Hello everyone and welcome back to The Reading Room where I talk about the upcoming/new releases I’ve read recently and am excited to talk about.
Today, I’m sharing my thoughts about The Project by Courtney Summers.
About the BookThe Project by Courtney Summers
Published by Wednesday Books on February 2, 2021
Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo's sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there's more to the group than meets the eye. She's spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.
When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what's real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn't know if she can afford not to.
About the Author
Courtney Summers is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of several novels for young adults, including Cracked Up to Be, All the Rage and Sadie. Her work has been released to multiple starred reviews, received numerous awards and honors–including the Edgar Award, John Spray Mystery Award, Cybils Award and Odyssey Award–and has been recognized by many library, ‘Best Of’ and Readers’ Choice lists. She lives and writes in Canada.
The Project is the latest contemporary thriller from Courtney Summers, the bestselling author of Sadie.
Summer’s latest novel follows two sisters Bea, who finds herself in the thralls of a cult called the Unity Project and it’s charismatic, handsome leader; and Lo, an up and coming journalist who is determined to find out what happened to her sister.
One of the difficulties of writing a book with two timelines from two POVs is the struggle to keep the different viewpoints straight and separate. Summer’s handled these diverging POVs masterfully. Both women were compelling in their own way and it was easy to see how each of them got sucked into Lev Warren’s community.
I find novels about cults endlessly fascinating. As someone who was raised in a very conservative belief system it is so fascinating to see the similarities in rhetoric both to retain old members and recruit new converts.
In numerous interviews Summers mentioned that she never writes her books to be wrapped up in a neat little bow and The Project is no exceptions. It’s brutal, violent, and dark and I loved every minute of it.
The other focal point of Summer’s novel is Bea and Lo’s relationship from the time they were children to present, with an emphasis on the rippling impact The Unity Project has on both of them.
The pacing was solid and there was a bit of a mystery to the plot but no major twist like someone who read Sadie might expect hope for.
Regardless, I gave The Project by Courtney Summers 5? and would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good cult story or novels featuring sisters.
What About You?
Have you read The Project? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!