Read The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson Online


Ruby Jane Galbraith is empty. Her family has been torn apart and it's all her fault.The only thing that makes sense to her is Fox - a gentle new friend who is wise, soulful and clever, yet oddly naive about the ways of the world. He understands what she's going through and he offers her a chance to feel peace. Fox belongs to a group called the Institute of the Sublime - anRuby Jane Galbraith is empty. Her family has been torn apart and it's all her fault.The only thing that makes sense to her is Fox - a gentle new friend who is wise, soulful and clever, yet oddly naive about the ways of the world. He understands what she's going through and he offers her a chance to feel peace. Fox belongs to a group called the Institute of the Sublime - and Ruby can't stay away from him. So she is also drawn in to what she too late discovers is a terrifying secretive community that is far from the ideal world she expected.Can Ruby find the courage to escape? Is there any way she can save Fox too? And is there ever really an escape from the far-reaching influence of the Institute of the Sublime?...

Title : The Boundless Sublime
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781952534461
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 337 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Boundless Sublime Reviews

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    2019-07-04 15:46

    Okay that was sufficiently disturbing and I admit I couldn't look away. I actually really hate cult books??? Because I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE CAN BE THAT STUPID. But I was sent this for review and I wanted to give it a try. Benefit of a doubt and all that. And honestly I was hooked in the sense that I felt like I was watching a train wreck and...ya know. Couldn't look away. But TRAIN (!!) WRECK (!!!). I'm so disturbed. All the disturbed. omg.So the biggest problem I have with cult books is: why. Like at the beginning I get that Ruby is running to this cult to escape. Her little brother is dead and her family's broken up and she's in deep depression. She joins the cult. Gets all into it. AND THEN GETS SUDDENLY TOTALLY BRAIN WASHED. Now brain washing is a real thing. But...but I just don't get it. Like my mind is trying to convince me that it could happen, but I am sitting here like "but how could you be so frikkin stupid". So that's why cult books don't work for me. I don't see how you can look at a cult and go "this surely can't go wrong". OF COURSE IT'S GOING TO GO WRONG. IT'S A CULT.Oh dear, I apologise. It's not a "cult". Literally this is how the cult leader was:Cult Leader: I know you're wondering if we're a cult.Ruby: Kind fo.Cult Leader: Well we're not.Cult Leader: we just live in a secluded commune, all dress the same, hate the outside world, believe we need to purify our bodies for end times, have a very restricted diet, worship the cult leader as a godish figure, and abuse members when they don't do what they're told.Cult Leader: Not a cult.Ruby: Okay.I maybe wanted to harm Ruby. Oops. I'm usually a very nice person. But, like, her mother is in THE THROES OF GRIEF and Ruby just runs off to join this cult???? She's such a selfish character the whole time, I couldn't really root for her. I thought her attraction with Fox, a very innocent cult-grown boy, was adorable...but she only wanted him for a distraction too. And I felt the book was promoting that love can take away your depression. Like Ruby hadn't felt anything in weeks, since her brother's death, but Fox = feelings. Okay. So that's nice. But literally EVERY DECISION RUBY MAKES IS FOR FOX. She only joins the cult to be close to him! I felt she was actually such a weak character because all of her decisions were based on romance.Until all her decisions were based on this sickening adoration of the cult leader. Who they all call "Daddy". I did so love Fox!HE'S SUCH AN ADORABLE LITTLE CABBAGE. He's totally naive and sensitive and adorable and loves to smile and do happy things and just...afjdaksld FOX. Although I hated Ruby a lot when (view spoiler)[after she and Fox were all smooching and got caught, beaten, locked up...she literally lost all affection for him. like. Boom. Gone. Nada. Even when she though he was dead? SHE DIDN'T EVEN THINK MUCH ABOUT IT???????? Like I get that she was brain washed. But this is not endearing her to me at all. Plus Fox's "death" was so anticlimactic I knew he couldn't really be dead. Which I'm actually thankful for because he's so precious. (hide spoiler)]Also, the food. THE GROSS FOOD. Like even if Ruby hadn't noticed any of the other MEGA HUGE WARNING SIGNS that were constantly thrown at her: if you go to a place where they feed you food like this, you leave. Immediately.Two women I hadn't met before came in to help Newton get dinner ready -- broccoli stalk "pasta" with green beans and sage, buckwheat and endive tabouleh, and a snow pea and chicory salad with hazelnuts.They also ate like SUPER salty gruel and water with sulphur in it, which sulphur is descried as having the flavour of rotten eggs.[insert Cait throwing up a little here]Okay, but I mean, IT WASN'T A BAD BOOK OR ANYTHING! As far as cult books go...hahah. It just wasn't my thing. Because of the aforementioned problem of not comprehending how people could get sucked into this. Ahem. But like the writing was good, it was very addictive and I couldn't put it down until I'd read the first 130-pages. I love love loved Fox's character! And there were some seriously "NOOOOOO" plot twists at the end that had me shrieking. So yeah, I hated Ruby, but I was still rather invested in finding out if everything could work out.But that food. I mean. They don't even cook food because that's evil apparently, so like, just raw vegetables? I'm actually in pain. ew.

  • Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
    2019-07-10 18:50

    This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews! Actual rating: 2.5It’s no surprise: cults are disturbing. People will mindlessly follow a leader, who will brainwash them to do things without question. The Boundless Sublime captures this element well, from preying on the weak minded with warmth, inclusion and promises, and descending into the dark heart of human manipulation.Unfortunately, what it takes to progress into a cult is a character who fails to question the warning bells. In her desperation to escape her difficult home life filled with grief from her brother’s death, Ruby wants to be a part of a support network that makes her feel special and important. When she meets the beguiling Fox, she gets lured in by his kind words and his happy demeanour, and before she can question it, she’s in too deep. This happens within the first 20 pages, which had me suspending my disbelief at times with the extremely fast insta-love.From the kind chatter of the Red House to their intellectual talks about life and their healthy food, Ruby soon gets reeled in to the mask of the cult. They believe that people are toxicants, polluting themselves with sugar, artificial foods and material items and people tying them down to the Earth. The way they view people are as mindless zombies who aren’t in control of their bodies. So the Boundless Sublime eat and drink food as close to the natural elements as possible.Despite this being a massive warning bell to Ruby, who at this point starts to question whether it’s a cult, I wanted to yell at her: what looks like a cult, feels like a cult, behaves like a cult but isn’t a cult? Nothing! It was also frustrating how the romance with Fox was the key reason why she decided to leave her family behind and forget about her grieving mum. While Fox is curious like a child, he’s also clueless and has never heard of a straw before, it’s kind of disturbing. I would be running a mile at this grown teenager who seems completely clueless and perhaps reporting him to the authorities. But not Ruby.The narrative is split up into three distinct parts – Ruby’s life before joining the Institute, being at the Institute and meeting the cult leader, and then becoming a fully fledged cultee. The transition between these parts was sudden and jarring, with a quick transition as she gets brainwashed and starts descending into darkness. The last part of the book was really thrilling, filled with twists and darkness that I didn’t see coming. Unfortunately, everything felt too easily resolved especially when some of the more disturbing actions had no repercussions.From the warm inviting glow at the start to the disturbing events at the end of that book, The Boundless Sublime really does explore the dangerous depths of a cult. Unfortunately, it was rather unbelievable at times especially as the cult’s purpose is revealed. I definitely had to suspend my disbelief at times, and was really frustrated with Ruby’s character as she just went along with it. The romance was unconvincing as well and made me feel rather uncomfortable at a few points. I also wasn’t convinced that people would just go along with the crazy schemes of a cult leader, especially when he would pick women to “spend time with him in the Sanctum” and these women would feel blessed that they were picked.With the gullible characters, naïve romance and the radical beliefs of the cult, The Boundless Sublime was a frustrating, yet compelling look into the life of cults. That’s what it takes to demonstrate how these cults can come to life and brainwash people.I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Figgy
    2019-06-27 17:41

    Actual Rating 2.5When you lose someone.Lose. People say that a lot, when someone dies. I’m sorry for your loss.It makes it sound careless, as if my brother were a door key or umbrella, left behind on the train.And the worst part is, they’re right. I was careless. It was me. My loss. I lost him.After the recent loss of her little brother, Ruby Galbraith is floundering, and her mum is having an even harder time functioning.She stopped going to work and answering the phone, and pulled the curtains of her sorrow tightly around herself. She sat all day in the living room, staring at the TV and smoking cigarette after cigarette. Sometimes I’d come home from school and find her, vacant-eyed, with a perfect cylinder of as protruding from pale lips. I’d speak to her, tell her about my day and the outside world, and it would take minutes for the cylinder to tremble and collapse, spilling ash down the front of her dressing-gown.She doesn’t talk about how she’s coping with anyone – with the school counselor, with her friends, with her mum – and the only way she can shut her brain off enough to sleep is by sneaking into nightclubs and dancing until she is exhausted.I welcomed the dark, frenetic facelessness of the dance floor. Nobody stared at me with sympathetic frowns wrinkling their brows. Nobody offered understanding hugs. Nobody shifted their weight uncomfortably as they tried to work out what to say. On the dance floor, I wasn’t Ruby Jane Galbraith. I was just a body, jumping and writhing with all the other bodies. I wasn’t anybody at all.And then she meets Fox, he sees her, he understands the dark hole that she finds herself in, and he gives her hope enough to start to pull herself back out.A jolt somewhere inside me made my knees weak. It had been a long time since I’d felt anything. For the briefest of moments, a spark flared in the darkness.The boy’s eyes were soft and brown, and full of concern and… recognition. I had the oddest feeling that he’d been waiting for me. That we’d been waiting for each other.‘He’s looking at you,’ said Minah. ‘The hot wild angel boy is looking at you.’But he’s only in town for a short time, and has to return to the Institute where he lives… He asks Ruby to go with him. He’s not ready to lose her already, and she’s not ready to let go of the one person who has made her feel… anything since her brother died.Maggie elbowed me in the ribs. ‘You’re going to hear some crazy stuff over the next few days,’ she said, her voice low. ‘Some of it is pretty extreme. Just… go with it. It’s easier than making a fuss. I find it helps to understand it all as a kind of metaphor for life, you know? It’s like the Bible. All the woo-woo is there to help us to process those ideas.’‘Right,’ I said, feeling suddenly nervous.So she ends up at the Institute of the Boundless Sublime, where a man who likes everyone to call him Daddy and claims he’s thousands of years old gives her a new name and tells her she’s extraordinary.The Scintilla will come and light the way for us. The Institute of the Boundless Sublime will rise above all. The Quintus Septum will be vanquished, along with all their pathetic meat-followers. We shall rule the planet, gods of light and science. You, my children, will receive riches and power beyond your wildest imaginings.And I will be everyone’s Daddy.There are all kinds of new rules to learn and the institute – about food, and possessions, and romantic feelings – and what might seem, at first, to be a gathering of like-minded people working towards a common goal, is quickly revealed to be something rather more sinister.Daddy says they’re free to leave at any time, but does he really mean it?The rest of this review can be found HERE!

