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The Ash Family

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,712 ratings  ·  374 reviews
When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,712 ratings  ·  374 reviews

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Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Simon & Schuser for sending me a copy in exchange for honest review

This book was one of my least favorites of 2019. See the rest on my video, The WORST Books of 2019! ☕☕


*2.5 "disappointed" Stars

It really hurts me to write this review. It truly does. I honestly hate trashing books. Well, that's not totally true. I love trashing Six of Crows but only because I despise that book and there are plenty of positive reviews. But because this is a debut, I feel really bad g
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Ash Family is the story of a cult in North Carolina. Instead of heading to college, Beryl follows a man she meets at a bus station, Bay, deep into the woods, in search of a family and a sense of belonging. She becomes Harmony and is taught many lessons by The Ash Family on their farm, including to leave “the fake world” behind. Dice is the “father” of the family. When newcomers arrive, they are told they can leave in 3 days or stay forever. Those who have attempted to leave after 3 days ofte ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Berie is supposed to be heading to college but gets sidetracked by a cultish commune in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Asheville. I read this for the setting since I live an hour south of Asheville and have driven around tiny mountain towns with lots of nooks and crannies, even stumbled on what looked like a commune outside Gerton at one point. There are a lot of culty tropes here - the powerful man who breaks the rules others have to follow, people who seem to know secrets that are never rev ...more
Larry H
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Berie is unsure of what path to follow with her life. She seeks something more meaningful, something more essential, but she hasn't any idea of what that is until she meets enigmatic Bay at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Bay promises Berie the life she's been imagining, on a farm cut-off from the rest of the world, where they live communally, fully off the grid.

"This was the real world, he explained, and if I stayed I'd get a real-world name to replace my fake-world one. He said
Nenia ⭐️ Queen of Awkward ⭐️ Campbell

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I'm honestly surprised this doesn't have higher ratings on Goodreads because it seems like the type of book most people claim that they want to read. THE ASH FAMILY is about a slacker, loser girl named Berie who's afraid of change and doesn't want to go to college; she just wants to hang out with her loser artist boyfriend and enjoy the life of the underachieving freeloader. Then she meets a guy at a bus station who she thinks is hot, a
Elyse  Walters
Faith Healing for *Harmony*!!! ( real name was Beryl or Berie for short)
Laughing yet? I wanted to....
but unfortunately- I only laughed when sharing ‘about’ this novel with my husband during reading ‘breaks’.
I’d read Paul a few paragraphs. His questions made me laugh.
Paul asked me “what are the rules about soap?”
“I don’t know, Paul. The ‘rules’ about soap wasn’t explained clearly....only that it was a ‘rule’ to follow along with a list of other rules at the ASH FAMILY FARM”.

I’m 66 years old. I
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
My girl, my girl, don't lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don't ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through

My girl, my girl, where will you go
I'm going where the cold wind blows
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don't ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through
- American Folk Song (Leadbelly version)

This book was intriguing, a curiosity. It tells of a young woman's introspection and confusion as she leaves her life behind a
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh I just love cult stories. They don’t even have to be overtly sinister cults, the ones camouflaged as back to nature communes, like the Ash Family, will do also. And so I was really interested in this book and quite enjoyed it, albeit conditionally, enjoinment mixed in with frustration at the naïve idiocy of the protagonist. Then again, naïve idiocy is usually something of a prerequisite for these things, mixed in with misguided well intentions and misplaced optimism. Qualities as inmate to cu ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Berie is 19 years old and is very unsure about going to college. It’s her mother’s dream, not hers. When she meets a stranger named Bay at a local bus station, she decides to give his off-the-grid community a chance. They tell her that she can stay three days or forever so she has a little time to decide. She’s always felt a connection with nature and wants to help save the world and thinks that this community, known as “The Ash Family”, is the answer so she decides to stay. She’s given a new na ...more
Jessica Sullivan
There’s just something inherently fascinating about cult stories: What makes someone give up their life to join one? How do they become seduced by it despite the red flags? When and how to utopian ideals transform into something dangerous and controlling?

Seeking something more out of life than college and settling down, 19-year-old Berie joins the Ash Family, a community of eco-terrorists living off the grid in the woods of North Carolina.

Drawn to their “essential” lifestyle, she is determined t
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*3-3.5 stars

Beryl is being pushed by her mother to go to college but instead she wants a deeper connection with the 'real' world, with nature. Her mother takes her to the airport to fly to school but Beryl decides to sneak off on her own instead.

While waiting at the bus station, Beryl is approached by a guy named Bay who lures her into returning with him to an isolated commune in the hills of NC. The life there sounds just like what she's been dreaming of--a deeper connection with the natural w
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute beauty beauty beauty on a sentence level if you love words and writing abt land/nature/animals/emotions/trees/desire/regret/connection/the untouchable/etc. A work of art. I've loved Molly Dektar's writing for years.

(And this book doesn't answer every question it asks and that's okay imo. Life, right?)
Alison Hardtmann
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Ash Family is a farming commune in the mountains of North Carolina. Berie is a young woman who doesn't know what she wants and has let her mother and her boyfriend tell her what to do until the moment she leaves for university and decides not to go, turning around and taking a bus to Asheville. At the bus stop, she encounters the charismatic Bay, who brings her to the Ash family farm and where she learns to work with farm animals, and is drawn into the close and tightly controlled group led ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
So I guess Dektar was giving is a 'cult 101' class with this story.
I was left feeling a bit *meh* after reading it, I was obviously expecting something else. I thought it was going to be a slightly dark and twisted novel. I found more of a soul search inspirational novel that wasn't quite fully executed.

