like i was in this book myself besides the two main charracters , I found myself questioning everything with the main charracters and about the project and what it truly was, And if a book can make me think that much and makes me feel like i am truly in it then its definitly a good book for me and thats what this book did too me. I was fucking mindblown and confused during this story and ohmygod. I cant even explain. This book just really goes intoo this topic that is such an important topic as it is happening for real in this world. And i personally feel that it was done in such a good and real way. that didnt back off of the cruel things and the confusion of the minds of these main charracters. I also feel like this isnt basic YA. i felt that this was more NA/Adult because of how this topic was explored. The author also mentioned about this book herself that this shows the less '' good '' way of coping with your feelings and traumas , its about charracters that deal with trauma and are coping in their own way which can also be less pretty. She also mentions that with this story and these charracters she wants too show the less pretty way of coping with trauma that is less accepted. Honestly such a true words that also describe this book so good. This book to me felt really real as i said before and i felt like i walked beside the charracters. A little about the plot and my thoughts on it The project is a group of people who live in their own kinda town under the leaderment of Lev Warren , believer of god. The people who live here are all people who struggle with themselves , who feel like they dont matter anymore , people who are seeking something too feel alive again and feel usefull again after traumas they went too. These are the people that feel like they are not good enough , that are not being seen. They feel like they dont matter. But in this community they do have the feeling of mattering , of being seen , of feeling alive and doing something good too the world. These people help eachother too get trough their traumas under the guidance of Lev , trough the faith in god. If you put it like this do you now get yourself thinking ? do you have yourself thinking '' is this a cult for real or is this more a place where people connect , maybe this isnt that bad ? '' yes right? at least i did have these thoughts while reading and that is freaking scary. Charracters The book follows two main charracters , two sisters and two timlines. We have the point of vieuw of the first main charracter ; Bea this is written in third person and is about her after the car accident where both the sisters have been in and where they lost their parents in and how she is traumatized by it as her sister ,Lo. is in the hosipital with really bad injuries. It follows her journey and how she came in the project and her journey while she is in it. The way she is badly traumatized and feels all alone and feels like she needs something too comfort her. Bea her story truly broke me. The way you see her slowly coming intoo the project , intopo the live she now lives... The other point of vieuw follows Lo this is written in first person and we are in her mind. It follows her in current time where she is also traumatized from everything that has happend. She blames the project for taking her sister away from them as Bea isnt in contact with her anymore and lives in the Project. She wants too look intoo the project too prove that they are a cult and wants too know where her sister is now , we follow her doing just this. But is the project what she thought it would be? even if you say a thousand times i would never be in that situation make these decisions can you still be sucked intoo it yourself too? this book also explores that situation in Lo her chapter. I loved thw two povs and how they always ended of this sort of twist which made me want too get too that pov again asap and then the pov of the other charracters also ends on a kinda cliffhanger and so it goes on and i wanted too keep reading , sucked in by this horrible story. Because it isnt a light fluffy read. Also Lev is truly freaking terrifying and more scary then all monsters in fantasy books , he is a monster as they live in our real world.. but the author making him this way and showing us this , respect. End reccomendation I personally loved this book but it isnt a light read. I would definitly reccomend this if you like stories that are dark and explore cults , humanity. You also have too be able too deal with weaker/unlikeable charracter because this has in my opinion in the end really strong charracter but they go trough a journey of confusion which i love and made them so real and i felt with them but this could maybe be a point you woudnt like in this story. For me this story was so powerfull and made me feel with the charracters and it even twisted my own mind , its a story of manipulation and humanity and the uglyness it can have. this book will leave me thinking about it so long after it and will always be with my i just know that. This is just such a powerfull story. I reccomend it too anyone too at least try and too become aware of this topic SPOILER PART about the ending and big spoilers of the book !!! BE AWARE. Ohmygod. That ending. it made me sob a lot. the realization that Bea and Lo havent seen eachother since the time Lo was in the hospital and that breaks me somuch. The way Bea thought she did good , the way she got manipulated into the project which is a cult. The way she just coudnt handle her trauma and then the project was there. And then the history repeats itself with Lo as she is also dealing with her trauma , she keeps saying its a cult, she is convinced but then also she gets manipulated and me allong side her... like honestly for real i sometimes questioned the project if it was really that bad and i got part manipulated too even tho i knew it was a cult and terrible. But dam rthe way Courtney has wrote this.... i cant. Also in the ending Bea is death and i expected thisd and feared this... But lo , i am so proud of lo she came trough this journey and now she will publish the story and tells everyone about the project , about her sisters story damn. Also lev is disgusting and ugh but the way the author created him damn. I see some people saying in revieuws that Lo is spoiled and acting like she has it so bad when she as a normal job at a good company and she wants more. i dont agree with this fully . I feel like you can have a good job but you can want more and feel like you want more. She also deals with a lot of trauma because of everything and i didnt feel like she was acting spoiled. it felt human too me. Alos yes the relationships between both the sister fucking Lev , yes that disgusting but this whole story is freaking discusting and that is the point of it too show the ugly part and these cults and people like Lev can make people do things like this and i believe it can and that is freaking scary realizing that. Damn

  14. 5 out of 5

    Debra (having surgery will be back in a few days)

