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Gather the Daughters

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  8,018 ratings  ·  1,293 reviews
For fans of Emma Cline's THE GIRLS and Emily St John Mandel's STATION 11, this dark, unsettling and hugely compelling story of an isolated island cult will get under your skin.

GATHER THE DAUGHTERS tells the story of an end-of-the-world cult founded years ago when ten men colonised an island. It's a society in which men reign supreme, breeding is controlled, and knowledge o
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
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Jeremy This might literally be one of the strangest questions I've seen asked on Goodreads.…moreThis might literally be one of the strangest questions I've seen asked on Goodreads.(less)
Cassandra As a 17 year old, I'd say it's not a YA book but there's nothing wrong with some teenagers reading it. I found myself perfectly capable of understandi…moreAs a 17 year old, I'd say it's not a YA book but there's nothing wrong with some teenagers reading it. I found myself perfectly capable of understanding everything that was going on and being caught up in the horror of it. However, when I was reading it I did think that I would have been incredibly shocked by it all if I read it age 14 or 15. Not too young as such, but it would have seemed very adult and intense. Yes this book covers gruelling topics, but a book where all the main characters are teens will always be interesting for us to read.(less)

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Felice Laverne
“When a daughter submits to her father’s will, when a wife submits to her husband, when a woman is a helper to a man, we are worshiping the ancestors and their vision.”

Jennie Melamed’s Gather the Daughters bowled me over in more ways than one. It was haunting, arresting, thought-provoking and confrontational in all the best ways possible. It pressed up against the boundaries of my personal comfort levels - and then pushed passed them. This was a novel with something to say, and Melamed’s voi
Diane S ☔
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a terrible world for women is created within these pages. Exactly what these girls lives are like are gradually unfolded and the full horror is exposed. I was consumed by this story, but almost feel guilty saying that, sort of like the gawkers who stop to gaze upon a traffic fatality. It was though the girls, who we get to know quite well, that made me keep reading. Girls who banded together to change things, and save themselves. Beautiful, courageous young ladies.

What has happened in the
Aug 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Jaidee by: wanted something dystopian not ridiculous and repulsive
Half a "amateurish, histrionic, incongruous, ridiculous, dysgusting, dystopian" star !!

2017 Award - Worst Read of the Year

This book was absolutely wretched !!!

The writing was amateurish from being repetitively flowery and ornate to incongruous dialogue and behaviors of both children and adults that did not make any sense.

The book started off somewhat interesting and then she tried to mash up all sorts of previous dystopian ideas into this book into a most slimy and soupy mess.

I skimmed the
"Endure. I have done it and so can you.”

Years ago, the ancestors escaped the ravaged Wastelands to colonize a small island and start a new society. They wrote Our Book to line out the strict hierarchy and structure that would dictate their lives. Their descendants still follow those rules. Life in the agrarian society can be brutal, especially for girls, so the children are given a taste of freedom in the summer. They're allowed to run wild until they return home in the fall. As one of the y
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Q: “At least we know autumn is coming.”... “And a winter, and a spring, and then another summer.” (c)

This felt forced a bit. Disturbing and disconnected as well. Multiple protagonists, living oh-so-different and at the same time similar lives. A paedophile commumnity, a sect, an apocalypsis afthermath... The world of something else sprinkled with a healthy dose of Margo Atwood.

A calescent sun shatters on the surface of the water, luminous shards slipping about on the tiny waves like a broken,
Heidi The Reader
Gather the Daughters is about a small community that lives with no electricity or modern conveniences on an island. They have a church made of stone that sinks into the ground and a holy book written by "the ancestors." These ancestors are saint-like founders who, according to tradition, fled the wider world to preserve the human race during an apocalypse.

Traditions are dark and strange on the island, but not questioned because they were written by the ancestors.

The tale is told from the viewpoi
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, mystery
This book has references to child abuse and incest. While it is not overly graphic and a lot of the abuse is implied, it is an integral part of the story line. This can make this book tough to read at times...

I always feel odd when I 'like' a book that has such horrors of human nature involved, but this book really held me spellbound. Told from 4 separate POV's, (all children ranging from the ages of 13-17) the story unfolds on an island where it quickly becomes apparent that these children are
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Holy macaroni. This book was phenomenal in so many ways. It's straight into my Short List of my Top 17 Books of 2017. The book reminded me at times of one of my all time favourite novels - The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. High praise indeed from me.

I'm bursting over with things to share about it I can’t get the words out. This was an emotional read. I can say this - get this book, right now, read it. You'll never forget this book. I'm in awe of the author's writing and imagination. It's h
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I've struggled to review this title because I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I'm weary of the women-as-breeder trope so common in post-apocalyptic fiction. On the other hand, there are reasons this is so prevalent.

On the one hand, I find the child abuse in this, even though it is often "offstage," very disturbing. On the other hand, well. It's not unbelievable.

On the one hand, I was confused about the world building. On the other hand, the ending makes everything very clear, or at least pr
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Once there was a young wife who was making her first ham dinner. She carefully sliced the end off of the ham before putting it into the roasting pan.

Her husband queried, "Why did you cut the end of the ham off?"

"Because," the wife replied, "that's how Mom always did it."

The husband suggested, "You should ask your mom why."

So, when her folks arrived for dinner the young wife asked, "Mom, why do you cut the end of the ham off?" "Because," the mother replied, " otherwise it wouldn't fit into my
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review is going to contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t read this book and are interested in it, please be warned. This book is also heavy with trigger issues, specifically, sexual abuse and violence, along with domestic abuse.

“Laughter for a boy, tears for a girl.”

That one sentence summarizes the horror of living as a girl in this disturbed society. Even calling this society disturbed doesn’t feel like enough. It is horrific and beyond understanding.

I went into this novel expecting cre
Zuky the BookBum
I was so interested in this one because it's ultimately about a cult. A cult who live on an island where very strict rules are put in place. Daughters are used to "comfort" their Father's during the night until their first bleed, then they get married off, Mothers are used for producing two children and housework. Sons help their Fathers in their jobs and Fathers rule the land.

On the island they have a Bible / religious text equivalent called Our Book and within the book there are the "Shalt Not
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had me at cult. Seriously, I clicked the request button on Netgalley the second I read that word. I'm fascinated by psychology, especially the deviant sort and subsequently all things to do with cults. And this cult in particular was a doozie. How would something like that even be marketed? PaedoParadise? Now, that's just wrong, isn't it, to treat something as terrible as child abuse facetiously. And yet, the mind goes there, imagining the sort of individuals, referred to as ancestors ...more
I won this book from the Goodreads Giveaways.

I read this book in one sitting, unable to put it down, but it's taken me almost a month to write this review because although I loved this book, the subject matter is painful to think about. Though it's sensitively handled and there is nothing horribly graphic depicted.

This story is about an isolated religious community that uses their religious beliefs (from Our Book) as the justification for the systematic sexual abuse and oppression of girls and w
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set on an isolated island, this is a deeply unsettling read about this secluded community of people. There is no animal larger than a sheep on the island, where the inhabitants spend their time farming, carving or tending to their crops. Lives are governed by numerous rules, which comes from the ