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?
I read GATED because of all the praise behind it, and at first I had no idea what the hype was all about. I was originally hesitant to read it because of ESCAPE FROM EDEN, not that I didn’t like ESCAPE, but it definitely was NOT my style. I felt like GATED was going the same way when I stopped short. That was in the beginning of the middle of the book for me. I reread the entire beginning of the story and that was when I realized how amazing Amy Christine Parker is.
It just creeps up on you ever so slowly, and the way that Parker is able to write Pioneer so amazingly is nothing short of haunting and incredible. I’ve read very, very few villains like Pioneer. What’s even more genius is how the story is told through Lyla’s eyes. You get to experience and see her deception, every second of it–and that lifts up Pioneer as a character and makes him stronger.
The revelations, twists and turns to this book are shocking and fun. You never really expect what is coming next from this book, and the ending resolves itself pretty well for a stand-alone. This story is fascinating to watch as it slowly progresses and is one of my favorite psychological thrillers to have ever read. I also loved the way that Lyla’s character grew so much over the course of the story. It’s not exactly something you see right off, like how she would be stronger or cooler or more confident, but it’s more a psychological mindset. Yes, she’s all of those things, but she’s also not the type of character who’s main trait can be defined right off the bat. If anything, I would say she’s adaptable, meaning–in my mind–that she could be anything.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy characters who aren’t adaptable, in fact I may very well prefer them, but when pulled off the right way–like Lyla was–it completely works for the story.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I think it was one of my favorite books of 2013. The main characters were masterfully told and despite the fact that I didn’t really like Cody or understand his character or why he was the love interest for this story, everything else in this book was great and I really appreciated this book. The format was also really interesting. Kudos to the author. 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 352