"When a killer storm unexpectedly hits Manhattan, seventeen-year-old Lilah Stellow’s dad insists that she and her younger sister, Flori, take refuge at their cabin in the mountains. But instead of joining them with the experimental drug that keeps Lilah alive, he disappears just as news reports name him as a prime suspect in an act of ecoterrorism.
As days pass without her medicine, Lilah finds herself teetering on the edge, caring for her sister, and growing increasingly certain they’re being watched. In her search for answers, Lilah is thrown into the center of a mystery involving an off-the-grid research facility and finds herself drawn in by Daniel, an intriguing boy who is the son of the lead scientist. As she dares to seek answers, Lilah slowly realizes that even the best intentions can go horribly wrong."
YA Mystery with an excellent touch of suspense, The Stellow Project is a story of Lilah Stellow who is running from a storm. Once she has taken shelter with Flori (her younger sister) at her father's cabin and the storm dies away, a lot of drama follows. Lilah is desperate for her meds (because of her life-threatening conditions), her supply running dangerously low. Eventually, it does and Lilah is found to be able to survive with them. It begs the question of... What exactly is her father hiding from Lilah?
Now, the plot starts off right in the middle of the storm. It should be a dramatic entrance, but the tone isn't quite right. It takes about two or three chapters for me to truly sink into the book. The book starts off slowly, but it picks up speed around Daniel's appearance. Amazingly, the book doesn't stop until the very end.
The mystery of Lilah's father's disappearance definitely sparks many questions and accusations. Lilah (and the readers) is forced to wade through stories, lies, and most hidden of all, truths. Although there isn't much information from the book, it is enough to keep me interested and not frustrated. I simply love guessing who is the evil villain truly and whether or not everything Lilah knows is simply lies. Everything in The Stellow Project is a big question mark, and nothing can truly be trusted, which gives an edge of excitement.
As the sole narrator, Lilah is struggling to simply survive. But once she is off her meds and protected by a seemingly kind research facility with soldiers, Lilah realizes that there is something the facility is hiding. Mostly alone, Lilah searches for the truth among it all and continues to look for her missing father whose location is unknown. With the help of Daniel, Lilah starts forming a small attempt at information and finds shocking discoveries.
Daniel is a much better character than Lilah. Intriguing and well-rounded, Daniel tries his best to help Lilah (who pushes him away). At his core is a small boy who still believes in doing the right thing.
Overall, The Stellow Project is a thrilling mystery with suspenseful moments. Though it possesses a slow beginning and some gaps in the plot, the book starts spiraling out of control (all in Shari Becker's control, of course) and greatly entertains me. I would recommend this to anyone of 12 + who loves a suspenseful combo of simple romance and adventure and mystery.
Rating: Three out of Five