Thank you so much to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for having The Project on “Read Now” late last summer/early last fall so I got access to it! I had heard so many great things about it and I know so many people who loved Sadie (Courtney Summers’ other book) that I had to give this one a try and man y’all The Project was intense!
The Project 4/5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I’ve always found cults to be super creepy and really fascinating- especially super religious cults (and of course most of them are) so I loved that The Project was about a cult! I really liked Lo as a main character and I liked how Bea’s point of view was mixed into there as well. The formatting with the jumps in the timeline could be a little confusing if you aren’t paying attention/don’t remember when what things happened, but in general, it wasn’t bad. Lev was so manipulative and every time he was able to completely turn a story around and tell such a convincing lie and make himself out to be a savior and isolate others and make it so that he was all they had to turn to, I shuddered a little. If that’s what being inside a cult is like, I definitely understand how people end up staying for so long- the brainwashing is so intense and the leaders are so charismatic and manipulative! The plot itself was super interesting and kind of sad. At the beginning, it was a little slow and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but maybe 10% or 15% in, things picked up and I was hooked. I highly recommend The Project- it’s a great and super creepy book!