Gated by Amy Christine Parker [Book Review]

ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: August 6th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley for my honest review

She thought the evil lived outside the walls.
She was wrong.
In the Community, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban development have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives.

Lyla Hamilton and her parents moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves and prepare to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound’s underground fortress–the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she’d rather think about a certain boy outside the development than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But as the end of days draws near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.”

I heard about Gated on Twitter and I was THRILLED when my request got accepted. When I was a teenager I went through a phase where I read anything I could get my hands on about cults. Charles Manson fascinated me. I think I even did a project in high school about one. I’m old now so those details are a little foggy, but there’s just something about them.. Why would anyone join a cult? What could have happened in their life to make them want to be isolated from society? What makes a person decide to start one and how do they choose people? These are all questions that have been asked time and time again. Sometimes there are answers, sometimes there aren’t. Luckily in Gated, we get a few of them.

I ate this book up. I finished it in two days. Amy Christine Parker wrote an amazing story that just would not let go of me. It begins with Lyla and her family. What happens to them is horrible, and as a mother, I tried putting myself in their shoes to see if I thought I would ever make a decision like they did. Of course, you never really know how you would react in a situation like that. Her family was so devastated by what had happened, it made them vulnerable to Pioneer, who came in and tried to take care of them. He convinced them, along with many others, to leave their homes to join him at Mandrodage Meadows, away from all the violence and horrors of conventional society. I was kind of curious as to the other members’ stories as to why they joined ‘the Community’, but I guess it really wasn’t that important. I’m just nosy. Mandrodage Meadows (which I thought was a totally weird name at first, then Parker explained and I chuckled) is laid out much like most communes/compounds are, but there is something that makes them different – they believe that the world is ending soon, as in, a few months. Their main goal is to be able to have all the supplies they would need for a FIVE YEAR hide out while the Brethren, their higher power, pretty much come and clean out mankind. The Community will live in the Silo shelter and defend themselves by whatever means are necessary. Parker did a fantastic job in creating a believable and intriguing story here.

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