The Project by Courtney Summers

The Project by Courtney Summers

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The Project by Courtney Summers is pretty far out of my comfort zone, but I always seem to love how Summers writes a thriller. This is a dark read, one about emotional manipulation and how cults prey on vulnerability. The characters are incredibly complex, and the writing style provides an immersive reading experience. This one truly drew me in and had me questioning what I should believe about The Unity Project.

The Project by Courtney SummersTitle: The Project
Author: Courtney Summers
Also by this author: Sadie
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Rating: four-half-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.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Project by Courtney Summers

This is not your typical cult story–one about sacrifices in the woods. This is a story of emotional manipulation and how a cult lures in even the most skeptical. Throughout the book, we follow Lo, a woman who was in an accident and miraculously survives. Her sister believes Lev, the leader of a group called The Unity Project, is responsible for Lo’s recovery and leaves everything behind to join him. Now writing an article investigating The Unity Project, Lo is dubious of everything the group claims to be. But then she meets Lev and gets caught up in it herself.

❀ Complex Characters

Courtney Summers always writes such complex characters, and this book is no different. At first, Lo investigates The Unity Project, hoping to find her sister and expose the group for what it really is: a cult. Her loneliness makes her an easy target, and her experience with The Unity Project will make you question what you believe to be true about the group. One of the most compelling characters is Lev. He seems so charming, but he is also incredibly manipulative. As a reader, I could feel myself being drawn in by his words along with Lo, which made the reading experience even more chilling.

❀ Masterfully Written

As I have probably already made clear, this book is masterfully written. Courtney Summers does an excellent job creating an immersive reading experience and making the reader question what initially seems obvious. The focus on how one might be drawn into a cult makes for a seductive yet spine-chilling story, and the use of dual timelines is effective. This is a complex story that truly demands your attention.

❀ Dark and Complex

The Project by Courtney Summers is a dark and complex read that provides a fresh take on cults. The characters are dynamic, and I cannot stress enough how skilled the writing is. This may not be a book for everyone, but I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a suspenseful thriller.

About Courtney Summers

Image of Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, 1986. At age 14, she dropped out of high school. At age 18, she wrote her first novel. Cracked Up to Be was published in 2008, when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL award in YA fiction. Since then, she’s published four more critically acclaimed books: Some Girls Are, Fall for Anything, This is Not a Test and All the Rage, as well as an e-novella, Please Remain Calm which is a sequel to This is Not a Test. Her new novel, Sadie, hits bookstores September 4th, 2018 and is available for preorder now. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30.

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About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ Canadian YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, & professional bibliophile.

25 thoughts on “The Project by Courtney Summers

  1. Sam@wlabb says:

    Summers books just get darker and darker. Though I think her writing is amazing , I remember Sadie leaving me in a certain mental state and this sounds even darker than that. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much

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