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The Cellar by Natasha Preston This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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"Loneliness was like a terminal disease. With every passing day you faded just that little bit more."
     Named after a flower? For Summer Robinson, that isn't a good thing. Unless, of course, being trapped in the basement of a kidnapper's house with three other girls and a bipolar murderer is an enjoyable experience. The Cellar by Natasha Preston is a gut-wrenching and suspenseful novel, involving murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse. Who is Summer's kidnapper? Colin. And his reason? To preserve the purity of his perfect flowers.
     Summer Robinson is your typical teenager living in the town of Long Thorpe. She has a lovable boyfriend named Lewis, constantly worries about her appearance, and wishes to finally go to a party without her entire family fretting over her. Life was perfectly normal until the day she was taken. She was brought to a cellar with three other girls: Rose, Poppy and Violet. They explained to her her new life. Her name was now Lily. She is to live within the confines of their kidnapper's basement, obey his every word, and become part of their "family." Summer needs to get out. With her entire family, neighborhood, and Lewis searching for her, there is hope that she can escape. But Colin will do anything to keep his family together - even if he resorts to desperate means.
     This isn't the story of someone whose against love, but eventually learns and ends up caring for someone in the end. Rather, Summer seems to adore Lewis. Though the other girls in the cellar try to convince her to forget her past self in order to fully adapt, she refuses. She refuses to forget about her family, friends, Lewis, and all her memories - good and bad. It is true that Summer and Lewis are together, but this isn't a typical love story. It focuses on Summer's relationship with the other characters as well, including Colin. Summer doesn't just have to deal with escaping. She has to try to not get herself killed.
     The Cellar is a New York Times bestseller written by Wattpad writer Natasha Preston. Preston actually came up with the idea of this book from a dream. She was kidnapped and thrown in a cellar much like Summer. When she awoke, she created Colin and much of the plot by herself, wondering who, where, and why she was kidnapped. Thus, The Cellar was born. She has also written and published around ten other books - the most famous of which is Silence. They have similar concepts and writing style, telling stories of love between friends and family gone wrong and how the main character must somehow fix that love. When asked to specify on her technique, Preston answered, “People always ask that but I don't know. I just sit and type how the voices in my head say things.”
     Unlike Preston’s other books, The Cellar is told in three perspectives: Summer, Lewis, and Colin. Each perspective brings forth more information on the characters and overall plot that the reader would have never known if the story had been told in only one point of view. Summer tells of her days in the cellar. She despises the cellar and refuses to adapt to her new life. She's constantly searching for a way to escape, failing each time but never giving up. Though her continuous search for escape portrays her persistent nature well, Summer's thoughts of escaping begin to sound repetitive. This made some of her chapters rather boring or even flat when compared to the others.     
     Lewis, on the other hand, tells of his desperate search for Summer. As time goes on, his determination to be reunited with his girlfriend wavers. Nonetheless, he has the whole town behind his back, eager to discover the truth behind Summer's disappearance as well. Since Summer was kidnapped early in the book, the reader only caught a glimpse of Lewis' character. In his chapters, we begin to learn how much they truly loved each other.
     Colin's perspective mainly consisted of flashbacks from his childhood days to his first kidnapping. His chapters bring a sort of stopper on time, making us peel our eyes away from Summer and Lewis and into the mind of a lunatic. From his point of view, we learn of his past and slowly uncover the truth of what really made him who he was now. Each of these characters have their own lives, explaining what they've experienced and how they currently feel, having the reader piece together the story chapter by chapter.
     I would personally recommend this book to anyone looking for a poignant story with a relatable plot line. Although the novel may at times lose that wonderful feeling of anticipation, it isn't considered an actual flaw. At one point in the book, this allowed the reader to finally relax after a couple of hours of anxious reading. But of course, Preston cleverly takes advantage of this moment and surprises us with a wild card, making the reader want more and more. The Cellar tells a tale of murder, violence, and abuse mixed with innocent love. By the time you finish, you'll be relieved at the reunion of some characters, but crying over those separated and gone.




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