REVIEW: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Title: Gated
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 352 pages
Source: Audiobook from the library

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

Lyla lives in a gated community where they are preparing to survive the Armageddon.  Their leader Pioneer is the guide to salvation and he alone makes all decisions which include punishments, activities, media, and even who you will marry. Even though the do not believe it, Lyla and her family are members of a cult.

I have always find the whole concept of cults interesting to read about.  Parker blends common traits and actions found in cults together to build the world in which Lyla lives.  While you can see the parallels to famous cult leaders and cults, the author does not seem to take the ideas as her own.  I really liked the fact that each chapter started with a quote from a real life cult leader or referenced a famous cult.  One of the strengths of the story was the research and background done on cult life which is seen in the thoughts and dialogue of the characters.

Gated's beginning almost had me giving up the book completely but since I truly hate doing that unless it is 100% worth DNF'ing, I kept going.  The second half of the story saved the book.  The writing did a good job of capturing what it would be like to be raised in a cult.  The character history was well done, for example it helped me see how Lyla's family even ended up in this situation.  The author also did not sugar coat the ending, it was a somewhat realistic ending that seemed honest and plausible.

There were two main issues I had with with book.  The first being the voice of Lyla, she seemed so immature and emotional at times.  She had a very young personality which other readers may be okay with, it is just not for me.  I know some of her nature and thoughts are because of her lack of life experience and because she lives in a controlled environment however she was still quite annoying at times.

The second issue is related to the overall tone and feel of the beginning of the book. I was always rolling my eyes at Lyla's "Ohhh Gosh Noo" mentality and her OHHH WILL/Cody moments **cue corny teenage predictable love scenes/dialogue**.  Once the story moved away from the development of the secondary characters and focused on the cult aspects it became more enjoyable.

Overall, I am not urging anyone to go out and read Gated.  The romance is pretty juvenile, the main character is almost impossible to relate to due to her upbringing, and the beginning is weak and all over the place.  That being said: If you are interested in cults or the whole idea of the apocalypse coming and needing to go into an underground bunker than I think you could truly enjoy this book. 

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