Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult

Review: The Project by Courtney Summers

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.

5 stars

Young Adult | Thriller | Contemporary | Suspense

Did I jump quickly on the hype of The Project? Yes. Yes I did my fellow comrades. I went into this not really sure what I was expecting other than the some type of religious cult backbone plot. Admittedly, the chilling unraveling of this story sent chills down my spine with every chapter that built more and more onto figuring out the truth – more importantly, where is Bae?

I must be truthfully with you, I did not read The Project, I listened to it on Audiobook. Which of course doesn’t make it any less worthy, but let me say this – listening to this thriller was almost like a podcast, or true crime, inside cults kind of story-telling. The narratives had gripping presence while reading The Project. Beyond enjoyable. The time hopping I also felt more intriguing with audio. Every time it was from Lou’s perspective, you were stuck with the pieces of what reality she is trying to put together of her past, present and her future. Then only to jump into Bae’s perspective of the past, it was a type of foreshadowing each and every time. Downright riveting. Everything connected, I felt the perspective and time jump situations flowed effortlessly.

And specking of the Lou… at first, and even up to the end, I had some concerning opinions about Lou. Treading on thin layer of understanding verses annoyance, I either sympathized with Lou’s situation or screamed at her naïve since of purpose. As things started to really hit her face on though it really came apparent that Lou really didn’t have a figure to model from, honestly from start of the accident to the point of realization at the end, she was utterly lied to, gaslighted, sheltered or misguided information. And even still, she felt she understood everything around her but truly didn’t, which more so carved the annoyance of her growth throughout the novel – but all in a good way. Again, childish and naïve, but this played such a pivotal role in the plot developments, twists and turns as she discovers herself. Then Bae, her involvement with The Unity Project, Lev, I have no words on how much her perspective seeped a hole into my heart.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Project. Every twist and turn left me speechless, and when I could, I was screaming. It was intensely eerie. By the end of it all, even still, I am not clear on who was the true mastermind of the horror that corrupted The Unit Project. I was not prepared for the ending in the most delicious ways. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

Content / Trigger Warnings: sleep paralysis, depression, anxiety, physical abuse, emotional abuse, murder, death, gaslighting, manipulation, captivity, torture, religious perversion

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