Author: Marissa Kennerson
Publication Date: October 8th, 2014
Publisher: Full Fathom Five Digital
Summary from Goodreads: Just like any average seventeen year old, Twig loves her family. She has a caring mother and a controlling father. Her brothers are sisters are committed to her family’s prosperity…
All one hundred and eighty three of them.
Twig lives in the Family, a collective society located in the rainforest of Costa Rica. The Family members coexist with the values of complete openness and honesty, and a shared fear of contagious infection in the outside world.
So when Adam, their Father, prophet, and savior, announces that Twig will be his new bride, she is overjoyed and honored. But when an injury forces her to leave the grounds, Twig finds that the world outside is not necessarily as toxic as she was made to believe. When she meets Leo, an American boy with a killer smile, she begins to question everything about her life within the Family, and the cult to which she belongs.
But when it comes to your Family, you don’t always get a choice.
I haven’t read a lot of books dealing with cults…the one or two that I have read haven’t really been up my alley and I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy them, no matter how I tried. While I was worried this book would follow that same pattern, I wanted to give it a shot anyway, because it had such an interesting premise, and I was full of curiosity as to how the book would play out.
From the first page of The Family, I knew I was going to enjoy it. The way the story was told was incredible, and it gave a really interesting look into what it is like to live in a cult like the one Twig lives in.
The story starts off with Twig getting her friend Rose ready to get married. She is set to marry another from their cult – Thomas. Since their marriages are arranged, they never know who they’ll end up marrying, but Rose and Thomas are good together, so there aren’t any worries for her. It sets Twig to wondering what her own marriage will be like, and who she will marry.
Then she finds out – she will be marrying Adam. Adam is their leader, their provider, and their “father.” He is also already married to Tina – and they have a daughter together (who is Twig’s age…talk about weird). Well, Adam has decided to make Twig his bride so he can have more children. Twig doesn’t really know how to feel…is she pleased about her upcoming marriage to him? Maybe just a bit – she know she should be excited and feel special, but as time goes by, she realizes that Adam may not be as protective and loving as she once thought.
A fall from a horse while out riding lands Twig in the hospital, where she meets a boy her age named Leo. Leo is staying in Costa Rica (where their “Family” compound is also located, by the way), on a family vacation, and the two of them talk at the hospital. Since Twig has always been told that those who live outside the compound are “infected” and “diseased,” she isn’t sure how to react to being around so many people. Adam promises her that she is alright because of the healing rituals he had preformed previously, and she would not get infected by the outsiders. When she is checked out of the hospital against the will of the doctors and nurses, she begins to discover the differences between life in and out of the compound – and what Adam is really like, and it’s not the nice guy she had once thought.
She starts going along with Thomas on the weekly trips to the town to get supplies, and she finds herself spending more and more time with Leo, and falling for him. But she still has to marry Adam, and there are so many mysteries going on in Twig’s life – and some of them will shock her quite a bit.
This book had a bit of insta-love going on, and I found myself questioning how Leo and Twig had gotten along so well so quickly, but at the same time, it was Twig’s first relationship, and it was cute to see how it developed. It was eye-opening to see how the Family operated, and how things were run in the compound – it was kind of scary, actually.
There wasn’t a boring moment in this book, and for that, I loved it. Every chapter was vital to the story, and it was interesting to see how Twig’s character developed once she started leaving the compound to go and help Thomas with the errands. She stood up for herself and questioned things that were happening…even if she risked getting punished (and the punishments that Adam gave out were pretty harsh). It was definitely different!
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Marissa Kennerson received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her master’s degree in psychology and art therapy, she worked for Wired and Glamour. She lives in California with her family. The Family is her first novel (Full Fathom Five Digital) and will be coming out October 2014.