Source: Random House Kids – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation
Publisher: Random House Kids
Edition: Hardcover, 335 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Gated is one of those books that rests outside of my normal reading comfort zone and I’m not sure I would have picked it up if it hadn’t been for the awesome people at Random House sending me a copy. Gated is a Young Adult thriller (not a science fiction dystopian) that takes place in a very private community run by the charismatic Pioneer.
The plot is one that I tip-toe around because cults honestly make me sick to my stomach and I get really frustrated with human nature, and I had both of those reactions to this. However to me that signaled that it was very well written not that it was a bad book, Parker managed to make a believable community with believable people.
The first half of the book is slow and deliberate, and while many have complained about this I thought it was the best way to go. We get time to see just how close these people have become and why they feel the ways they do, we get to see how carefully everything is constructed by Pioneer and just how much it takes for someone to break away just a bit. The second half picks up in a big way and before I knew it I was done, out of breath and in some ways relieved.
I really liked Lyla, she’s a good hearted girl who really tries to be the person everyone needs her to be but it’s obvious that she teeters on wanting to be her own person. It’s not something she push to the forefront and she’s not a rebel, she’s a normal girl who makes mistakes and strives to prove herself better than them. I loved her personal journey over the course of the novel, even though there were times when I just wanted to yell at her for her naivety. I liked her best friend Maria and I liked Will, though I had issues with them both at times.Still they are a good supporting cast and I thought that they were a good reflection of the feelings and sentiments in the community. Pioneer has managed to edge his way on to the same list that Umbridge (from Harry Potter) has dominated for so long. I could see his charisma and why everyone feels so devoted to him, but at the same time I could see him for what he was and it made me want to scream. It’s clear to see the similarities between him and actual real world cult leaders that we have seen in the past and I think that’s part of the reason he’s so chilling.
Gated turned out to be an absolutely enrapturing book that I couldn’t put down. I was surprised by how much emotion it pulled from me and I really commend Parker on her ability to create a realistic group.