Reading books about cults is a one of my favorite things. I also am a huge fan of Mona Awad’s fever dream writing and I was stoked when Alcove Press sent me a copy of Lauren Danhof’s It’s Not A Cult.
Glinda Glass’ mom is not in a cult, at least that’s what she keeps saying. When Mrs. Glass agrees to marry the leader of the Starlight Pioneer Society, Glinda is desperate to find a way to get her mother out of the society. But college dropout and current Renaissance Fair wrench Glinda isn’t known for her good ideas, and nothing is going as she planned.
I really wanted to love this story. I love quirky books and while this one can definitely be labelled quirky, which a comparison to Mona Awad’s Bunny, I expected so much more. I found most of the characters to be one dimensional and besides Glinda’s younger sister West, I never felt the need to root for any of our characters. Glinda in particular is frustrating with her flawed logic and rash decisions.
The base premise of the story is fascinating, but I kept waiting for it to get better, and it just never delivered for me. I wanted more from the cult aspect (the who, why, and when) and with that Bunny comparison I kept waiting for the fever dream writing to kick. If you’ve read Bunny you know the kind of weird and surreal writing I’m talking about, how this was every comparable to it is a mystery to me.
While the execution needed work, this was a cute story with a focus on how grief can tear a family apart. If you’re looking for a family saga/drama with witty and somewhat funny antics than you’ll enjoy this book.
It’s Not a Cult comes out August 22, 2023. Huge thank you to Alcove Press for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.