  • Kate
    2019-06-22 17:40

    Ruby's family fell apart and she blames herself. When she meets Fox, there's an instant connection. He seems to see her when everyone else sees right though her. He's not like anyone else she knows. He is childlishly naive about so many things and yet has a wisdom beyond his years. He offers Ruby a chance to get to know him better and introduces her to The Institute - a commune of sorts. As Ruby starts to spend more time with Fox's family, she also gets to know more about how he lives. Are things how they seem on the surface or is there something more sinister and dangerous about The Institute?I've read a few books about cults in the past. Robin Klein's Someone Might Hear You was one of my favourite books as a teen and I more recently read and adored The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes.The Boundless Sublime blows those other books out of the water.What sets this book apart is how it shows the entire journey. Where other books show you people desperate to leave these sects, The Boundless Sublime explores why someone might find themselves drawn into such a society.Ruby is hurting and very angry at the beginning of the book. Her mother has checked out of reality and her family is in pieces. Then she meets Fox. He represents so much of what she wants. He has a family and wants her to join it. And the Institute does appear to have good values on the surface. Clean living, a lack of dependence on possessions and forgiveness for past sins. Ruby isn't entirely naive to what the Institute may be either. Her best friend tries to tell her she thinks the secretive community may be a cult (complete with yoga and "weird sex stuff"). When Ruby makes the decision to spend more time with Fox and his family at the Institute, she knows what she's giving up but she is captivated by the Institute's offer of a better and happier way of living.The Boundless Sublime is a beguiling and frightening novel. It was scary in just how realistic Ruby's story was. Her seduction by the Institute was believable and made complete sense - which just made it all the more creepy. The choices Ruby made and her journey felt right even with the foreboding sense that something terrible was going to happen to her. There are twists and turns along the way which keep me guessing right up until the end. It's a compelling read you won't want to put down and it will make you look at seemingly harmless things in a completely new light.

  • Rachael
    2019-07-16 14:46

    Holy moly, what a ride! I felt like my eyes were growing rounder and wider with every page. It had me talking to myself, muttering under my breath as I read saying: no, no, not good, don't drink the kool-aid. And then SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! That plot twist!! I flipped out! I exclaimed aloud: NOOOOO!! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!! I was fascinated, horrified, furious, afraid. All the emotions at once. That last quarter was physically impossible to put down. It made my heart pound in my chest. I can totally imagine this on screen. I am now going to feed my toxicant meat sack chocolate to help me recover.

  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    2019-06-20 13:46

    Trigger warnings: psychological abuse, cults, manipulation, implied rape, death of a sibling.This book is...messed up, to be honest. It's the story of a teenage girl whose family has fallen apart after her drunken father accidentally runs over her little brother, killing him. While muddling her way through her grief and her collapsing life, she meets a cute boy and becomes entranced by his naivety. Entranced to the point where she ends up joining a cult to be around him. And then ends up finding herself indoctrinated into the cult.So yeah. It's messed up. But it was so gripping and so compelling, and her descent into indoctrination was so gradual and creepy that I was hooked basically from the first page. It's definitely not an easy book to read, and it's really dark a lot of the time, but it's well worth a read.

  • Lilian
    2019-07-12 13:40

    (3.8 STARS)THIS BOOK WAS SO GRIPPING AND WONDERFUL YET SO HEARTBREAKING AND LIFE AFFIRMING. I adored the characters, screamed at the manipulative assholes and cried when they were in pain. This book is something else, READ IT. "life isn't about self-deprivation, or purity, or immortality. It's about love, and comfort, and music, and ducks on a pond and ice-cream on the beach. It's about pain and grief and joy and sex and boredom and chocolate. Life is for living. So go live."