    First off, I love the cover. Initially, I thought this would be a perfect horror book/novel cover, but it does fit brilliantly with this book as well. What did not fit this book was me. Were my expectations too high after reading Sadie? Perhaps. Was it me or the book? I am not sure. After their parents died, Lo's sister, Bea joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo to be raised by their great aunt. Lo has been trying to prove for years that there is more to this group and its leader than meets the e First off, I love the cover. Initially, I thought this would be a perfect horror book/novel cover, but it does fit brilliantly with this book as well. What did not fit this book was me. Were my expectations too high after reading Sadie? Perhaps. Was it me or the book? I am not sure. After their parents died, Lo's sister, Bea joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo to be raised by their great aunt. Lo has been trying to prove for years that there is more to this group and its leader than meets the eye. When a man shows up and claims that The Unity Project killed his son, Lo is more motivated than ever to expose the group and reunite with Bea. I am not the biggest fan of slow burns but do not mind if there is a big payoff. For most of this book, there was not too much happening. I wanted things to go faster. I was a little bored. I wanted that big "Moment", but even though things picked up in the very end, it was not enough to move my rating higher. I do not usually have an issue with cult books, I find cults to be fascinating, but this book fell flat for me. Mainly because none of the characters really stood out for me. To be more invested in the story, I had to care more for Lo and her search, but I did not. I may be in the minority and there are some that are loving this book and I encourage you to read their reviews as well. I really wanted to love this one. But we cannot love them all. I will still be on the lookout for more books by Summers. She is a gifted writer and unfortunately this book just was not for me. Again, please read other reviews for this book as well. I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    19 years old Lo is alone. After her aunt died, she has no one left in this world except for the sister she hasn’t seen in years. Shortly after the accident that killed their parents, Bea left and joined the Unity Project. She hasn’t contacted Lo since. The Project claims that Bea doesn’t want to contact Lo no matter how much she tries. Working at a renowned magazine, Lo is set to uncover the secrets of the Project and reach her sister. But the Project has a very good image and, on the surface, d 19 years old Lo is alone. After her aunt died, she has no one left in this world except for the sister she hasn’t seen in years. Shortly after the accident that killed their parents, Bea left and joined the Unity Project. She hasn’t contacted Lo since. The Project claims that Bea doesn’t want to contact Lo no matter how much she tries. Working at a renowned magazine, Lo is set to uncover the secrets of the Project and reach her sister. But the Project has a very good image and, on the surface, doesn’t appear as a cult. But surely the man called Lev claiming he’s God’s messenger sent to save souls, can’t actually talk to Him and guarantee paradise to his followers, right? I’m not a fan of contemporary YA but in this book, the main character isn’t a minor nor is her sister. It also doesn’t focus on a romance just like Summer’s other books that I have read. You see, I loved Sadie. It was truly brilliant. All the Rage wasn’t bad at all either. Although books that revolve around cults and the like don’t particularly interest me, I wanted to give this book a try because of my previous positive with Summers. Only this book wasn’t good enough. The book is told following two timelines throughout this book. One is from Bea’s pov (third person) and the other from Lo’s (first person). I didn’t mind going back and forth between povs but I admit, some were abrupt. Before I explain my main issues, I want to say how solid Courtney Summers's writing style is. It’s very addictive. It’s easy to read and follow all while not being “simple”. I flew through it especially since I was reading a heavy fantasy book too. The Project was a breath of fresh air. But don’t get me wrong, it certainly didn’t deal with light topics. Yet, I can’t name anything else that I liked. It was just very meh and forgettable. I also didn’t dislike it save for two things that I couldn’t stand. 1) Lo’s character was interesting… until she started complaining about being a secretary at a well-known magazine. She wants a higher position, she wants to write, but she doesn’t have any previous experience (other than this job) nor a diploma. And I’m here, working a job I’m very overqualified for with a diploma and I’m pretty sure I earn less than her. To say this attitude annoyed me to no end is an understatement. She should be grateful. She should be working to build her skills, taking courses and certifications, trying to build her portfolio, instead of waiting for a promotion after a year at the company. 2) Something she shouldn’t have done, no matter how much Bea hurt her by not reaching out. Even though she didn’t do it for revenge nor hate, Lo did something inexcusable, sisters should never do. I can’t believe someone, with a character like Lo, would’ve done it. I felt like it was out of character in a way. (view spoiler)[You don't sleep with someone your sister has slept with, goes without saying.. (hide spoiler)] Other than that, I simply didn’t enjoy the book, particularly the second half. The first half was engaging. Lo’s devotion to finding her sister even though she cut all contact with her was fascinating but again, the incident that takes place in the second half ruined it for me in a way. I have a sister myself and that’s something sisters who care and love each other would never do. As for the Project, I was interested in how they attracted new members but I really wonder if it’s so widespread how can it manage to still be so secretive? Sure, we see how Lev attracts new members, who they attract, but if there was actually something bad happening, how did it never get out? By the end and even with that ending, I was completely indifferent about The Project. Luckily, it was a quick read, and thanks to the writing style, I didn’t struggle to finish it. I debated whether I should give this book 2 or 3 stars, I settled on 2. Even though I didn’t hate it, I certainly did hate a couple of things about it. On the other hand, the only thing I liked was the writing style. 