“Courtney Summers is back with another electric gut-punch of a novel, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have found myself a quivering mass of emotion after turning the last page of The Project. Only Summers can perfectly encapsulate the dueling states of fragility and ferocity that exist within young women when they find themselves alone in a world that isn’t designed to protect them from harm. I dare you to pick up this brilliant novel about two sisters and a mysterious cult — you won’t be able to put it down.”
— Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
The Project is a pulls-no-punches story from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author Courtney Summers, about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister no matter the cost.
The #1 Indie Next Pick and winner of the International Thriller Writers Award.
BELIEVE HIM, BETRAY HER
1998: Six-year-old Bea doesn’t want a sister but everything changes when Lo is born early. Small and frail, Lo needs someone to look out for her. Having a sister is a promise, Mom says—one Bea’s determined not to break.
2011: A car wreck, their parents dead. Lo would’ve died too if not for Lev Warren, the charismatic leader of The Unity Project. He’s going to change the world and after he saves Lo’s life, Bea wants to commit to his extraordinary calling. Lev promises a place for the girls in the project, where no harm will ever come to them again . . . if Bea proves herself to him first.
2017: Lo doesn’t know why Bea abandoned her for The Unity Project after the accident, but she never forgot what Bea said the last time they spoke: We’ll see each other again. Six years later, Lo is invited to witness the group’s workings, meet with Lev, and—she hopes—finally reconnect with her sister. But Bea is long gone, and the only one who seems to understand the depths of this betrayal is Lev. If it’s family Lo wants, he can make her a new promise . . . if she proves herself to him first.
Powerful, suspenseful and heartbreaking, The Project follows two sisters who fall prey to the same cult leader—and their desperate fight back to one another.
* Winner of the International Thriller Award *
* A Spring 2021 Indie Next Pick *
* One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2021 *
"[A] deeply disconcerting investigative thriller that seems unassuming but worms under the skin and into the mind...Winding questions of faith and sacrifice into an already fibrous plot, Summers presents a rich offering that lingers even as it shocks." - Booklist (Starred Review)
"The beauty of the story lies in its focus on the downtrodden, the vulnerable, and the earnest, expressed with an enormous amount of empathy. A powerful, suspenseful, and heartbreaking thriller about identity, sisterhood, and belonging." - Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Masterfully written and pulling no punches...Summers creates and sustains almost unbearable tension, exploring sacrifice, loss, forgiveness, miracles, surrender, grief, and lies. Readers will question the truth and everyone’s motivations in this world full of manipulation and mind games. A gripping, flawless psychological thriller ready to leave readers shattered." - School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"In this compelling and absorbing YA novel, two sisters make the most painful of choices based on their love for one another." - Shelf Awareness
"This is a beautifully-written, compelling book about the lengths to which someone will go in order not to lose their sense of belonging. It’s full of twists and turns, keeping its readers guessing until the very end. The characterisation is masterfully done and so empathetic that the reader will find it almost impossible not to sympathise with the characters even if they are seemingly going down the wrong path." - The Nerd Daily
"A must-read for anyone who wonders how people fall victim to cults, this novel is likewise a sure hit for anyone who prizes tautly crafted, emotionally driven suspense." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This book is brave and raw and exciting and wise—wise about girls and women, weakness and strength, and the bittersweet beauty of being human." - Melissa Albert, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood Series
"Masterful and devastating. The Project welcomes you into its world with the warmth of a minister and peels back the psychology of its characters—joiners and questioners alike—with a precision only Courtney Summers is capable of. Trust me: there is no flaw in The Project." - Somaiya Daud, international bestselling author of Mirage and Court of Lions
"Courtney Summers has done it again: Broke my heart and pieced it back together in unexpected ways. The Project is a beautiful, thrilling testament to love. It takes a compelling deep dive into what makes people want to belong and you'll leave it gasping for air. This book is a baptism for your soul." - Maurene Goo, author of Somewhere Only We Know and The Way You Make Me Feel
"Completely electrifying from start to finish—I can't think of another writer who takes the risks Courtney Summers does and sticks the landing every single time." - Kara Thomas, author of The Cheerleaders and The Darkest Corners
"Courtney Summers has, once again, written a devastatingly perfect novel. The Project will charm you, thrill you, and ultimately gut you, all while challenging every preconceived notion you had about cults and our relationship with them." - Kaitlin Ward, author of Girl in a Bad Place and Lie to Me
Praise for Courtney Summers:
"A riveting tour de force." - Kirkus (Starred Review) on Sadie
"Summers excels at slowly unspooling both Sadie’s and West’s investigations at a measured, tantalizing pace." - Booklist (Starred Review) on Sadie
"A heartrending must-have." - School Library Journal (Starred Review) on Sadie
"A taut, suspenseful book about abuse and power." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Sadie
"Flat-out dazzling." - A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window on Sadie
"A haunting, gut-wrenching, and relentlessly compelling read." - Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carve the Mark and The Divergent series on Sadie
"The propulsive, riveting novel that started it all." - Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret on Cracked Up to Be
"Cracked Up to Be was my first introduction to the vicious brilliance that is Courtney Summers. Right from the opening lines, that breathless hammering of beats that illustrate the terrifying and true experience of high school, I knew I was in the hands of a writer who would be honest with her readers, who would even be brutal. This book changed me as a reader and as a writer. I could never go back again. After being gutted by a Summers novel, why would anyone want to?" —Nova Ren Suma, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Walls Around Us
"Cracked Up to Be is a blisteringly realistic exploration of high school and the trauma that can occur during adolescence. Its brutally honest portrayal of Parker Fadley and her world is unforgettable. A modern classic." —Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of The Revolution of Birdie Randolph and Little & Lion
“This book is a raw, exposed nerve: all the mess we shouldn’t see, shouldn’t be, wrapped up in the story of one unforgettable girl. Courtney Summers and Cracked Up to Be rewrote the rules and for that I am forever grateful.” — Rebecca Barrow, author of This Is What It Feels Like
“Parker Fadley is THE seminal unlikable female character of modern young adult literature. One of my favorite books of all time, Cracked Up to Be is absolutely riveting from first page to last.” - Laurie Devore, author of How to Break a Boyand Winner Take All