I do not know how to feel about this book. I had been waiting so long for it. Felt so sure that I would love it the most, as I so adore Courtney and have enjoyed all of her books so far. Then I started this one. And did not love it right away. And I got scared. And so now I am a little heartbroken to say that I am rating this two stars.
I wanted to love it, so badly. I thought I would find it to be exciting and thrilling and broken like every book by Courtney. But it was not. Instead I found it to be boring, with little happening for ages. There were parts I loved. But there were parts that I hated too. I will be sharing all of my thoughts about this book in this review.
I will begin by saying that the writing was wonderful. I didn't have any issues with that at all. It was sadly this story that made me dislike the book. Sigh. I tried very hard to love it. I wanted to so much. But it was not to be. It is mostly told from the point of view of nineteen year old Lo. She was in a horrific car crash with her parents when she was thirteen, she was the only survivor. She had an older sister, who should have been there for her after the accident. But she left her. She left her for the unity project. For him. Lev Warren. The face of the project, their leader. And so Lo had to grow up mostly on her own, with her aunt that she had never met before. This broke parts of her. Me too. Lo deserved the best, all the love. I was truly angry with her sister, Bea.
Because after she left her, she never once tried to contact her again, during all of those years. Now Lo works at a small magazine place, trying to work her way up to become a writer. For years she has tried to see her sister at the unity project. For years she has been turned away, without once seeing her. Now she finally has a real chance of being able to find out what is wrong with this place. This cult, which they deny being. Something is wrong there. She wants to prove it. To get her sister back from them. Home to her.
But things do not go as she wants. And there is just much going on in this book. And yet not much at all. It moved slowly. With little actually happening. The whole book is about getting to know Lo. Whom I did adore, until a choice she made near the end of the book. Ugh. And then we got a few small chapters from Bea, during the years before. I liked getting to know her a whole bunch. Except for how very brainwashed she seemed to be. It bothered me. I'm not a God person. I'm not a cult person. Very much not so. Oops.
And yet I wanted to love this book. Thought it would be more mystery, more murder, more excitement. But there wasn't. And I was left disappointed. It was too much about life at this place. With Lo searching it, getting to read about Bea being there. It was simply too much not for me, to be honest. It was too much about the boring parts, too little about the murder parts. I loved the emotional scenes. I did love getting to know Lo. But I did not love Lev and his place in all of this. I found him disgusting, at every part. Shudders.
This part will be spoilery. But I cannot not mention it. It is the one thing I hated about this book and I sadly will not be forgiving it for that. The main girl is nineteen years old. And the leader of this cult is twice her age. He was thirty-eight years old. And she starts a relationship with him near the end of the book, sexual and emotional. And it bothers me. So very much. He was way too old. It was not right. And I just cannot see past this. It would have been better, had he been five years older. But he was not. I just hated it so.
I suppose this was included to make us see how wrong that he was as a person, how he got everyone believing in him and his project. But to me it was simply wrong. Because he was so old. And she was so young. And he was using her from the very beginning. I understand why she was so vulnerable. And my heart was aching for her. But my gosh. This should not have happened in the book. At all. And is why I'm giving it two stars, and not three. It might just be a me thing. But yeah. It was not at all for me. That's that.
Still. Even though The Project was not everything that I had hoped it would be, I am still glad that I read it. And I am still glad that I am about to own three copies of it to collect. Oops. Regular hardcover, special edition, and the advance reader's copy edition too. Sigh. I just adore Courtney too much. And I love this cover. And I cannot wait to read what she writes next. But sadly, this book was not for me. But I do think that others would love it, and I must know what you all think of it. I wish that I could have loved this more.