by Marissa Kennerson
Publisher: Full Fathom Five Digital
Release Date: October 8th 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Cult
Just like any average seventeen year old, Twig loves her family. She has a caring mother and a controlling father. Her brothers are sisters are committed to her family’s prosperity…
All one hundred and eighty three of them.
Twig lives in the Family, a collective society located in the rainforest of Costa Rica. The Family members coexist with the values of complete openness and honesty, and a shared fear of contagious infection in the outside world.
So when Adam, their Father, prophet, and savior, announces that Twig will be his new bride, she is overjoyed and honored. But when an injury forces her to leave the grounds, Twig finds that the world outside is not necessarily as toxic as she was made to believe. When she meets Leo, an American boy with a killer smile, she begins to question everything about her life within the Family, and the cult to which she belongs.
But when it comes to your Family, you don’t always get a choice.
The Family was such a thrilling read from the very first page. The novel gives an in-depth look at a cult through the eyes of a teenage girl. Even though Twig is faithful to the group’s leader, she starts to have underlying doubts about everything that has been taught to her from the beginning. This especially comes into play after she gets a small taste of what it’s like to be in the “outside world”, and Twig seriously considers escaping from the life she’s always known.
Right off the bat I noticed that Twig was very different from the others in her “family”. Not only is she intelligent, but she is also a bit wary of the rules and the cult’s leader Adam, while the others are seem very trusting of his every word. Twig is kind, caring, loyal to her family, and quite brave considering she sneaks around in the forest for solitude without being caught. She is also a bit naive, and this is to be expected since she was force fed lies from when she was a young child. She’s not sure who to trust, but becomes a lot smarter over the course of the novel. She begins to follow her own instincts and start asking some serious questions in order to get to the bottom of things.
One of the reasons this book is so thrilling and a bit frightening is because stories like Twig’s pop up in the news now more than ever before. It’s scary to think that there are people out there who steal girls, boys, and even adults from their homes and take them into these cults. A lot of the time, there is so much psychological damage done to these individuals that their minds cannot always be undone.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel. There was smooth plot progression throughout the entire story and the book constantly keeps the reader entertained. An added bonus was that it was cleverly split up into three separate sections as well. I also think it would have been cool if we got to see a pov’s from some of the other major characters in the book. Considering this is Kennerson’s first novel, I think she did a excellent job of weaving together a gripping and dramatic story.
Marissa Kennerson received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her master’s degree in psychology and art therapy, she worked for Wired and Glamour. She lives in California with her family. The Family is her first novel (Full Fathom Five Digital) and will be coming out October 2014.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.