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The Project    by Courtney Summers order for
by Courtney Summers
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Courtney Summers writes extraordinary (empathetic, insightful, and credible) YA novels about young women in extremis, for example Cracked Up To Be, Some Girls Are and Fall for Anything. Now, in The Project, she shows us from the inside how easily young people at their most vulnerable can be enticed into a cult.

Lo (who had always wanted to be a writer) is a young journalist, who works for renowned investigative reporter Paul Tindale. When Lo was a young teenager, a car accident killed her parents and left her severely injured, with a long, slow recovery ahead of her and permanent scarring. Bea, the older sister who loved her dearly, could not cope. She left Lo to the care of their great-aunt Patty and joined The Unity Project, led by charismatic Lev Warren (who managed to convince her that he saved her sister's life).

The story moves back and forth in time, revealing what happened to Bea and Lo, from both their points of view. We first join Lo as she watches a Unity Project member commit suicide. When Paul refuses to investigate the Project, Lo starts to do it on her own, tired of being only a desk jockey. She learns that she is well known to Project members, who had all heard of her and her miracle cure. She also finds that Bea has left the group. Her whereabouts are unknown, but she has left something important behind.

Readers watch as Lo, initially extremely skeptical, is pulled in to the Project herself - and wonder if all can possibly end well. This is another excellent, thought provoking, often harrowing story from Courtney Summers; don't miss it!

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