Gated by Amy Christine Parker
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I hadn’t really heard anything about this book prior to seeing it on NetGalley but the summary looked pretty interesting and I love it when I am pleasantly surprised. I will try not to give everything away but be warned if you continue to read.
Lyla lives in Mandrodage Meadows which happens to be a community that was created by a man called Pioneer. We are first introduced to Lyla as she is headed out to target practice and it is clear she would rather be doing anything other than what she is supposed to be doing. Lyla is more of an observer and would prefer to be in the background but because of the situation that Pioneer has presented, each and every member of their community must train to defend their stronghold.
So, this story is very cultish (if that is a word) and it is clear that Pioneer is taking advantage of those who have had something traumatic happen in the “outside” world to get them to join him. He truly believes he is serving a higher power (The Brethren) and his ultimate goal is to save the community from the end of the world which is expected to occur in approximately 3 months. Pioneer has convinced everyone that in order to survive, they will need to lock themselves into the silo that he and Lyla’s father have designed and constructed.
One thing that is clear is that Pioneer is very manipulative of the people in the community. He is the only person who has access to news and television and everyone essentially lets him make all decisions about everything – including discipline. On top of all this, he is the one who paired all the teenagers up at the age of 15 to let them know who their “Intended” would be. In Lyla’s case she was paired with her best friend Will but regardless – neither of them had any say in the matter.
Unexpectedly, the sheriff and his son come by the community to check things out and Lyla and Cody end up spending some time together. This is the catalyst to a number of critical events. Lyla lets Cody know that she will be in town on their last supply run and that they could potentially run into each other and when the run in happens, it creates a whole bunch of issues for Lyla. Eventually things get to the point where Pioneer turns everyone against Lyla and they all make the decision to fight the sheriff. While things escalate, Pioneer’s plans change from keeping everyone alive to him deciding The Brethren would prefer it that everyone “see the light” and die all together.
Overall I enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting and I kind of wish we could have had more background on why Pioneer came to be how he was as well as why he was so obsessed with Lyla. Was it just because she fought against him and his beliefs?? Will and Cody are the love interests here and they really appear to be polar opposites. While Cody challenges Lyla to think and go against what she thinks she has known all her life, Will is comfortable and her best friend. It is very obvious that although she loves him, she doesn’t love him as much as he loves her. It was a sad revelation Will had and I was glad to see he got over it.
Also, Pioneer’s closing line to her was pretty chilling. I’m sure that if I were Lyla, I would have a hard time sleeping knowing that Pioneer is still around. This was definitely an interesting read and kept me turning the pages to see how it would all end.
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