Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: Gated

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Gated
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Source: Library
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books on cult communities and their inner workings.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N

A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

If you've followed my reviews for any length of time, you'll know I have a strange obsession with books based on cults. There's something about the thorough brainwashing these people experience that fascinates me. Amy Christine Parker weaves a chilling story. A story about what happens to the children who are raised in this community, and what it looks like from the outside. I'm not going to lie, I absolutely couldn't get enough.

The reason behind Lyla's move to the cult was what first blew me away about Gated. Despite all the other books I've read on this subject, I've never actually seen how the parents were swayed to join. In this case, we see that Pioneer is cold and calculated in his timing. He sees Lyla's mother at an emotionally crippling moment, and takes advantage of it. It intrigued me, the way that Pioneer makes it seem that he is"saving" the people he converts. With such slick and charismatic ways, it was no surprise to me that people chose to follow him.

It's true that the beginning of this book moves a little slowly. However it does so in order to explore the inner workings of the whole community. Lyla's world seems quiet and simple at first. If it wasn't for the constant reminder that the end of the world is coming, it's easy to assume they are just a group of people who want to live off the grid. I was so immersed in the way that this community functioned as a whole, and I can honestly say I was never bored. If you feel the pace is slow at the beginning, please keep reading! The second half picks up considerably. By the time I reached the end, I could have read another entire book.

I could gush on about the romance aspect, and about the way that friendships are portrayed, but I'll end here. If you have an interest in cult mentality, this will be a book you'll enjoy. Go into Gated with an open mind, and keep reading on! This ended up being one of my favorites, and I'm honestly hoping for more.


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