Book Reviews · Fiction · Young Adult

Review: The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson

The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson
Published July 27, 2016 by Allen & Unwin
RRP AUD $19.99

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.


The Boundless Sublime was such a wild ride, it delved deep into the world of cults and was interesting and insightful. It certainly started off strong, jumping right into the action.

Ruby was a relatively strong protagonist, although at times I did get quite annoyed at how she was acting. I felt as if she wasn’t thinking properly and I wanted to grab hold of her and talk some sense into her!! Cults are seriously terrifying things and I really wanted her to think things through. Some of the things that happened sent up serious warning signals and I couldn’t possibly believe that Ruby would go with them. I felt it was kind of hard to empathise with Ruby, as her character felt quite distant.

At some points I felt the story was too out there in the way that everything moved so quickly, like Ruby’s emotions toward the cult and Fox & Ruby’s relationship. I didn’t really like how he was the reason for a majority of Ruby’s decisions. Regardless, Fox was easily the best part of the book, as a character he was so adorable and naive and he must be protected at all costs!! Although I did cringe a little every time he (and everyone else) called the leader “Daddy”. No thank you.

I haven’t really read any other cult books, so I’m not too sure how this would stack up in terms of how believable it all is, but then again, it is a fictional book, so this issue isn’t really a biggie.

There was a lot going on in the book, and I didn’t really know what was going to happen next, so that was quite interesting! I felt so many emotions throughout the story and as the book went on, I actually found myself second-guessing the foods and drinks around me, so serious kudos to Lili!! I was quite surprised at how easily those thoughts snaked their way into my daily life haha.

I was quite curious to see how things would end up working out after the final event, and I did feel a little let down with the ending, as I still had questions unanswered. I do realise this review sounds relatively negative, but honestly I did really enjoy the novel regardless of the minor issues I had.

I received a review copy from the publisher




Lili Wilkinson is the author of ten books, including Scatterheart and Pink. She established, the Inky Awards and the Inkys Creative Reading Prize at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria. Lili has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, and now spends most of her time reading and writing books for teenagers. Her latest novel is The Boundless Sublime.


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