  • Amanda
    2019-07-10 18:40

    A new novel by a favourite author is always cause for excitement, but after reading The Boundless Sublime, excitement seems like the wrong feeling to have for a book that's quite serious and dark. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, and while I can't describe my reading experience as enjoyable, I did find it easy to read, finishing it in a day, and it certainly gave me a lot to think about.The idea of a young girl joining a cult is an interesting idea for a YA book, and it definitely seems to be a current trend in books and TV. Lili Wilkinson has also produced a series of short videos covering her research to accompany the release of the book, and I suppose that's where my first issue began. I've watched these videos over the past six weeks, including the most recent one the day before starting the book. Once I began reading I realised I was hearing the author's voice and not the character's which made it hard to distinguish between the author's opinions and the character's. Having been given insight into the author's thoughts on cults and other groups she finds cult-like, it took me a while to start hearing Ruby's voice.And while I eventually did so, I never truly connected with Ruby. We meet her at a low point in her life - her family has suffered the death of her younger brother and Ruby is consumed with grief and guilt. Her father is in a remand centre, her mother has completely shut down, and Ruby is going through the day-to-day motions, but isn't really living life. She tells the reader she used to be happy, that she used to love playing the piano, that she used to enjoy hanging out with her friends, but because we meet her now, we never see what she was like. I knew I should have been feeling sympathy but instead I felt distanced from her.Ruby falls hard and she falls quickly, never really stopping to question the motives of Fox and his family. There is some commentary on the food they eat, but Ruby seems to make assumptions about their choices and interprets it in her own way. Within a short period of time she is repulsed by the typical food most omnivores eat, and she is absolutely disgusted by her aunt's body, describing her as 'soft and flabby', even though there didn't seem to be any mention of body shaming at the dinners she attended at the Red House. She decides to go with Fox to a secret location, naively assuming she'll be able to leave whenever she wants. She's known Fox two weeks yet she cannot imagine living without him. I feel like a lot of Ruby's choices can be blamed on her grief, but that excuse wore thin after a while.Once at The Institute of the Boundless Sublime, the pace really slowed down, especially when compared to the quick introduction to Ruby and the cult. Ruby becomes even harder to connect with here as she flits from judgement and derision, to belief and servitude so easily. There was some tension, especially once introduced to 'Daddy', and I knew it was only a matter of time before things started to turn sour. The twist at the end didn't surprise me, instead I think a lot of it could have been cut as by that stage I was ready for the story to end, not to be dragged back in.A lot of what I assume was meant to seem weird didn't shock me. Once you've gone vegan and you realise how normal it is, you then hear about raw vegans, fruitarians, and people who undergo medically-supervised water fasts, so eating raw food didn't seem all that strange. But for someone eating the standard Western diet, eating all raw food would seem odd and unsustainable. Of course the typically culty aspects (isolation, punishment, abuse) were as sickening as can be expected, but again not shocking.I have all of these issues with the story, but I can see a purpose to them - the slow pace would mimic the eight months that Ruby spends at the Institute. The twist shows how easy it is for people to get dragged into a cult. The insta-love is something teenagers experience all the time. How quickly Ruby falls for Fox shows how desperate she was to be pulled out of her grief, so desperate that she ignores all the warning signs. I know all of the reasons these elements may have been used, but they still detracted from my reading experience.There were also a couple of things that didn't add up to me, or that I wish had been explained further. Firstly, Newton tells Ruby that they do not grow root vegetables, yet later on Val feeds Ruby pieces of carrot. Secondly, the bottled water is always talked about so suspiciously but it didn't live up to all that suspense in the end. And finally, the word technic is used over and over again and it took me out of the story every single time - is this an annoying US spelling of technique? I've googled it and I'm still not sure.The Boundless Sublime is a book about family and first loves, as well as an examination of grief, and what happens when you make major life decisions while in that frame of mind. While it wasn't my cup of tea, I know there will be a lot of readers who will love it.Thank you to Allen & Unwin for my copy.

  • Libby Armstrong
    2019-06-22 13:42

    Sorry y'all have to wait until August...because The Boundless Sublime is the suspense thriller you need now! So, since the Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly we've been seeing quite a few cult novels popping up (and I hear more in the pipeline. Yay.) and refreshingly all have their signature brand of cult and so far of the ones I've seen, all have female protagonists and swoon (yes it can be done). Wilkinson has topped earlier efforts by producing a nice chunky read that you can savour instead of binge, and a 101 on individuals who are more vulnerable to joining cults (unlike other novels where protagonists have been forced/born into cults) Placed in contemporary Melbourne it's believable and that's what makes it more scary - that, and how you'll be looking at bottled water for a some excellent twists on twists you won't see coming

  • Trisha
    2019-07-11 13:07

    Intense, super creepy, filled with suspense.

  • Emily Mead
    2019-06-29 11:57

    It was good, but it required a lot of suspension of disbelief. I wasn't really believing it :(

