Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book Review: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Title: Gated
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: August 6, 2013
Source: bought, and received from publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Thoughts:
Okay, have you ever had one of those moments when you are expecting something else and you get a completely different take on what you were thinking?  
Still have no idea what I am talking about?  Okay lets do an analogy then:

You order a sweet tea to drink and as you take a sip your taste buds are assaulted with this bubbling sensation as you realize you got a soda instead.  And then as you drink it, you realize you really did want the soda. 

Now I know you really think I have lost my mind!  But that is what happened with Gated.  For some strange reason, I was expecting Gated to be about a community ravaged by zombies.  I don't know why; its just my mind was zombies and that was the evil I was expecting.  
But that isn't what I got.  And as I kept reading I realized this book is so much more scarier than zombies because this is something that could and has happened before in our society.

So I had one of my "Duh" moments but I am still glad I picked up this book because it  really blew my mind.  I never really read any books about religious cults but I now see what I have been missing.  
Gated is one of those realistic scary books.  As I was reading I couldn't understand how these people could get drawn in to what their leader was "preaching" to them.    But as I continued through the book, I realized these characters were already hopeless.  A lot of them had given up on society through terrible situations they have been through.  And as they hit rock bottom, it was so easy to believe anything.  
Each character was written very well.  Our protagonist, Lyla, is the one that seems to question everything.  Even when she feels guilty for doing it.  Its just very disappointing that the parents, who are the ones who should be protecting their children, are so drawn in to what this man is telling them that they will give him free reign over their own free will.  

And just as the protagonists were written very well, the antagonist was written doubly well.  You can tell the author did some amazing research on cults and serial killers.  I really liked how each chapter had quotes from the Leader and then as the book gets further in you get quotes from different killers in our own history.  

Gated is one of those dark stories that really grabs us and won't let go.  It forces us to take a look at the true monsters that surround us and pushes us to question everything.  

I had to give Gated four hearts!

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