3 stars books have more than that. Briefly, I didn’t feel much reading this book. The first half was interesting but then the book took a turn I disapprove of (ha ha I feel like an uptight reader now). But the characters were the highlight of this book and I couldn’t connect to them although I have a younger sister too. I only recommend this book if you’re looking for a book revolving around cults. Or if the description interested you. arc provided via NetGalley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    This should come as no surprise to anyone. I am in love with my Lord and Savior Courtney Summers. Sadie absolutely wrecked me. So when me and Natalie (@bookreadreceipts) had the chance to co-host the Mystery Book Club over on Instagram, there was really no other choice for us but The Project. All of us on our way to join Courtney’s cult!! Lo Denham used to have a sister, but Bea left her behind. Lo used to have parents too, but they’re gone as well. Lo used to have a family, and probably even used This should come as no surprise to anyone. I am in love with my Lord and Savior Courtney Summers. Sadie absolutely wrecked me. So when me and Natalie (@bookreadreceipts) had the chance to co-host the Mystery Book Club over on Instagram, there was really no other choice for us but The Project. All of us on our way to join Courtney’s cult!! Lo Denham used to have a sister, but Bea left her behind. Lo used to have parents too, but they’re gone as well. Lo used to have a family, and probably even used to be happy, but that part of her life is done now. Barely past her childhood and out on her own, Lo relies on herself alone—the only person she could ever count on to be there. “Having a sister is a promise no one but the two of you can make—and no one but the two of you can break.” Though she still has one living relative in upstate New York, Lo has long considered her sister a lost cause. Bea joined The Unity Project six years ago and nobody has heard from her since. Lo has tried to her best to put that ache behind her, until a man appears like a bolt of lightning before her, claiming to know things about the elusive Unity Project and its founder, Lev Warren. This could be Lo’s only chance to reach her estranged sister, and to finally get answers to why Bea walked away from her and never looked back. And so she takes it. Cults have long been a source of morbid fascination for much of the population, myself included. What is it that turns people, who seem perfectly normal otherwise, into hollowed out versions of their prior selves? What is the process that causes a person to willingly yield their free thought and will? Why can they not see the strings so clearly being pulled on their behalf, being positioned like marionettes by some greater force? If it’s baffling and frustrating for those of us who are only observing from afar, I can only imagine how someone watching a loved one succumb to that kind of malignant influence feels. This is a large part of what Summers focuses on in this novel: the how of a cult personality and community. It’s a good amount of slow-burn groundwork being laid to help the reader feel invested in not only the relationship between Bea and Lo, but in their respective ties to Lev & The Unity Project. The story is told in flashbacks to the time Bea is first recruited and then to Lo in present day (2018). As the two timelines converge we see how each of the sisters, independently from one another, fall victim to the same tactics deployed by a looming manipulative leader. In classic Summers style, the story breaks into a sprint near the end, thrusting the reader head-first into some dark and menacing truths that we probably should have seen coming all along. As far as the audience goes, The Project would probably be classified as more New Adult than YA, but Courtney Summers has always blurred that line between what’s specifically for adults, young adults and teens. And since New Adult is not a popular or even widely-known genre (at least in the US), I am glad she’s found a comfortable place to write without arbitrary constraints at a YA imprint (Wednesday Books). Whatever age the protagonist may be, this is a book that I believe transcends past traditional genre restraints and will be an attainable read for people of all ages. Thanks again to Jordan (@jordys.book.club) & Carrie (@bostonbookfanatic) for having me and Natalie on board for December! And also thank you to Wednesday Books & Courtney Summers for our advance review copies. The Project is out February 1st, 2020 which means there’s still time to preorder so you can get your hands on a copy ASAP! Welcome to The Project.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This was... disappointing. Review to come!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Throwing in the towel @ 60%. I just can't suffer through this for one more minute. A lot of preaching and completely lacking in any suspense. Cults and religion are not my jam at all. Throwing in the towel @ 60%. I just can't suffer through this for one more minute. A lot of preaching and completely lacking in any suspense. Cults and religion are not my jam at all.

  19. 4 out of 5

    hillary ☾ ⋆*・゚:⋆

    Courtney Summers is my absolute favorite author and I don’t say this lightly. But this time her signature moves weren’t there. I was super excited for this book because a) Courtney never disappoints me, b) I have always wanted to read a book about a cult, c) I was ready to have my heart broken and to completely identify with the main character as I always do with Courtney’s girls. So yeah, imagine my frustration when none of those happened. I think the author was going for something different th Courtney Summers is my absolute favorite author and I don’t say this lightly. But this time her signature moves weren’t there. I was super excited for this book because a) Courtney never disappoints me, b) I have always wanted to read a book about a cult, c) I was ready to have my heart broken and to completely identify with the main character as I always do with Courtney’s girls. So yeah, imagine my frustration when none of those happened. I think the author was going for something different this time after her success with Sadie, in fact I did feel like the tone was much more adult in comparison to her previous books. However that didn’t have the best impact on me, it made the narrative kind of unemotional instead. There was this divide between me and the characters, and I couldn’t get past it. Particularly because Lo was very passive and too complainy. Instead of actually trying to get to the bottom of things she just scrapes the surface and is happy to leave it at that. My opinion is that this book could have been way more impactful if the story was told by Bea and it was about her finding the Unity Project plus the shenanigans that happen after, instead of seeing that section in flashbacks. I was eager to find out more when her pov came up, especially in the second half of the novel. Lo’s side I almost didn’t care for sometimes. This was so slow I had no idea where it wanted to go. You know how a thriller is supposed to have big moments that accelerate the plot and make you gasp out loud....this book has close to none of those moments. The plot was as flat as a pancake. I was lost for the majority of it, except for halfway