  • Kirra
    2019-07-04 11:02

    Actual Rating: 3.5 StarsEarlier this year I received an eBook ARC for The Boundless Sublime because despite the fact that this Australian YA was released last year it is also now being released outside of Australia, yay! The US publisher Capstone and their teen imprint Switch Press are distributing the book throughout North America which I assume is always completely exciting and fulfilling for an Australian author when they see their work moving further out into the world. It’s also interesting to note that Switch Press has also published one of my favourite books of 2016, Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith, so check that out too after this book North Americans!Simply put, The Boundless Sublime is about a deeply disturbing and cunning cult that brings in a young girl when she’s at her most vulnerable. Ruby hasn’t been at all happy or healing in the months after her family fell apart but it all started looking up when she saw that angelic looking boy handing out water bottles on the street and decided to take one. In that small action she found Fox and the Institute of The Boundless Sublime but obviously, this isn’t her happy ending and the trouble was just about to begin.One thing that I think is annoying about the book and blurb, in particular, is that she thinks her family demise is somehow her fault and I guess because she felt like it was her fault it was all that much easier to be sucked into a cult but I still think that’s all a bit silly. Having read the book I can say that the family issues were definitely not the fault of a teenage girl and she didn’t deserve anything bad to happen to her but then again I can definitely remember those really dramatic feelings and actions as a teenager. Although, I definitely never happened upon a cult and decided to go there on my own!One thing I loved about this book most of all though was the sheer paranoia the institute put into Ruby’s mind, the other people there and also myself a little. The writing was very descriptive so I felt like I was right in there with Ruby and I felt her shortness of breath, the anxiety of the situation and the obsession it filled her with. At first, it’s all idyllic just like their type of system would be with the false promises and perfect outlook but soon enough it’s weird demands and watch out for the people following you so they make this bulletproof bubble around the people in their community to keep them there.This book was a midrange read for me because on one side the storyline was so exciting and I couldn’t put it down but on the other, it was also a little too rushed and unrealistic for what any teenager would do. They may be naive at times and foolish but I can’t imagine ever getting this deep into something like that. However, books are largely based on things we can’t imagine ourselves doing so I totally loved putting myself in this crazy, insane situation. I can’t think of any book quite like this with the shocking twists and unpredictable events. It’s definitely a great read about an unbelievable situation!(Thanks to Switch Press for an arc of The Boundless Sublime in exchange for an honest review!)

  • Paula Weston
    2019-06-24 18:40

    The Boundless Sublime is an unsettling and insightful book. Lili Wilkinson paints a frighteningly real picture of a modern day cult and how easy it is to be enthralled by a charismatic personality when you are at your weakest.The way Daddy gets inside Ruby's head and the sway he has over the other members rings true. The isolation from the rest of the world, the constant, clever narrative that demands suspicion of others and total reliance on the community. The way the world and Ruby's understanding of it are reframed, and all possible threats to Daddy’s control are countered through fear and manipulation. How all of Daddy's decisions and actions are justified, and how cleverly he traps his members into a new system of belief. All of it feels chillingly authentic.Yes, Ruby makes some bad choices, but Lili writes her in a way that makes those decisions heart-breakingly understandable. Grief and pain can be so unbearable that people turn to whatever solace they can find (healthy, balanced people generally don't join cults), and when you’re a teenager without a positive influence in your life, that journey can be even more treacherous.Lili’s meticulous research into cults is obvious (check out the videos on her website). She cleverly shapes the fictitious sect in this book around a doctrine of healthy living; the members of The Boundless Sublime believe they've found a way to rid themselves of the toxins and poisons of our world. The lifestyle Daddy promotes - dressed up as science - isn’t too many steps beyond socially acceptable practices. Of course the loving, health-conscious community Ruby thinks she’s joining turns out to have dark and violent secrets, by which point she’s in too deep to easily extricate herself.As well as being a fascinating descent into the madness of a cult, The Boundless Sublime is also a heart-pounding psychological thriller that reaches break-neck pace in the final third of the book.The book ends on a note a hope, and a beautiful message about the important things in life. It’s a riveting, powerful read, and a reminder that groups like this really do exist.

  • Portia
    2019-07-01 18:03

    It was a kind of messed-up book and it could have been a lot better in my opinion. HOwever, I did enjoy the plotline and the two main characters but their development was exceptional. Overall I wouldn't recommend it to anyone personally.

  • Bruce Gargoyle
    2019-07-19 15:41

    I received a print copy of this title from Allen & Unwin for review.Ten Second Synopsis:Ruby is mired in guilt and depression from a recent family loss when she bumps into Fox, a charismatic but strangely naive young man handing out water on the street. When Ruby makes the decision to move in with Fox, her life takes a turn she couldn't possibly have imagined.Having sat on the shelf of a university undergrad completing a major in Studies of Religion, many moons ago, I have already had an interesting taste of the research that has gone into cults, or new religious movements, as they are sometimes called. I didn't realise until I'd seen some reviews of this one that it featured cultish content, but once I did know, I was a bit sceptical as to how the author was going to make this an engaging story without it becoming cheesy and unrealistic. The book opens on a pretty dour note: Ruby is living in a sort of suspended time with her mother after a tragic accident that caused the permanent separation of their family. Ruby's mother is practically catatonic, Ruby can't find meaning in doing the everyday things like going to school and life generally seems to be a pointless, meaningless black hole. It is from this viewpoint that Ruby interprets the unexpected kindness of Fox, a young man handing out free bottles of water on the street. She sees him as beautiful, in an almost otherworldly way, and is drawn to his naivety and his seemingly solid grip on his world. From here, it is only a matter of time - and the painless severing of a few social and familial ties - until Ruby is subsumed into Fox's social circle and into a community of "like-minded" souls, and the "cult" aspect of the story really begins in earnest.This book felt to me like it had a few distinctive parts. Initially, we see the surly, disconnected and generally unlikable Ruby who is so focused on the guilt, grief and chaos of her life that any other viewpoint seems laughably untenable. Soon after this we see a bit of insta-love or at least, infatuation, as Ruby becomes consumed with thoughts of Fox and sees him as an almost-saviour from her meaningless existence. Then comes doubting Ruby, who questions her new situation yet lacks the will to act in her own best interests. I won't say any more than that because one of the best parts of the book, I felt, is the fact that Ruby goes through so many changes in thought process and personality, that the atmosphere of the story is constantly in flux and we just aren't sure what will happen next.A number of reviewers have noted that parts of the story seem so ridiculous and unlikely that they couldn't suspend their disbelief in order to engage with the stories. On one level, I can certainly see where they are coming from, becuase there were times during the book that I too was thinking, "AS IF!" I think that in order to appreciate it fully, one has to come at the story from the point of view that none of us thinks that we would ever be "dumb" enough to get caught up in a cult. Even Ruby has her doubts and eye-roll moments at the beginning. Part of the power of cults is that recruitment relies on individuals who are vulnerable, possibly suffering under mental illness or at least mental stress, and in a social position from which it is easy (or even preferable) to disengage - and Ruby fits the bill on each of these counts. Add to that the fact that she is a teenager, without fully developed reason centres in her brain, and the thought of a clever, attractive young girl getting caught up in such a community - and then being unable to find a way to leave it - isn't such a stretch.This isn't meant to be a factual book about cults - it is fiction, for young adults, with crazy romance, teen angst and all of the other things that typify YA, so in that regard I feel I can cut it some slack in the unbelievability stakes. If you are prepared to come at it with a bit of an open mind and the knowledge that some events will seem a unlikely, then you will find an unusual and pacey tale featuring action, philosophical debate, love, betrayal, crazy gurus, bald-headed children and a second half that pelts toward the finish.

