Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson ~ ARC Review

Quirky book titles always grab my attention.

I've been catching glimpses of The Boundless Sublime on various social media sites over the last few months. The bright, winsome cover was eye-catching, but what caught my attention the most was the book's title or, more accurately, it held my attention hostage and wouldn't let go!. It ignited my imagination and brought to mind thousands of possibilities as to what this book could be about.

Thanks to the awesome people over at Allen & Unwin I didn't have to mull over the possibilities for too long! They sent me an ARC...and I celebrated by making my ARC pose near various trees and shrubbery because why not?!

The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson touches on the topic of modern-day cults and is truly thought-provoking. It explores the lengths we'll go to as humans to rid ourselves of sadness and of all the negative emotions and things that seem to tie us down. 

But - on a happier note - it also emphasises that courage, and curiosity are our greatest allies when it comes to dealing with life's trials. And that our individuality, our spirit, and our love for life and for the people and things that make us happy, are to be celebrated.

Read on for more info on this contemporary page-turner and for my thoughts on the book!

Title: The Boundless Sublime
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Publication date: July 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Australian RRP: $99.99 (AUD)

Synopsis: 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 - 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?

A gripping YA novel about an ordinary girl who is unsuspectingly inducted into a secretive modern-day cult.


'A brilliant, searing trip into the world of cults and brainwashing. Her best book yet.' ~ Justine Larbalestier


Note: Although this book is YA, I found it more suitable for those aged 17/18+ due to some of its more mature content. However that is just my recommendation :)

Firstly...where has Lili Wilkinson been all my life?

Somebody please inform me how I have managed to go my entire life up until now without reading this woman's amazing writing...because now that I've experience it I need more!

Her writing style is breathtaking. It's like a live wire that runs through the book and into you, connecting you deeply and irrevocably to the book's story and characters. Every single word is a single paint stroke in a masterpiece, a single note in a symphony.

What I'm trying to say and am totally failing to! is when you put all the words, sentences, and pages of this book together, you get something beautiful.

Something...well, something sublime!

Everyone carries sadness with them.

We deal with varying degrees of sadness every day. However this sadness doesn't define us - what does define us is what we do with this sadness. Do we let it sit and fester, creating a dark sinkhole for our emotions and our mind to fall into? Or so we find ways of letting it out, of letting it turn into something bittersweet, something beautiful?

The Boundless Sublime introduces us to Ruby, who is carrying a pretty heavy load of sadness for someone so young. After the death of her brother left her family splintered, she's been aimless, drifting apart from the world and the people around her.

Until she meets Fox.

Who looks like an angel and is definitely going to be added to your long list of YA book boyfriends (like you didn't have enough!)

The Institute of the Boundless Sublime was scary as hell.

I tend to watch a lot of shows like 60 Minutes, 20/20...basically shows that revolve around scary real life stories and investigations. So I immediately knew something wasn't right when Ruby stepped into the Red House and met the people Fox considered the equivalent of family.

But things just went downhill from there. It was a surreal reading experience! Because as Ruby's life seems to improve, your (the reader's) stomach steadily sinks lower and lower and your feeling of unease rises. And when you start to feel comfortable and like everything is ok, Ruby's paranoia and unease is heightened.

I don't want to spoil anything but The Institute of Crazies (as I like to affectionately call The Institute of the Boundless Sublime) goes from hippie commune to American Horror Story real fast!

What I took away from this book is that kindness is key.

Fox didn't drug Ruby, or seduce her into spending time around him (and eventually the Institute of the Boundless Sublime). True...he was very pretty, and very charming and quirky. But the real draw to him that Ruby felt came from the way he treated her.

He looked beyond the exterior she presented and spoke to the person she was. He addressed her deepest fears and hopes, and offered a listening ear and an open mind.

And maybe - especially in today's world - we could all benefit a little from some kindness. Maybe if we offer understanding and friendship to one another, we can starting building a lasting kind of peace.

The Boundless Sublime was a rollercoaster of a reading experience and I can't wait to discover more of Lili Wilkinson's storytelling talent soon!

'Without anchors, we just drift away into nothing, like wisps of smoke. Let yourself be bound - to the people you love, to the things that make you happy, to sensation. If these bonds constrict you, let them go, and find more comfortable ones. The right anchors let you fly free when you wish to, but are always there when you return to ground.'

Although I was provided with a review copy by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in the this post are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.


  1. Sounds very intriguing, I'll have to check this one out! I really enjoy books that sort of unexpectedly or gradually move from normal to dark without realizing it. Great review!

    1. It's truly a sign of a really good writer when they're able to piece together their stories so that they have subtle shifts in tone. I hope you enjoy it when you do get around to reading it! :)

  2. I'm reading it now and I should tell you that this author's other books are pretty much all romantic comedies. Now, I happen to love that sort of book, and the last one, Green Valentine, was hilarious and touching. If you want dark, though, be warned, you'll be disappointed.

    1. I'd actually be excited to read work of hers that's a little less dark - I'm sure her writing style would work wonders with romantic comedy! Hopefully I'll get around to reading one of her other works soon.


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