CW: child neglect, parental abandonment, and cultic behavior
I got this book from a book subscription box, so I honestly had no idea what the book was going to be. When I saw it was this one, I wasn’t sure what to think since, well, I’d never heard of it.
By the time I had read the description, I knew it was going to be an interesting read, whether I liked it or not.
Rooney is a teenage girl with a little brother, Daniel. Their parents are divorced and they live with their mom. However, their mom wouldn’t quite be called normal or good. She’s a part of the Next World Society (NWS), an alien cult that is a lot like Heaven’s Gate. If you’re not familiar with that cult, there’s a fantastic podcast that I listened to earlier this year.
November 17th, though, is going to be the day that the members of NWS depart from the earth.
The story is told from Rooney’s perspective as she tries to hold it all together while her mom just focuses on NWS and departure. Her mom lost her job. Their only income is child support and the money Rooney makes working. She’s in her senior year, so the rush of college applications. Then she also has to parent her younger brother and mother, and provide.
It’s a lot.
What this book was mainly about was the healing of a family unit. It’s incredibly broken and only gets worse as the book goes on, but there is healing in it. There’s making peace with what’s happened and happening, then moving forward with it. I really loved that part.
And, I got so emotionally invested in this?? I wasn’t expecting that. Part of it is that I’m very familiar with Heaven’s Gate — both from the podcast and taking a New Religious Movements course where we spent about a week on it — so I knew what happened in reality, so I wondered how dark this book would go.
There were some elements I didn’t like, such as it wrapping up too quickly and neatly, but I really enjoyed this. A solid YA debut that took me by complete surprise.
Do you know of any other YA books that deal with cults?
Have you read this one? Let me know your thoughts!