  • Jenna
    2019-07-16 16:56

    2.5 stars. This review appears on my blog, Reading with Jenna.I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.The Boundless Sublime is a thrilling and dark exploration of modern day cults and what it means to be part of one.Ruby has had a rough 6 months. Her younger brother was killed in a car accident and she feels like it’s all her fault. Her family has been torn apart and Ruby and her mother are tiptoeing around each other and pretending that everything is okay, even though her mother is too depressed to get out of bed and Ruby has been partying every night in order to forget. But when she meets the mysterious and alluring Fox one day, she becomes enamoured and falls quickly in love with him and his ideologies. When he takes her home to meet his ‘family’, she’s intrigued by their lifestyle and decides to join them. And that’s when things get a bit dark and dangerous.I’ve always been intrigued by cults but have always been kind of too terrified of them to find out more. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t do well with thrillers and mystery novels so you can imagine what I’d be like if I ever did research on cults. But I felt like The Boundless Sublime gave some really good insight on how all-consuming it can be and how wonderful it would feel to be around people who believe in the same things that you do. Also, what this novel does really well is convey the feelings of belonging that might not be possible in the ‘real world’, outside of a cult. I could understand Ruby’s wanting to be part of The Institute of the Boundless Sublime because she feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere else in the world. But it was quite scary how quickly things escalated and how quickly a person can become drawn into all the dark and scary things that are going on without knowing it. While I enjoyed the plot of the book a lot, I thought the writing was missing some transitions. I felt like I was being pulled in different directions and things just happened too suddenly all the time.I also a little bit of a rough time with the characters. I didn’t find them to be realistic and I had to really suspend my disbelief a lot of the time. It got better in the second half of the book but I definitely found it hard to connect with Ruby and with most of the characters in the book. I did like Fox a lot but he was a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Boy and that was a little bit off-putting to me. Ruby falls in love with him at first sight and this insta-love made it hard for me to enjoy Fox as a character. Having said that, there was much less focus on the romance and on Fox in the second half of the book and I enjoyed it a lot more at that point. The romance was definitely this book's downfall for me and it was hard to look past the insta-love that was so 'in my face', especially when this insta-love happens on page 13 of the book.Overall, while I enjoyed the cult aspect of the book and the plot, the other elements in the novel weren't really executed well enough for my liking.

  • Emmaleah
    2019-06-19 14:55

    Title: The Boundless SublimeAuthor: Lili WilkinsonPublication Date: August 1st, 2016.Publisher: Allen and Unwin (AU) $19.99 Recommended Ages: 12+Rating 4.5/5Main Comment: Be wary of free water bottles and old hippy bearded men in white cotton clothes. General Comments: Okay wow....This book was interesting yet so weird. Like the scary kind of weird. Lili Wilkinson, how did you think of this? It was scary, deranged and actually makes me not want to get free water bottles and for this I absolutely love it!------------------------------------------------The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson was a new kind of read for me. First of all, it was my first read by Lili and secondly, I have never read such a perfectly messed up and deranged plot line that actually makes you want to visit Melbourne but also not want to visit Melbourne.The whole idea of the books is what interests me most. It has a form of old man serial killer mood that is really quite scary yet it all ties perfectly in around a young adult contemporary romance. I loved the characters, especially Fox and Ruby, and found that each character had their own form of personality and life experience that I could somewhat relate to...except for messed up psycho man...nobody can relate to him. I found that over time each character developed quite well and for this, it made the novel much more enjoyable and understandable. The plot line of 'The Boundless Sublime' was extremely creative and turns quite dark quite quickly. Although you expect the cult like institute to turn bad as it hints to in the blurb, the change from good to bad is so unexpected and creates a very creepy aura to the book and makes turning the next page a hand shaking experience. Overall, this novel was one of a kind and has successfully lured me into wanting to read more of Lili Wilkinson's novels. I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading Young Adult Contemporary novels with a horror twist. A special thanks goes to Allen and Unwin for sending me this novel to review. Thank You!Love Emmaleah Xx