Putting those pre conceived expectations for fiction occult novels aside, Dektar wrote some interesting characters.
Our little friend, Berie aka Harmony, is 'chosen' to come and live with the Ash
CloudOfThoughts_Books Keirstin
The Ash Family by author Molly Dektar is a book about doing what makes you happy. What you THINK would make you happy. Full of ambition, the main character quickly finds out that things are not always as they seem. A great book with a great plot!
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of The Ash Family in exchange for an honest review.
Kara Leann
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Molly Dektar has written an incredibly fascinating debut novel! I finished this in one day.! The Ash Family has so many interesting characters with fanatical beliefs. I really loved that this was written from the perspective of Harmony/Berie since she was such a likable and earnest character. Although it was slightly predictable, I was very happy with how things turned out for her. Overall, I will definitely be recommending this one!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me a free review co
Basic B's Guide
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much @simonbooks for the free book and bringing this book to my attention.

Wow, talk about sneak attack! This book slowly builds with vivid descriptions and tension and then AHA! I was full on pacing my house while reading the last hundred or so pages and shouting curse words (I was alone thank goodness). Now that the adrenaline in my body is back to normal, I can rest easy and breathe.

Ever since reading THE GIRLS I’ve been looking for a cult story that hit all the marks and I really
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read several books about cults and enjoyed them all, but this one was quite different in the haunting way the story unfolds. Berie (aka Harmony in the Ash Family compound) is a nineteen-year-old woman who is supposed to board an airplane for college, when she meets the magnetic Bay at a bus stop and he convinces her to travel with him to their mountain community. Their credo is, "You can stay 3 days or the rest of your life." Sounds appealing, right? But of course we know how these enigmati ...more
Lindsay (nerdybooknurse)
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar follows Beryl (Berie), on her way to college but questioning her entire existence in this life. It's at the bus station on her way to school that she meets Bay. Bay offers her another way of life and Berie, desperately searching for deeper meaning goes with him. She ends up on a farm with the Ash Family. The family farm is completely self-sustainable, a commune where everyone is equal and there are no possessions.

Once at the farm, Berie (now known as Harmony) meets
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a knock-out. Lyrical but thrilling, and brimming with thoughtful insights into activism and collective living. This one will stick with me a long time.
C. Purtill
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of getting on a plane for college, Berie goes to a commune in the forest with Bay, a charismatic man recruiting for Dice and his "family." Berie was never satisfied with her life, with her mother who wanted her to go to college, with her boyfriend Isaac, an artist with whom she had attempted small anti-establishment efforts.

But Dice and his group truly are anti-establishment. They live on the land, forage for food, scavenge Dumpsters from the "fake world" to bring back to their real wor
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible, haunting, disorienting read. A bolt of lightning in book form. I am more of a non-fiction/ biography type of reader and I rarely find a work of fiction which can keep me engaged, and I read The Ash Family in about 11 hours with sporadic breaks here and there for food and water and sleep. Go get yourself a copy and leave your boring, unessential life behind for the duration of the read.
I spent as much time as I could stand in the mind of the incredibly boring and stupid protagonist. The rest of the characters were no better. I abandoned the book at the 32% point. Something may happen in the rest of the book, but it sure hadn’t in the part that I read. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The moment this book picks up, it's impossible to put down. So many recent books have featured cults, but this is the first one that feels refreshing.
Karen R
Teenager Berie makes a snap decision to get in a car with a stranger named Bay. Her life will never be the same as she is pulled into the web of a charismatic cult leader who runs an off-the-grid farm. A jarring and thought-provoking story of exploiting vulnerability and highlighting how easily someone can get sucked into mind games and manipulative tactics of a madman. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Joy Clark
This book sounds so good - there's a cult, it's Appalachia, the blurb says something about missing people. Ideally, you should have the trappings of a thriller, but the blurb is misleading. This is not what I would call a thriller, and honestly I was rather bored through half of it. The pace finally picks up a bit at the halfway mark, but it still slows, reving up in fits and starts like an old clunky car. Perhaps I'm being unfair, because there are good parts. The book tells the story of Beryl, ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-star
DNF @ 20%

A mild debut with promise sprinkled about, but not enough to keep me reading. The story details a girl who joins a cult, but it is not nearly as interesting as it could have been. The writing is a bit choppy and, while the author makes some beautiful observations here and there, it mostly reads as meandering and unfocused.

However, this is definitely a book where I could see the author writing something brilliant after she’s had more practice!
Laura • lauralovestoread
Nineteen year old Beryl, or “Berie ” for short, meets a mysterious man near her home in North Carolina and while promised a new life with him, she actually ends up living in a cultish community instead.

Anytime a book takes place in my home state of North Carolina, I’m drawn to it right away. However, some things fell a little flat for me in this story. Berie was a likeable enough character, but there wasn’t a big draw to character building otherwise that I was really hoping for.

I love reading
James Beggarly
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful first novel where the young narrator takes you inside a commune that quickly shows itself to be a cult with strict rules and delusional world philosophies. She reveals her moment to moment thoughts, loves and fears so openly that it makes sense that she would stay with these people than to go out and face the real world. A really smart first book.
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
"Why would you want to leave, when you’ll have more freedom here than anywhere else?” He said. The family’s father, Bay said, was Dice, and Dice would understand me the way a lightning bolt would understand a rod.

At Nineteen years old Berie doesn’t intend to go to college despite the plane ticket to Richmond, Virginia. That is her mother’s plan, not hers. She leads her mother to believe in it, going so far as to say goodbye at the airport, her m
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Molly Dektar is from North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn. The Ash Family is her first novel.

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