through when for some reason I thought it was moving in the right direction. Guess what, after that it went completely south and it took a weird direction that managed to confuse me even more for a while. (view spoiler)[Lo suddenly decides to be part of the Project group and I wish there was a better buildup to that. There was literally no reason for her to fall for Lev, it was obvious that everything he did was staged to get her into the cult. For example, the car crash? The broken phone? You can see it miles away that it was done on purpose. Lev was the opposite of an inspiring and influential leader to me, he appeared arrogant and conceited from the get-go and it got worse the more I read. I really didn’t like the part where Lo is converted. Like, are we not talking about how you’re having sex with the same man your sister had a child with??? Yuck. (hide spoiler)] The important thing that’s missing in this book about a cult is: what’s the cult ACTUALLY about? Yeah okay, it’s a religious cult, but what’s the thing that lures people in? What’s different from the church? What are the main concept, the rules, the agenda? This book tells you almost nothing. There are some things I liked about this book: Bea’s pov, the solid writing, the interview parts, the last 20%, (view spoiler)[the smart way the sisters exchange roles at one point (the one who was skeptic changes her mind in the exact moment the other finds out about Lev’s cruelty and tries to run away) (hide spoiler)] . In conclusion, it’s not like I dislike this book, I just have very mixed feelings. The lack of intrigue, the passive main character and the unconvincing cult made it impossible for me to love it. The main issue though, is that this book did nothing for me in the end. I feel okay about it. (If you want to check this book out avoid the audiobook at all costs. They didn’t edit the narrator’s swallows out so it’s kind of disgusting.) ****** This will be Courtney's most painful book according to her tweets. I'm so ready to be destroyed. And will it be creepy? Cause I’m SO NOT COMPLAINING. CS: “...a book that will make you reconsider everything you think you know about yourself.” I’m shaking.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mash

    ~ 4 stars ~ Buddy-read with Krizzie and Lucy! “What is about to be offered to you has never been offered to anyone before.” This book was mind-blowing and despite having read it two days ago, I still think about it because it was just one of those books. The Project is a Young Adult mystery-thriller book that takes place in upstate New York. The Unity project -a religious group- has won over most people of upstate New York and have taken many under their wing, including Bea, Lo’s older siste ~ 4 stars ~ Buddy-read with Krizzie and Lucy! “What is about to be offered to you has never been offered to anyone before.” This book was mind-blowing and despite having read it two days ago, I still think about it because it was just one of those books. The Project is a Young Adult mystery-thriller book that takes place in upstate New York. The Unity project -a religious group- has won over most people of upstate New York and have taken many under their wing, including Bea, Lo’s older sister. When Lo’s parents died, Bea joined the Unity Project and Lo has been alone ever since. For years, Lo has tried to expose The Unity Project as something other than a kind group of religious believers but her efforts had always been in vain. When a man shows up to Lo’s workplace, claiming his son has been killed by The Project, Lo knows that this might just be the moment she has been looking for to find her sister and to find out what exactly The Project is. This book involves a tangled web of abuse, brainwashing and manipulation and I suggest you read the CW’s at the end of my review for specifications of sensitive topics. Courtney Summers is not afraid to make her writing cruel and harsh and it fits very well with the theme of this book. I read Sadie by Courtney Summers a couple of weeks ago and so I am familiar with the writing, but it didn’t fail to amaze me once again. In this book, we switch between Lo’s first person perspective which is written in the “present” time and Bea’s perspective, which is written in third person from the “before”. The writing of this book may not be for all people because it makes you ponder and reflect on yourself and it shows you the ugliness of abuse and manipulation. Normally, I don’t like reading books in which the perspective is constantly changing (from first to third) but I really enjoyed it in this one because it allowed me to connect to the characters in different ways and see both their lives from different angles. Overall, the writing is eerily beautiful and fit for the theme of this book. The Plot of this book was quite good but just a tad bit lacking in my opinion. The storyline was just a little slow in the middle and I had to put it down for a bit because it felt very repetitive. After the 45% range, it picked up and went back to being relatively fast-paced and engaging. This book does have some very interesting and unexpected plot twists, but it was more about internal conflict and self-reflection. Overall, I enjoyed the plot but it was just a little lacking in my opinion. The Characters of this book are extremely morally grey and some are simply cruel, and I loved it. Courtney Summers has created a group of characters that are all twisted and broken in their own way. They have all been abused and manipulated but like most abuse, they have been blinded from it, mostly by “love”. I really enjoyed that Summers was able to show the way a situation can be spun to fit the view of a specific person, this directly reflects the perspective of Lo compared to that of Bea’s. The most interesting character in my opinion was Lo because it was such a fascinating experience to see her perspective shift, over and over again. This book really hit the mark on showing the true ugliness of self doubt and how subtly it can be taken advantage of. Overall, I really liked this book but it is also very dark and twisted and not for everyone. The writing is phenomenal and is written in an eerily beautiful way that can male you reflect on yourself and understand the characters. The plot was relatively fast paced but slightly lacking in my opinion and a little slow in the middle. The characters were phenomenally created and I naturally connected to them for multiple reasons. In conclusion, I recommend this book but I also suggest reading it at your own risk. Content Warnings: Abuse (physical, emotional and verbal), manipulation, lies, deception, manipulation, brain washing, child endangerment, rape and torture. Thank you for reading my review and I hope it helped. **Disclaimer** This is all personal opinion and is in no way intended to harass or offend anyone. If I do, I sincerely apologize (also let me know so I can fix the offensive content, thank you) Blog Pinterest Murder-mystery Buddy-read #2.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maëlys

