Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

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I received this book for free from Random House Children's Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Gated by Amy Christine ParkerGated by Amy Christine Parker
Published by Random House BFYR on August 6th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, YA
Source: Random House Children's Books
Buy on Amazon

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.

This was a surprisingly good read! I’ve always had a strange fascination with cults; knowing there are people who have a persuasive power to such a degree is incredible. This book shows what it’s like for kids who are raised in a cult community (which has happened), and how people – especially those broken by grief – can become brainwashed so thoroughly.

After her sister got kidnapped when Lyla was only 5, her mother became withdrawn, emotionally crippled by this emptiness which made her the perfect target of vulnerability. This is how Pioneer, with his big ideas and an impressive force of belief, “rescues” the whole family from this pit of anguish. When we’re introduced to Lyla, she’s now a teenager in the midst of getting ready for the end of the world, which is only a few weeks away – as per Pioneer’s vision from above. Having been raised in this cult community, Lyla doesn’t know any different. This is why it’s both sad and compelling for us to see how completely she and everyone else in this stowed away town have been conditioned to believe such delusions. They fell prey to a monster masquerading as a prophet, yet all they feel is thankful that they’re among the few who will survive the end. No one talks to outsiders, no one watches the news; they have complete faith in their charismatic leader’s words. Mostly, they spend their days at shooting practice or getting their underground Silo ready with enough supplies for this impending doom. This whole community, not just their unconditional beliefs, but also the tight-knit organization and closeness that comes from being so segregated is very well conveyed throughout the book. Their way of life, almost Amish-like, is peaceful in some ways, but they’re blind to the evil underneath. Therefore, getting them “rescued” would only inflict pain onto those in denial; to them we’d be taking away their everything. We’d be the source of evil. It makes us feel at a loss for these people. This is why cults are so interesting to me, they’re full of wonder and exceptional character study.

Since this book explores the workings of a cult community, the pacing is not especially hurried during the first part of the book. I never found it slow, though, as I was kept captivated by the whole ordeal, and it does pick up quite a bit in the second half, especially towards the end where it gets all kinds of intense. It ends fully like a stand-alone should. If the author wanted to, however, there would still be possibilities for a sequel, albeit one with a much different plot at this point. I also want to point out how I enjoyed the minimalistic romance. It existed, but it was hesitant, much like our protagonist who has never had a chance to delve into that sector of a teenage life.

With a subject matter that I have not come across often in YA, Gated is an engaging read that begins on a slower note, allowing us time to dissect it; however, think of it as the calm before the storm. If you find yourself morbidly curious about the subject of cults, I would recommend this book in a heartbeat!

PS – This is not a dystopian!!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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34 Responses to “Review: Gated by Amy Christine Parker”

  1. Soma Rostam

    Well, I am definitely curious about cults. I thought this one was dystopian, the cover gives off such a vibe. But if it’s not, then better
    GREAT review, Giselle, as always!
    Your reader,

  2. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I was definitely wondering about this one. Cults are so fascinating — how people can be conditioned to believe in one ideal/dogma/person so thoroughly that they reject what’s real…it’s amazing to me. Sounds like it was handled well in this book!

  3. Megan (Ink Skies)

    Oh, wow, it’s kind of shocking this wasn’t a dystopian because the synopsis made it sound so much like that! I’m a bit relieved. As much as I love the genre, we need something new. Cults are definitely fascinating, and I like that it’s explored in this book. I’m hoping to start this really soon, so this has my hopes up! Fab review as always, hon!

  4. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I went into the book expecting a dystopian too, but was surprised by the subject matter. For the most part, I was intrigued too. However, I had issues with the characters, in the sense that I never connected to them. I think that might be because these kids were so different from regular kids. It was a fascination exploration into a cult though!
    I’m happy you enjoyed this, Giselle!
    Lovely review, as always!

  5. Stephanie

    This sounds really interesting… a sort of what if in cult terms. I’m glad you added that it wasn’t a dystopian, becuase I’m all dystopianed out.

  6. Kelly

    Gosh this does sound really good! And it’s not a book that I typically pick up, but I think I’m going to have to read it now.

  7. Savy

    I’ve been hearing some great things about this book. I really love the idea of cult community. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Alexia

    Eeeek this looks SO up my alley. I’ve always been fascinated by cults and how the leaders come to totally rule over their followers.I recently finished another book which heavily features a cult and I loooved that one too.

  9. Christianna

    This book sounds fascinating! I haven’t read anything about cults before, even though I know what they are. It sounds like the whole book was done really well! Thanks for this review!

  10. Jenni

    Oooh I can see me really loving this. You still need to read The Right & The Real by Joelle Anthony! That one was about cults too and it was really really good!

  11. Candace

    This one sounds fascinating! I think that it’s definitely one I would enjoy to read. Something realistic and scary. I like that it’s a stand alone, or wrote like one too. Great review!

  12. Molli

    I haven’t read anything like Gated, but I know I WANT to read it. It sounds so intriguing and different. I’m glad you didn’t find the pacing to detract from the plot, Giselle!

  13. Jen @ YA Romantics

    I have this ARC and wasn’t sure what it was about, so your review was very helpful. I’m going to try it and if it’s not for me, I have another blogger friend who loves cult plots!

  14. Jen

    I read this one a couple of days ago and I actually disagree with you quite a lot. >.< While there was definitely a stronger plot and intense storyline in the second half, I felt that this entire book was cliched. And the romance bugged me like crap! I actually think that this is a dystopian, because they are technically still in a world that is meant to be perfect, except this world is present day. I’m glad you were fascinated with the cult idea though, and that you enjoyed it more than I did. Great review!

  15. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    Oh yay I’m really happy that you enjoyed this one! A cult sounds interesting, I’ve never read a book about a cult, but this one seems like a good place to start, just because Pioneer’s character sounds so compelling in a morbid way. I might have an issue with the plot, since it’s not very rushed, because I have a really big obsession with plots. But, that aside, fantastic review, Giselle!

  16. Aman

    I haven’t read anything about cults before, but Gated seems very fascinating. Plus, I love the tagline, it really draws you in. Wonderful review, Giselle!

  17. Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews

    It’s really interesting to find a YA book about a cult and you definitely have me intrigued. I love this line in your review “This is why cults are so interesting to me, they’re full of wonder and exceptional character study.” I’m going to keep an eye out for this book πŸ™‚ Great review Giselle!

  18. Alice

    This sounds like a really interesting read! There are hardly any books out there that focus on cults so I think it would be a unique read. I’ll definitely check it out sometime.

    Great review Giselle! <3

  19. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    In re your PS, I wish books would stop getting labeled dystopian that aren’t. HARRUMPH.

    Anyway, yours is the third review I’ve seen to four star this, so I definitely want to read it. Also, cults are awesome. By which I mean fascinating and not that they are things people should join.