Gated by Amy Christine Parker
Random House, 2013, 335 pages
YA Thriller

When Lyla’s big sister disappears days before 9/11, a charismatic and empathetic man shows up at her family’s home. They’re meant to come with him and help build a community in preparation for the arrival of the apocalypse and the image1Brethren . Distraught over the loss of a child and the chaos of the events of September 11, 2001, Lyla’s parents decide to join Pioneer and his mission. Now, Lyla is seventeen and things in the community are tense. The local sheriff is checking in on them, along with his son, Cody. Now, Lyla doesn’t know who or what to believe as the days between the present and the apocalypse shorten.

Parker clearly did her research when completing this novel. Each chapter begins with a quote, most of them from famous leaders of the past. Pioneer exhibits textbook characteristics of manipulation, making the plot stand strong in the face of any unrealistic moments. The novel takes on a fascinating topic that can lead to a rabbit hole of research for the reader. While the pace and movement of the story feels a bit off, the overall content of the plot carries on well and is well-planned and just plain interesting.

Because of the textbook-like personality of Pioneer, some of his actions and words do come across as slightly campy. Given that readers are not supposed to trust Pioneer, I don’t feel that those moments draw too much on the book. Each other character was fairly well-developed and easily distinguishable from other characters in the novel. Parker also managed to avoid clichés, which I thought particularly impressive given how easy it would have been to fall into them in writing this novel. Lyla’s character development is relatively minimal — we see more of a change in what she knows as opposed to who she is, though it’s there if you look for it.

Parker’s writing style flows nicely with no distractions. If you’re looking for something a bit more descriptive and visceral, like Michael Grant’s Gone series, this might not be the thing. That said, if you enjoyed the Gone series, Gated is worth checking out if you don’t mind being a little underwhelmed in the visceral reaction department.

According to Parker’s website, Gated is followed up by Astray in a continuation of Lyla’s story and the consequences of the previous novel. I plan on checking it out as a testament to my enjoyment of Gated. Happy reading!

❤❤❤❤ out of ❤❤❤❤❤