    ☆ 4 / 5 ☆ “All I wanted was to claw my way back to my sister, but the whole time she was so surrounded by new love, she buried her old family and built a new one on top of its bones.” This book was so unsettling and compelling, it was so hard to put down and not get sucked into it for the whole day and ignore everything else I had to do. The Project follows the perspectives of two sisters: Bea and Lo. When she was 13 Lo was in a terrible car accident that left her scarred, traumatised, and alon ☆ 4 / 5 ☆ “All I wanted was to claw my way back to my sister, but the whole time she was so surrounded by new love, she buried her old family and built a new one on top of its bones.” This book was so unsettling and compelling, it was so hard to put down and not get sucked into it for the whole day and ignore everything else I had to do. The Project follows the perspectives of two sisters: Bea and Lo. When she was 13 Lo was in a terrible car accident that left her scarred, traumatised, and alone. Her parents passed away and her sister left her behind to join a cult. Six years later we follow her as she’s working for SVO, a magazine where “all good stories serve a purpose”, and the cult that took her sister away may have proved lethal to a young man called Jeremy. His death (and the fact that he recognised her before he jumped on the train tracks) reignites her desire to expose the Unity Project for what they are: a dangerous cult. In 2011, Bea is 19 years old, her parents just died in the car accident and the sister she loves more than anything is on the brink of death. She’s only ever been a firm believer of the things she can see but she witnesses a miracle in the form of Lev Warren and decides to put all her faith in him. We follow her perspective through the years, the attachments she has to leave behind, and the new ones she makes within the Unity Project. “Having a sister is a promise no one but the two of you can make- and no one but the two of you can break.” At the heart of this book is the undeniable sisterly bond between Lo and Bea. While they haven’t talked to each other in years and the reasons seem to be muddled, they are always at the center of each other’s thoughts. A lot of what they do is for each other, to save each other in some way, to protect each other, to find the other. No matter the reason and no matter the cost, their bond and connection remains strong throughout time and circumstances. This also makes apparent betrayals hurt so much more and I do think we see a lot of nuance in their relationship and the way they think about each other. “Sometimes, when I step inside my place, it feels like a language I’ve forgotten how to speak and the days I feel that way are the days I most remember what it was like to have a family- and what it means to not have those things anymore.” We get to see both sisters get entangled with the Unity Project for very different reasons: Bea because in her eyes Lev saved her sister, and Lo because she wants to see her sister again; but at the end of the day they are both young, impressionable, and alone. They’re both still grieving their loss and their family, both coming to terms with what this accident has meant for them. Through both of their perspectives we see the slow emotional manipulation Lev subjects them too and how it all progresses to a point where they leave their lives behind, forget their own motivations and the things they love, and even to a degree where Bea doesn’t value herself as anything more than a commodity to carry the future of the cult. “This is what will happen to them if they stray: they will burn and Lev will suffer for them just as Christ suffered. There will be no Paradise, only ash.” Lev’s character was so masterfully written. He is a genius manipulator and liar, not only to our main protagonists but to all the members of the Unity Project. One amazing thing with this dual perspective is that we get to see the lies he spins and the reality of what actually happened. Sometimes those lies are subtle enough that even as a reader it can be easy to also be confused. The moments of gaslighting, emotional manipulation and abuse (both emotional and physical) are very hard to read about in this book. It’s so heartbreaking to see how much of a second nature it is for Lev to prey upon already isolated and vulnerable people and push them to a point where they have truly nothing but the Project in their lives. There is an amazing discussion about how what they feel by being part of the Unity Project and close to Lev is not love. He manages to ensnare them and make them feel like he is the only person who could possibly love them in the whole world and makes them feel so alone right before snatching them up for his cause. The way it is shown here is honestly very creepy because it all feels so real and possible. Lev presents himself not only as their Redeemer but also as a tragic figure that overcame hardships because he was Chosen. He is the only way they have into paradise but more than that he uses the abuse he suffered as a child to make himself more sympathetic to the eyes of the public and to also turn against the members of the Project. “The good it did was undeniable as the evil it fell prey to, and the necessity of that good, in this world, remains.” While this book very much depicts the horrors of this cult, it also makes a case for its “positive effects” on the communities around them. I think this was such a well thought out and nuanced look at cults. One part of what I think attracts people to them is the outward image they project to society. In this case, taking a superficial look at the Unity Project, it’s easy to see why people would want to join them. They place themselves in communities and provide them with shelter, food, counselling, all the things that have been denied to vulnerable populations. The Unity Project doesn’t only attract people in need, they also call for the people who want to help out and do good. I think this book does an amazing job at portraying realistic circumstances that make the insidiousness of this cult all the more terrifying. Ultimately my least favourite part were the few points that were left ambiguous by the end of the book. I just feel like so much of this story was anchored in a solid reality and that these pieces did not quite fit in with the rest of it. This was a very impactful work and I’m now definitely interested in reading more by Courtney Summers. I thought the writing was fantastic and it was truly so hard to put this book down. And if I got very emotional at the very last pages well… I think it did a wonderful job. Youtube ☆ Twitter Buddy read with Melanie ♡ All quotes are taken from an arc and aren’t final. Please refer to a finished copy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    jenny✨

