Summary (from Goodreads):
“The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.
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.”
This is such an unsettling story and I spent much of the book not sure exactly what was going on. My sympathies were with Castley and her siblings, but there kept being these little flashes that maybe Father was a prophet. (Most of the time, though, it was obvious he was actually just really crazy. Still, it happened just often enough that I was like, What if he is actually right?! I feel like We Were Liars has ruined me and given me unreasonable hope for twists.)
I enjoyed this novel, which made an unfortunate bout of insomnia more enjoyable than it would normally be. And I am a huge fan of stories where people break out of tiny boxes and start to really experience life.
I wish this book had been longer, because everything seemed incredibly rushed. It would’ve been nice to see why Castley stopped trusting her dad…although at the same time, reading it as a 36-year-old, it seems really obvious (“because he is crazy”).