I recieved this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Review: I came into this book not knowing what to expect, just having been intrigued enough to request an advanced copy, and I was pleasantly surprised. Though short, an incredible amount of development occurred. I really enjoyed the religious aspect of the book, which I was surprised by. Even as the book made clear that the Cresswell family took part in a harmful form of religion, religion as a whole was never condemned by the author, which I thought was so important. There was very little romance that occurred, and I was so happy about that. And when it was there, it was not only focused on one couple. However, I will admit, I was put off by the idea of incest. It was certainly not approved of, and was shown to be wrong, but I was a little wary. I loved Castley’s development. It was so natural and felt so right for her situation.The development for everyone in the family was amazing. There was a fair amount of surprises, which was great! I do wish this had been just a bit longer, though. I feel like if it was, the plot development and minor character development would have reached a whole new level. I also wish there had been more about their family history. I would’ve loved to see more about their father’s and his reasons for becoming who he was, and his motives for doing the things he does at the end. Overall, this was a very good book that I enjoyed immensely. I’m so glad to have received the ARC!