Review: The Project by Courtney Summers
What do you get when you combine Courtney Summers with the ultimate cult from your nightmares? A mindfuck, that’s what. The Project is the book to pick up this spring. Fall in love with Courtney’s best-worst characters yet and pick up this book, out February 2nd!
TY to Wednesday Books, who sent me the full scoop on The Project along with an ARC!
The Projectby Courtney Summers
Published by: Wednesday Books
on February 2, 2021
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
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.
The Project has all the makings to be a straightforward cult book – sister gets wrapped up in a charismatic leader and must be rescued. Enter Lo – the baby sister of Bea, who has entered The Unity Project and has been unable to escape its clutches.
Instead, The Project is a deep look at humanity and how cults prey on it. Any one of us could be Lo, if the right traumas are exposed to the worst people. I related to Lo on a bazillion levels and left the book wondering how I never got swept up in a cult.
Lo is perfectly imperfect. She is the prime Courtney Summers protagonist. She’s going to do things that make you want to scream and yet you still want to be her best friend. Her deep love for her sister is tangible and jumps off the page – as does the trauma she’s experienced in her short 19 years. She’s been through some shit and damn, it’s going to take a lot of therapy. The journey to find Bea is a wild one so strap the fuck in.
The world of The Unity Project mirrors so many of the cults children of the 90s will be familiar with. Charismatic leader seeks the vulnerable and takes full advantage. Don’t get sucked in Lev Warren’s void – you might not make it out alive. It’s brutal and real and visceral.
I flew through the back half of this book because it was unputdownable. I was horrified, terrified, and cheering one page while wanting to throw the book across the room in the next. Courtney draws you in slowly and before you know it, you’re signing on. Just like a cult. Yikes.
All hail queen of the best unlikeable family protagonists! Good lord, Courtney Summers, how do you DO IT? Every time! I somehow managed to read a bunch of cult books back to back, which I am pretty sure I have Courtney to thank for. Am I now in the cult that is Courtney Summers? If so, I don’t want to be rescued.