Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
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.
–Possible Spoilers! Read at your own risk!–
“But that’s what life is like; it blinds you. It makes you think you’ll never escape. But you will. You will if you keep fighting, even if sometimes you don’t know what you’re fighting for.”
The Cresswell plot was a dark, creepy, and gripping novel that I’m still not really sure how I feel about.
It’s hard for me to review this book because I personally have very little knowledge about strict religious families, or religion at all really. I can’t tell if these children’s reactions were true to life or not, because things that seem clearly wrong aren’t wrong to them.
The Cresswell children: Castella (our narrator), Hannan, Delvive, Casper, Mortimer, and Jerusalem all listen and accept their father’s religious teachings without a second thought.
And it was scary. So scary to see them get punished for the simplest things and to accept it with only minimal acts of rebellion. So scary to see them turn on each other in fear of God or their father punishing them. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
“‘Because I can’t tell if you’re lying. I can’t tell whether you’re telling the truth or not. I can’t ever tell.'”
For some of the children, you just couldn’t tell how much they believed in what their father told them and where their loyalties lay.
“When you were living a life you hated, there was absolutely nothing worse than the people who were living the life you wanted.”
I really felt for Castley, all she wanted was to be a regular teenage girl. She could be kind of annoying and make stupid decisions, but I blame most of it on the cruel way she was raised.
“Most people, the so-called “good people,” looked that other way when we crossed the street, like my teachers never looked me in the eye when they noticed my wrists were bruised”
Also, can we talk about the fact that these children literally have ALL OF THE SIGNS of abuse (bruises, burn marks, haunted looks in their eyes) and nobody cares?
Is this what happens in real life? Because if it is, we humans need to get our act together. I didn’t think I’d need to say this, but ABUSE IS NOT OKAY. Nor can it be ignored or brushed aside. If you’re constantly seeing bruises on children, or actually know that they’re psycho father is locking them up in some weird sewer, you do something about it.
I have never been this upset with a made up town.
The ending was also a little disappointing. There were a lot of things left in the open and I still have a ton of unanswered questions. Especially about Mr. and Mrs. Cresswell, I mean I hated their father, but I was also really curious about him and his past and why he became the way he is. And I can’t forget about that mysterious carved star!
“He looked like someone who could have had any life he wanted. So why had he chosen this one?”
Overall, the Cresswell Plot was one creepy ride, but I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters and I really just wanted more from the ending.
“Sometimes love was a spell people put you under to keep you from seeing who they really were.”
*Disclaimer: all quotes were taken from an ARC copy of this novel that was kindly sent to me from BigHonchoMedia and DisneyHyperion
3 out of 5 stars
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