    grief pours from this book like an open wound. i feel, quite frankly, emotionally flayed by the project. my main takeaway is this: sometime between when i read sadie last year and now, i have come to deeply appreciate courtney summers’ prose. despite all the hype, i was lukewarm about sadie. i was interested in its subject matter but somehow left wanting with the execution. with the project, things were exactly reversed. i'm no fan of cult-related storylines; they frustrate and enrage and terrify grief pours from this book like an open wound. i feel, quite frankly, emotionally flayed by the project. my main takeaway is this: sometime between when i read sadie last year and now, i have come to deeply appreciate courtney summers’ prose. despite all the hype, i was lukewarm about sadie. i was interested in its subject matter but somehow left wanting with the execution. with the project, things were exactly reversed. i'm no fan of cult-related storylines; they frustrate and enrage and terrify me a bit too much for my liking. yet i can't deny that the writing in this novel absolutely sucked me in. there’s something to be said about how deftly it captures a story that inspired such visceral feelings in me. summers, through lev warren, through the unity project, through the project touches on some of the softest, most vulnerable parts of a person—unresolved trauma and profound insecurity; the humiliation of rejection; seeking someone (writer, sister) and someplace (acceptance; a place free of pain) that you believe you will never be good enough for. though i can't say that i enjoyed this, per se, it is undeniably powerful. it has wormed its way under my skin. and i think that's a sign of good fiction. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ before i cracked open this book, i came across a post by the author on her instagram. in it she writes: Beyond an emotional thriller, [THE PROJECT is] a very human story honoring the experiences of victims and survivors. It is not a spectacle. And though a certain type of response might challenge me, it also reaffirms my need to keep writing books in opposition of the idea that victims and survivors have to react and cope with trauma in palatable, easily understood ways to deserve empathy.⁠ i am glad i saw this before i started the project, because i needed to know to brace myself for the worst. and it does come, eventually—the worst. it is not easy watching a girl, a 19-year-old woman, being taken advantage of by a man and his fevered congregants under guise of we are doing you the greatest kindness. it is even harder to watch history repeat itself with her sister, years later. like many cults, the unity project is made up of people who, vulnerable in their hopelessness, mistake condescension for comprehension. whose veneration feeds lethal self-righteousness—to the point of abuse. and it is painful to see lo and bea ensnared in their machinations, their deception, their genuine struggle to cope with their own horrors. at its worst moments, i had to turn away from this novel. but summers’ prose is just so. damn. good that you can’t help but turn back. the lyrical dexterity of this novel is relentless in its rawness, its power to make you see, hear, feel every single thing the characters themselves undergo. at different points: you are a father grieving the son who took his own life; you are the three-year-old whose innocence makes you want to laugh and cry in equal measure; you are the fledgling writer who’s got everything to prove and nothing to lose; you are the girl who, overcome with fear, broke the promise she made to a sister long ago. at several points, the intensity got to where i felt myself on the verge of calling it quits on this book. each time, however courtney summers brought me back. the past/present flashbacks, alternating between bea’s third-person and lo’s first-person, worked really well to draw the reader in—just as i felt myself getting overwhelmed with one storyline, we jumped to another. the vividness of this book never fell into, never relied on, cliché, and i think this is what made the project so compulsively readable. last thing i’ll say: i’ve been ruminating about the ending. specifically, (view spoiler)[lev’s fate (hide spoiler)] didn’t feel wholly realistic to me—but i realized that that was the point. it was (view spoiler)[never about him, the individual, the man (hide spoiler)] , and the ending makes that very, very clear. this was not (view spoiler)[lev (hide spoiler)] ’s story; it is (view spoiler)[lo’s, and bea’s, and even emmy’s. but never lev (hide spoiler)] ’s. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ bottom line: it goes without saying that this is an incredibly difficult read; after all, it tells the story of people who exploit rock bottom. as someone who feels very strongly about cults (i.e., can’t usually stomach any discussion of them), i nonetheless found myself drawn in. summers parses the nuances of emotion so skilfully—invoking outrage but also sympathy, fear but also understanding—that the project remains, above all, painfully believable and ringing true. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    I enjoyed The Project. I find books about cults fascinating especially when the reader gets inside cult member’s heads. The Project is told in present day from the perspective of Lo and the past in the perspective of Bea. I enjoyed discovering how the sisters reacted to different situations and how they felt about each other. The reader knows how Bea feels and what she is thinking before she joins The Unity Project. Her opinions change throughout the book. Lo has spent years trying to figure out I enjoyed The Project. I find books about cults fascinating especially when the reader gets inside cult member’s heads. The Project is told in present day from the perspective of Lo and the past in the perspective of Bea. I enjoyed discovering how the sisters reacted to different situations and how they felt about each other. The reader knows how Bea feels and what she is thinking before she joins The Unity Project. Her opinions change throughout the book. Lo has spent years trying to figure out how to expose The Unity Project so she can be reunited with her sister that she never stopped loving. Both sisters love each other but are unsure how the other feels about them. Bea has many secrets that Lo uncovers. Some of these secrets cause Lo to wonder about Bea. The story starts out from Bea’s perspective and caused me to instantly feel sorry for Bea. It was interesting to hear about Bea making questionable decisions. I always liked Lo and liked how she fought to find answers. Thank you Wednesday Books, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for The Project. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  24. