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The Cresswell Plot Paperback – October 10, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Castley (Castella) Cresswell is a triplet and one of six children born to a self-styled prophet of the Lord, who is content to rule his family's insular and fundamentalist religious "cult" from a dilapidated home in the woods of upstate New York. Father has written his own confounding book of revelations and beliefs that the children must study along with the Bible in a home where food can be in short supply when selling refurbished junk doesn't bring in enough money. A mostly silent and disabled mother, whose legs never healed when God was the chosen doctor, looks on while the three boys and three girls, whom their father has matched up together to be holy spouses in heaven, attempt to get by in the town high school, where they are typically treated like freaks. Two of Castella's brothers endure physical privations and spiritual punishment due to their interest in girls outside of the family, while Castella flirts with the lures of the outside world after being partnered up with George, a talkative freshman in drama class who wants to draw her out. This claustrophobic novel has little to recommend it to teens: no relatable plot, few convincing or compelling characters, and lots of bizarre lifestyle depictions make the impending crisis of the Cresswell family little more than a head-scratching curiosity. Readers may be unclear whether the book's goals include establishing quirkiness or eliciting sympathy for the children of a dangerous religious fanatic. VERDICT This attempt at gritty outsider realistic fiction is unlikely to draw converts.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"One of the best books I've read this year."―Louise O?Neill, author of Only Ever Yours and Asking For It
"A debut novel you definitely don't want to miss... You'll be captivated by its dark, rich world."―Bustle
"Wass's novel delivers one emotional blow after another... Castley's narration never falters in this harrowing portrait of a family undergoing desperate change."―Horn Book
"Gripping."―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Debut author Wass fashions a haunting family portrait centered on the power of belief."―Publishers Weekly
"A breathtaking, gut-wrenching coming-of-age saga. Readers will be swept into the Cresswells' claustrophobic world and ache for them long after it's set aflame . . . [A] page-turner along the compulsive lines of Flowers in the Attic."―Kirkus Reviews
"As dark and lovely-and, at times, as chilling-as a midnight stroll through the deepest woods. Wass is a startlingly brilliant new voice with a can't-miss debut."―Kiersten White, New York Times best-selling author of And I Darken and Paranormalcy
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Top customer reviews
the book is dark, haunting, and intense. it has a kind of fervor about it that just made me dig deeper and deeper into it until there was no more to read. i loved it.
I am not sure how to even start this review. My first thought at this family was horror. People live like this, even today! Mom is mostly absent from their lives and their father is horrible. This is religion gone so wrong. Can you imagine living without power and water? That’s barbaric. As Castella describes her brother/intended I was dumbfounded. Her father not only suggested incest between his three female and three male children, he demanded it. The kids all struggled with reconciling God with their lives.
Okay, although this story was weird, I was strangely fascinated by it. Castella’s response to her situation is believable and heartbreaking. Castella sees her brothers getting punished and sent to a cave, and this action catapults her questioning everything about their lives. Since their mother is mostly silent and their father is off the deep end, the children are left to figure things out for themselves. Castella gets a little help working things out because she makes a friend at school. His view of her helps her to understand that things are really wrong at home. I was sated with this friendship, even though it ended sort of in a hurry.
Although the context was somewhat unsettling, I found this book mostly entertaining. I don’t feel like I wasted my time reading this, it was just a really different type of read then I am used to. I had more than a few questions after I read this book, loads of things were left unanswered. I doubt this book will appeal to a lot of YA readers, it is really out there. The climax of this story was a bit disappointing, but I liked where Castella ended up.
However, Castley is strongly bonded with her siblings and spends most of the book walking that fine line that many of us have had to walk in our lives—honoring our families and honoring ourselves. My heart ached for Castley and her brothers and sisters. Looking in from the outside, I could see what those outside the family saw when looking that them. I wanted to help them, but as Wass draws you into the story, you start to understand why, perhaps, it isn’t as easy to leave if you are living on the inside. When the big family secret is revealed, I was as shocked as Castley’s siblings to learn the truth. I was so wrapped up in their struggle that the reveal knocked me upside the head in an expected fashion.
I would definitely recommend The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass. Wass is able to create a world that is fascinating, mystical and heart breaking. The truth behind the grit and grime shines bright in an unexpected way in this debut novel.
Most recent customer reviews
This book started so awesome! And then… ugh!
I think the best way to explained is like this…
Take a very valuable porcelain...Read more