  • Andrew
    2019-07-19 12:38

    Girl meets boy. Boy is in a cult. Girl joins cult to be with boy. What could go wrong?This isn't your standard YA - it starts off all cute and romantic, but you know that beneath the surface, there is some insidious business going down. The further the story goes, the more engrossing the tension gets, as the reader wonders when the story is going to turn a corner. And then it does, and you can't put this book down.Creepy and compelling - yet entirely believable - Lili has done her research on modern-day suburban cults, and the circumstances that lead to people being trapped in them. From now on, I'll always be suspicious of random people handing out free bottles of water...

  • Grace
    2019-07-20 12:45

    I was teetering on the edge of whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars but decided that the pure imagination and thought put into this plot deserves the latter. This story is spooky, crazy, weird and eye opening. And now after reading it, I will never look at basic items - like a bottle of water - the same ever again. Lili has definitely put her all into this and it is clearly obvious because even just thinking about all of the individual elements and pieces of information in The Boundless Sublime gives me an aneurysm (in a good way).

  • Lexi
    2019-07-09 10:45

    I have read a few different books about cults this year but this one is my favourite by far! I like the fact that it has a clear ending of life slowly getting better and moving on.

  • Jess
    2019-07-06 12:51

    pardon my french but what the fuuuuuuuuuuuuck 1. This book was WEIRD. I mean cults are weird enough, but reading a fictional novel about one is even weirder. I had so many questions. Like how can someone be SO brainwashed? Do you not pick up on the warning signs?? Why would you simply accept ditching the comforts of the 21st century for an isolated institution with minimal (and completely disgusting) food, freezing cold showers and no contact with the outside world? Maybe the point of the book was to show how cults work (?????), but boy did it frustrate me.And don't even get me started on 'Daddy'.2. So while it was really weird, this book was also really compelling. A bit like watching something you know you shouldn't but you just can't look away, y'know? Finallyyyyyyyyy Fox was definitely the best part of the entire book and I don't have much else to say other than wtf bro

  • Jennifer
    2019-07-20 12:07

    Somewhere between 3-4 stars. It took me longer than I thought it would to get into this book. When I heard Lili talk about her process and the subject matter, I was certain this would be totally up my alley. And it was interesting! But I also find myself unable to suspend my disbelief about the end. It just... didn't feel real. It went from cult to conspiracy really quickly (not in the typical "everyone is out to get us because we know the truth" way that all cults are, but a more person-specific conspiracy that felt rushed.) and I honestly wanted more for Ruby in the end.All of that aside, this was an addictive read and after I got into it, I couldn't put it down. Lili Wilkinson is an incredible storyteller.

  • Ashleigh
    2019-07-20 16:38

    a very heavy book topic she captures fox's nativity perfectly, at times i found myself gasping in horror and how addicting and terrifying a modern day cult is, written for a YA audience but not shirking from it either. Read this a while ago, and bought because of the interesting cover. the title I don't see alot that has Sublime in it and cleverly used. or i just like seeing synonyms haha.

  • Elspeth LaMorte
    2019-07-04 15:53

    4.5. This is a chilling and deeply unsettling book, and I loved it. I especially loved that it was so creepy because it was designed to be a creepy book; very different to Lili's previous work of course, but I'm ready for her to write more like this.

  • Tadashi Hamada
    2019-06-20 11:40

    I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway! :)This is the very first YA book about a cult that I've ever read, so for me this was unique. I sympathised with Ruby, the main character, who had just lost her brother and has had her family broken apart as a result. You could really feel her grief, as well as the deterioration of her mother's well-being. I've never really done any research about cults, so I didn't know why people joined them in the first place. But this book gave me a summary. People join them when they're feeling lost or have no sense of purpose in life. Falling in love with Fox, Ruby thought he was the answer to all of her problems. At first she was only in it to be with Fox, but it was evident she got a case of Stockholm Syndrome when she started to change her perspective on Daddy and The Boundless Sublime. It was obvious she was finally brainwashed.The only major flaw in this book, however, is that Fox was a WAY more fascinating character than Ruby... but Wilkinson chose to tell the story solely from Ruby's point of view. Because of that, the middle chunk of this book was slower and more boring than I would've liked. Don't get me wrong, I liked how the experience of being part of a cult was written in sufficient detail, but... this is still supposed to be a YA book. Where are the elements that make it more...well, YA? There is a love interest in this book, there should've been more romance! There was a 'switcharoo' thing that happened--(view spoiler)[Ruby had become brainwashed by Daddy but Fox started to question him and what the cult stood for (hide spoiler)]--so why didn't Fox and Ruby work together?! This book would've been 20x better if Fox was utilised more and was given a chance to tell his backstory, as well as him questioning Daddy's motives and the purpose of the cult more and more. But sadly, Fox's presence probably only accounts for about 30% of this book, and it was really pathetic how (view spoiler)[he was locked up in a tiny room as a prisoner while Ruby was brainwashed and had her think he was dead (hide spoiler)]. This novel's entire plot is something that really fits the whole 'alternating chapters with two POV's'--this way of writing doesn't fit every YA story, but this time it did! Yet the author let this opportunity slip through her fingers. D:I also didn't really care for the ending. Plot twist: (view spoiler)[It turns out Daddy got to Ruby's mother while she was in the cult. Ruby escapes, coming home to her mother, but her mother delivers her back to Daddy. LMFAO WHAT??? But don't worry, Daddy gets defeated and Ruby and Fox are in a halfway-house. (hide spoiler)] It just seemed really cartoon-ish.Overall, a very unique and interesting concept, ESPECIALLY for a YA novel. This was my first time reading a book by Lili Wilkinson and I can say her writing style was the biggest quality this book had, and I'm interested in reading more of her novels. There were some flaws that could've been remedied to make the book reach its full potential but not a bad read.Thank you, Allen & Unwin!