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    “You wanted the truth. Or are you afraid of it now?” The Project was my first Courtney Summers book but it certainly won't be my last! I have heard universal praise for her novel Sadie, so was excited to see this book was available on Netgalley. All I knew was that The Project had a focus on cults and sisters and I was in. We follow two sisters who follow different lives, but somehow each becomes involved in some way with a religious organisation called The Unity Project, and its leader Lev Warr “You wanted the truth. Or are you afraid of it now?” The Project was my first Courtney Summers book but it certainly won't be my last! I have heard universal praise for her novel Sadie, so was excited to see this book was available on Netgalley. All I knew was that The Project had a focus on cults and sisters and I was in. We follow two sisters who follow different lives, but somehow each becomes involved in some way with a religious organisation called The Unity Project, and its leader Lev Warren. We mostly follow the point of view of Lo, the younger sister who hopes to expose the truth behind the Unity Project. But we also hear from the eldest sister, Bea in the past. The non-linear storyline and jumping from past to present and sister to sister was a bit confusing at times, but I eventually got the hang of it. Perhaps it is my innate scepticism and lack of spirituality- but I never for a second considered that The Unity Project was anything but a cult. Lev Warren's charisma just made me more suspicious of him (maybe that's the true crime lover in me, though). For those reasons, this book didn't give me the gut punch feeling or shock that I think was intended. Nothing really took me by surprise. That being said, I didn't dislike anything about this book- I more so felt indifferent. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters (except for the young child, Emmy, who I just want to protect). I liked the writing but didn't find it exceptional. I found the plot to be pretty slow burn, but without the payoff at the end that I was expecting. My favourite thing was without a doubt the exploration of cults, manipulation and trauma. I would have preferred for it to go a little deeper and darker, but I can understand that this is meant to be for younger audiences. I found the discussions to nevertheless be interesting. I would overall recommend this to readers who are looking for a entrance into the ya mystery/thriller category, and who can sympathise with at times unlikeable or weaker main characters. I am still really interested in Sadie in particular, and hopefully will read that one soon! Thank you to St. Martin's Press for this ARC Release Date: 2 February 2021

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    I will come back to review this book and add TWs (a LOT of them) when I pick my jaw off the floor. But what you need to know is that THE PROJECT is haunting and morbidly fascinating.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Ugh... the weak female protagonist has returned. Shortest Summary Ever: Lo, the victim of a serious accident that killed her parents has now lost her sister Bea to the Unity Project, a cult/religious group led by Lev Warren. She’s fought for years to uncover their deceptions so she can simply see her sister. Now Lo is working at an up-and-coming magazine, hoping to be taken seriously as a writer, when a man reveals he blames the Project for the death of his son. And Lo realizes she was a witness Ugh... the weak female protagonist has returned. Shortest Summary Ever: Lo, the victim of a serious accident that killed her parents has now lost her sister Bea to the Unity Project, a cult/religious group led by Lev Warren. She’s fought for years to uncover their deceptions so she can simply see her sister. Now Lo is working at an up-and-coming magazine, hoping to be taken seriously as a writer, when a man reveals he blames the Project for the death of his son. And Lo realizes she was a witness. Now she’s trying harder to find Bea and uncover the truth. Now, before my thoughts let me say - this book IS very well-written and kept my attention throughout. So for that, hey brava! The development of characters, especially this complicated sister relationship was intricate and believable within a family dynamic.. but then the cult... and yep, I’m about to get judgmental because it’s a topic I’m passionate about. Thoughts: Moderate spoilers ahead but I’m not hiding this one! The Unity Project is run by an eerily-similar-to, magnetically powerful David Miscavige-type figure (and there are some strong similarities to critiques of Scientology) with a more God-centered ideology. But sorry - ya’ fall for a cult? I’m going to think you’re an imbecile every day of the week and twice on Sunday. No matter how gullible/vulnerable a person is, I can’t wrap my mind around it especially when it’s to a point of physical abuse. Yeah... ok I’m being judgey. I will own it. Maybe I was born of iron? I’ve never been a follower. How people can hear stories of wide-spread abuse in the cult, accept those stories, witness it AND participate? Sub-moronic. Cringe. So much cringe. But that wasn’t the end of the misogyny. Add in a Neanderthal boss and then the rest... I can’t stop shaking my head. Now... with that said I think the author wanted us to feel something for these sisters... some kind of understanding, how vulnerable people are taken advantage of... but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Nope. Not. At. All. Especially when, well let’s say I hate weak, stupid female protagonists and this one took 1st prize. Why oh why can’t our female protagonists NOT be bumbling idiots who lose all their common sense, 6 YEARS of searching for answers, sister loyalty (and HELLO - sister code?), and inklings of intelligence for a charismatic dude who bats his nice eyes at you? Ugh. So many more shakes of my head 🤦🏼‍♀️. All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication. Genre: YA/Mystery/Chic Lit/Religious-cult angle Recommend to: if you can sympathize with those easily manipulated. Not recommended to: My peeps who smack their heads at actions of weak female protagonists. Thank you to the author, NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nenia Campbell

    Courtney Summers is an author who isn't afraid to write "ugly" and take risks. I wish there was more YA out there doing what she's doing. She understands that real teens don't want to be condescended to. I started reading her work when I was a teen and I've never looked back. Love her. Also this book is about cults, so there's that. Courtney Summers is an author who isn't afraid to write "ugly" and take risks. I wish there was more YA out there doing what she's doing. She understands that real teens don't want to be condescended to. I started reading her work when I was a teen and I've never looked back. Love her. Also this book is about cults, so there's that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    My expectations for this book were pretty high given how much I liked the author's previous book, Sadie. Both books involve storylines with two sisters. While Sadie was a gripping and haunting read with characters I felt invested in, this book missed the mark and was more of an average read rather than something special. After surviving a car crash that