Monday, July 1, 2013

Review of Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Random House Children's
by Amy Christine Parker
5 Scribbles
To be released, August, 2013

After Lyla’s sister is kidnapped and never found, her family decides to escape the evil world by moving to Mandrodage Meadows, or “The Community” with the man who shows continued concern over their loss even in the wake of 9/11—Pioneer.  Now Pioneer has been given a vision that the end of the world is coming, and Lyla must prepare to enter the underground silo that will protect her family from the impending apocalypse.  But how many people may have to die before she gets there?

Short, intense chapters begin with chilling quotes from notorious historical cult leaders like Jim Jones, Charles Manson and David Koresh. These alternate with significant Biblical passages that all work together to create an impending sense of hysteria and doom throughout the narration.  Through Lyla’s eyes, it is easy to see how vulnerable individuals with no family or friends to speak of, or those who haven’t been well-supported by the community at large after a tragedy, might be pulled into a cult.  Lyla is even more vulnerable because she has so little power in The Mandrodage Meadows Community; she is clearly at her parents’ mercy which begs the question, do teens have the right to challenge the religion their parents have chosen for them? And in Lyla’s case, the husband they have chosen for her?  The most fascinating character in the story is perhaps Pioneer, who seems a bit odd at first, but quickly becomes a terrifying figure. Parker does a phenomenal job at illustrating the mind of a psychopath left to his own devices. Pioneers continued madness forces Lyla to act when she realizes that sometimes bravery is doing what is right, even if one has to act alone.  Fans of S.A. Bodeen’s The Compound and Pam Bachorz’s Candor won’t be able to put this believable bit of sci-fi suspense down, and that’s a promise.

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