Review GATED by AMY CHRISTINE PARKER @amychristinepar @randomhousekids

Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They 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 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 compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

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Lyla, now seventeen and living with her parents in a planned community called Mandrodage Meadows (run that name through a anagram program), devised by Pioneer, a cult-like leader with extraordinary charisma and organized to be self-sufficient.  The fact that this guy easily quotes Manson or Jim Jones should have been a giant red flag.  Her parents have sheltered her after her sister was kidnapped and while her mother has withdrawn into herself, it has left her vulnerable.  

The 20 or so families that have gathered there as the chosen to be saved at the end of the world.  The end is coming sooner than this group imagines. You won't be able to take your eyes of the page while the drama builds and the members of this community start to disintegrate. Even though Lyla senses that something is not right within this group, she seems scared to death of acting out and as you get through the story, her backbone develops. When she meets and outsider boy named Cody, the story really starts to move.   I was really cheering for her by the end of the book.  There are some really scary psychological areas that this book touches upon.  

I don't want to give anything away but this story could have been a ripped from the pages of the history of cults and becomes quite the thriller after the initial story set up. I am a rabid viewer of Doomsday Preppers and all of the History Channel documentaries on cults. This story is a riveting combination of those two ideas. Even though this isn't truly a dystopian tale, it does have all of the classic elements but with a more believable idea since these cults do exist and I am sure that this could easily happen and probably has.  

About The Author

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER earned her degree in elementary education at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and then proceeded to try out many different jobs, including collectible doll maker, fondue waitress, and inner-city schoolteacher. It wasn’t until she became a mom and began making up bedtime stories for her children that she finally realized what she was meant to do. Now Amy writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Her first novel, GATED, debuts with Random House Children’s August 6, 2013. Visit her at amychristineparker.blogspot.com.

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