For my first review, I wanted to do a book that I was super excited about when it first came out, enter The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass.
Before we dive head-first into a review of this wonderful book, I’m going to explain how I plan on reviewing.
I’ll start by giving a short synopsis of the book in the hot seat, then talk about the characters (strengths and weaknesses), the author’s style and voice, what I really liked, and what I didn’t. In the end, I’ll wrap it up in a pretty little bow for you.
The story is about five siblings, the main character being Castella (Castley) Cresswell, who live in a rundown home with their parents out in the middle of the woods of New York. Their father receives messages from God and he runs their lives and their little home church, which turns out to be more of a cult. All of the children have never known the difference, but Castley begins to see that her father might not be right. At school, she has to be partners with George Gray, who is so normal it’s almost irritating, and he helps her slowly understand that her father is a fake. Her world begins to expand and she starts breaking the rules that her father has made for the family, and if they aren’t followed, there are strict consequences. At the climax of the book, her father receives a message from God that they are to return to their “heavenly home.” Castley realizes that she has to expose her father’s lies and save her siblings from the horrors that they will face if she doesn’t.
The main character, Castley, is simply written in the beginning, but at the end, she became more complex and like a normal person. Her brothers and sisters have the same development from beginning to end. The adult characters are more complicated and their secrets and earlier lives were revealed during the climax and resolution, which made you go back to the beginning of the book and understand their motivations.
This is the first published book by Eliza Wass. I really liked her style, even though it took a little bit to get used to. Her sentences were choppier than what I would have expected or liked, but it worked with the story. You could see her quirky and cool side come out the more she wrote, especially when she talked about scenery and places. If she publishes another book, I will definitely buy and read it.
The parts that I most enjoyed were when Castley was experiencing new things for the very first time, like kissing a boy or sneaking out to hang out with normal people from her school. Wass’ writing was unique in the sense that I felt as if I were really there, experiencing them with her! I didn’t like how close she was to one sibling, but very distant from the others, but maybe that’s just me being an only child and wishing that I could’ve grown up with close siblings.
Overall, I would give this book the rating of 8.5/10. It mostly lived up to the hype that surrounded it right before it was released, but not all the way that I wished it would. But the cover is beautiful, and I like the naked cover more than the sleeve actually.
If you haven’t read this book, I would suggest that you do if you like horror, cult fiction, religion, family, drama, and/or young adult literature. It’s an easy read and only took me two afternoons.
Go check it out on Goodreads if you’re interested in reading it.