The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
This is one of those books that you just can't put down because it's such a foreign way of life, such a different way of seeing the world, that you find it fascinating. The Cresswells are a fanatic religious family, and we meet them at point where the children are old enough to start questioning their father's motives while leading his family.
Okay, we have Castley and her five siblings. Their father is some sort of religious fanatic that believes he is a prophet. He actually has created his own Bible-like book that the family reads from each night. They Cresswells are regimented and have little contact with the outside world, aside from attending school.
Castley is set apart from her peers and her five siblings because she is the first to really get the ball rolling on the what-is-going-on-in-my-family-is-this-normal-should-I-get-out-now train. I enjoyed seeing this world through Castley's eyes, as someone who doesn't know who she is or what to believe anymore. Castley meets is forced to spend time with someone outside of her family for her drama class, and starts to see question if she really belongs in this world her father has created. Her questioning causes upsets with all of the family dynamics. Will she leave? Will she (or can she) take her siblings with her?
This was a book that I couldn't put down, which has been a rarity for me with the newest crop of published works this year. It was haunting and made me think in all the right ways about why I am the way I am. The Cresswell Plot is really geared toward young adults ages 14-18, grades 9-12, but honestly I think it's really for us adults that love YA. If you had to give it to a kid, it would be best suited for the upper end of those age groups. There are some very strong images of control and emotional abuse that students without the proper mindset could find frightening. As a teacher, I would be hesitant to recommend this book to a student unless I knew he/she could handle it emotionally and intellectually. As a lover of young adult fiction, I'm not hesitating to recommend this book to my adult peers. Ya'll can handle it.
TL/DR: The Cresswell Plot is a page-turner, made to make you think about how the world as you know it works, and if it should be that way in the first place.
Rating: Four stars for such an interesting way of life, and because this book made me think about how I see the world and how the world sees me.
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