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352 pages, Hardcover
First published August 6, 2013
“I can’t really be bothered by something if I don’t know that it exists. I like where I live and how I live. The smaller your world is, the safer it is, you know? I may not know about every kind of junk food or movie or book, but I don’t have to worry about someone taking someone that I love, or eating something that might ultimately kill me, or wondering every morning if someone will come to my school with a gun and shoot me or my friends, or if a group of terrorists will come and blow up the building where my parents work. The world can be a pretty scary place to live. It’s a lot less scary when there isn’t so much of it open to you."This book is told through the eyes of 17-year old Lyla. She and her parents have been living in Mandrodage Meadows (an anagram for Armageddon Meadows), headed by the astoundingly charismatic leader, Pioneer. Theirs is what we of the outside world would call a "doomsday cult." Theirs is a small community of around 20 families all working together to financially support the community, all coming from the outside world and personally selected by Pioneer to be "saved."
“Truthfully? I don’t know. I mean, you’re not exactly like any other girls I know. And you might be fairly cute, which helps...But I think mostly it’s because you sort of intrigue me. You’re more smothered by your parents and your situation than I’ve ever been by mine, and yet you don’t seem to notice that much...or even really mind. I don’t get it.”This is not a perfect book, the ending left some questions that I wanted answered, and I could definitely do without a few characters. Ultimately, this was an engrossing book, with excellent writing and characterization. Highly recommended.
“I guess I want to figure you out.”
"The world can be a pretty scary place to live. It's a lot less scary when there isn't so much of it open to you."
"Because giving up is easier than having to go back out there."
He's my Cheeto - bad for me, but now that I have a taste of him, I can't leave him alone.
Lyla’s life in Mandrodage Meadows always seemed perfect. Pioneer protected the people in the community and it seemed like nothing could ever go wrong. As the impending end is approaching, Lyla begins to question things and the meeting with an outsider leads Lyla to uncover secrets that will destroy them all. I wasn’t sure if I would like Gated. I went into it knowing that it was about cults, which have always fascinated me, but even I know that a subject like this hard to achieve. Especially a subject tackled by a debut author. I was definitely blown away. I read a few reviews while reading Gated and most of them point out a lot of good points about characters and such. This story is a definite thriller. Slow at first, but once Gated picks up, it never stops. Parker does an excellent job of keeping the reading guessing when Lyla will find out Pioneer’s secrets and how. The story is slightly predictable, but once the climax happens, it’s nonstop action.
The main female character is Lyla. Lyla is a good character, but her naivety was just ridiculous. She lived in the real world at one time and I found it odd how she doesn’t remember what junk food tastes like. I’m pretty sure her parents gave her junk food when she was a toddler, so I don’t see why Lyla wouldn’t be able to remember some of these. It just seems odd that she once lived in the ‘real’ world, but is so shocked by how good junk food is. I also found a lot of her choices to be rather foolish. It was easier to like her towards the end, though. Lyla isn’t an extraordinary character, but she is likable and well-rounded. I enjoyed her POV and it was never a dull moment in her mind.
The main male characters are Will and Cody. Will is Lyla’s best friend and her intended. I didn’t really care for Will. He was a good friend to Lyla and I saw that, but he as the story progressed he just seemed… off. I tried to like him, but like Lyla I only saw him as a friend to her. Cody is the sheriff’s son and I liked Cody a lot at first. By the end of the story though, he seemed clingy and just annoying. I personally didn’t like either boy very much, but they both had their moments where I really liked them. I just didn’t swoon over these love interests.
The Villain- Pioneer is probably one of the best villains I’ve come across in YA in a while. He’s methodical, manipulative, and cold. I hate Pioneer with a passion and he is a truly terrifying human being. It was so interesting to see what this mastermind would do. I’m not exactly sure why he started Mandrodage Meadows and I wish that would’ve been touched on. I’m still shocked by the horrors he put these people threw.
I didn’t particularly like Lyla’s best friend, Marie, at first, but as the story went on, I liked her more and more. She really was a good friend to Lyla and it was never a dull moment when they were together. I don’t really have anything to say about Marie’s intended, Brian (I think), he was there, but never really there.
The psychological parts of this story were interesting, but it felt like something was slightly missing. It was never a dull moment for me while reading Gated and I look forward to more of Parker’s works. Gated is definitely a book you don’t want to miss!