killed her parents, Lo Denham goes to live with her aunt. Her sister, Bea, is old enough to take care of Lo, but instead joins The Unity Project My expectations for this book were pretty high given how much I liked the author's previous book, Sadie. Both books involve storylines with two sisters. While Sadie was a gripping and haunting read with characters I felt invested in, this book missed the mark and was more of an average read rather than something special. After surviving a car crash that killed her parents, Lo Denham goes to live with her aunt. Her sister, Bea, is old enough to take care of Lo, but instead joins The Unity Project which has garnered praise for its charitable works. However, Lo believes it's a cult and is determined to expose the group and be reunited with Bea. But things go topsy turvy when Lo meets with The Unity Project's founder, Lev Warren. I find the subject of cults fascinating and so I'm baffled why The Unity Project was kinda boring to me. The potential for an interesting story was there but yet it managed to be lackluster. It's pretty much the same case with the sisters. They have the setup of an intriguing background but yet I didn't find myself caring much about the either one. Neither character appeared fully fleshed out and there were times throughout the story when I didn't understand their actions and motivations. At the very least the author's writing talent was present, but the story as a whole wasn't a winner for me. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy! All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    *A few lines which I love: "When an event this senseless happens it's natural, it's very human, to want to assign meaning and reason, even at the expense of the truth, just so we can sit with it a little easier at the end of the day." "I don't know how to put good things back in the world, when I feel like I've been part of so much wrong with it." 🤦 Another disappointing read of 2021. You can opt for some other book if you're looking for a book which would keep you guessing. This one is pretty quite *A few lines which I love: "When an event this senseless happens it's natural, it's very human, to want to assign meaning and reason, even at the expense of the truth, just so we can sit with it a little easier at the end of the day." "I don't know how to put good things back in the world, when I feel like I've been part of so much wrong with it." 🤦 Another disappointing read of 2021. You can opt for some other book if you're looking for a book which would keep you guessing. This one is pretty quite boring. This book could have been so much shorter. The writing is fine but I feel it's dragging things for most part of the book that it becomes rather too repetitive and dull. It could have been more fast paced but it's written in such a way that instead of picking up things towards the later half of the book, it gets a little trying. There are plot holes which I want explanations towards the second half. But I was more bored for most part of the first half.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Tonks

    “You wanted the truth. Or are you afraid of it now?” Oh my god what did I just read?! This has to be one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read (although it's from the author of Saide so I should have expected that). Just thinking about it and i feel sad again. Trigger Warnings: Abuse, Torture Buddy read this with these two Krizzie and Mashie. Thank you for listening to my crazy theories haha! Bookish detectives buddy read #2 This book follows two sister, Bea and Lo. Years ago, after the dea “You wanted the truth. Or are you afraid of it now?” Oh my god what did I just read?! This has to be one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read (although it's from the author of Saide so I should have expected that). Just thinking about it and i feel sad again. Trigger Warnings: Abuse, Torture Buddy read this with these two Krizzie and Mashie. Thank you for listening to my crazy theories haha! Bookish detectives buddy read #2 This book follows two sister, Bea and Lo. Years ago, after the death of their parents, Bea joined The Unity Project leaving Lo basically alone in the care of their great aunt. The Project is this religious organization that has one the hearts of thousands of people by doing a lot of charitable work, but Lo delieves there's more than meets the eye. And when man shows uo at the magazine that she works claiming that the Project has killed his son, Lo sees the opportunity to expose the group and maybe get her sister back. I had this theory through out the book that in the end proved to be right, but this book is so much more than the mystery. Yeah, that's a big aspect in the book, but it's more about the story and the message that it carries than the mystery itself. It showed some harsh realities of the world that we are living in and there were so many times when I was just horrified by what Courtney Summers has managed to do with this book. I went into this book not knowing anything, but still had pretty high expectations because of Sadie. And it did not disappoint. Like Sadie this is a sister story and I was here for it. I loved hwo this book was set in two different timelines. We had Lo in the present trying to get her older sister back and then Bea in the past where we see her reasons for joing the Project and her experience being a member of it. Lo's chapetrs were in first peron while Bea's were in third and I actually enjoyed that. Who am I? I felt like it really fit the way this story was told and I thought it was a really interesting aspect added to the story. The ending was just heartbreking. The more that I think about it the more heartbroken I atually am. What was that? I didn't read this book to have my heart ripped out of my chest. The Unity Project is a cult. There's no other way you can think about it. The Project was just so manipulative. Even from the perspective of the reader, this group was written in the story in such a way that there were times when I was just thinking that the Project was not that bad. But it was, it 100 percent was. And that was just horrifing seeing the way they manipulated people and how hard it was to resist their spell or to actually see what they were doing to you, how they were influencing you. The characters aren't really that likeable. At least in the beginning. But the more you read about them, the more you start understanding them and some of the choices they made and even though you may still not like them in the end, you still want that happy ending for them, no matter what. We see what both Lo and Bea dealt with and it affected them and they are just so many times whwen I wanted to scream at them. I really loved this book and they way it was written and if you are looking for a heavier mystery-contemporary books, you really need to pick this up. It's an amazing book, that will msot likely have an impact on anyone.

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