  • Sue
    2019-06-23 15:49

    Ruby's little brother, Anton, died in a terrible, family-shattering way - when her drunken father crashed into him with his car. Ruby and her Mum exist in a sorrowful, grey, joyless haze of cigarette smoke and TV dinners - and six months after the funeral things don't look like they are going to change anytime soon. Well-meaning Aunty Cath turns up to "help" and her loud and bright demeanour forces Ruby into the outside world for relief. This is when she sees Fox, the angelic looking boy who will change her life, for the first time. He hands her a bottle of water and on it is a label: "Boundless Body, Boundless Mind". Intrigued by this mysterious boy and the cryptic label, Ruby has dinner with Fox and his "family". Ruby finds herself drawn to these people and their intelligent conversation, revelling in the anonimity and the temporary escape from her grief.Gradually Ruby starts to tie herself to the Institute of the Boundless Sublime, and when she moves in with them as a Sublimate, her descent begins. I can't reveal much more, for fear of giving you spoilers. What I will say is that as a twenty year old I read quite a bit about cults - lots of true stories of escape - and this book captures the level of self-talk and rationalisation required to be a "true" devotee really well. It also captures how damaged people can easily be taken over by such a cult.Lili Wilkinson has obviously researched well for this novel. It feels like she has lived it - some of the content, the descriptive detail is so visceral I had to stop reading for a couple of minutes to let it sink in. This is a raw, deeply moving and engaging novel. I cared so much about Ruby, about what was happening to her - I wanted to shout out, "No! Don't do it!" more than once. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes too. One particular twist, towards the end of the book, literally made me gasp out loud because I did NOT see it coming at all. I love it when writing makes me do that! I was absolutely gripped by this story, and I will be pushing it into the hands of as many readers as possible.Dark, terrifying and heartbreaking, this is a novel that reinforces the true meaning of family, and eloquently champions owning everything in one's life - the good and the bad, the pain and the bliss - because that is what life really is all about.Recommended for ages 13 and up

  • Sam
    2019-06-25 15:41

    This is a hard one to review. I can't get my head around how anyone could get caught up in a cult, but after reading this I can kinda see it. Ruby has had a death in her family and it's been hard on them all to get over it. Then she meets Fox and everything he believes in sounds pretty great, up until she arrives at the Institute. Lili Wilkinson's cult seemed very modern and "Daddy" brought up some very interesting and eye-opening ideas that made me see how people could get caught up in his charisma. There were a few things that I put two and two together and had figured out, but there were a couple of twists at the end I didn't see coming. Lili mentioned in her aknowledments that she made a YouTube series called 'Let's talk about sects' in which she discusses all about cults. I found it extremely interesting, and could see how much work she went into researching cults for her book. It's worth watching either before or after reading her book. Even though I read this in a couple of days and found it easy to read, I couldn't bring myself to give it more than 3 stars. I liked it but didn't like it as much as other books I've rated 4 stars, so it's probably more like a 3.5.

  • Kirsti
    2019-07-14 11:45

    So I really enjoyed The Boundless Sublime! I was first attracted to this book when I spotted the author, someone I have read and enjoyed before, and then the cover drew me in even more. It's so simple, and yet the story inside is complicated and fresh. Ruby is an excellent character, trying to escape her grief but not having the tools to do so, and her growth throughout the novel was really interesting to watch. The other characters are equally as good, including Lib, Fox, Val and a certain Monkey. I was entirely committed to reading this novel when I FINALLY finished work for the week and got to really chew into it.Such an intelligent book, and I highly recommend it as something different from your usual YA fare. Five stars.

  • Ely (Tea & Titles)
    2019-07-06 13:49

    Review soon.

  • Amra Pajalic
    2019-07-09 16:48

    Amazing book about a lost girl, a lost boy and a cult in which they find and lose themselves. After the death of her brother Ruby blames herself. Her family is broken and so is she, until she meets Fox. To be with him she joins the cult that he belongs to. This is a well crafted book and I could relate to Ruby's pain and need for oblivion. There are some great twists and turns and I love the way that Wilkinson doesn't shy away from hard truths.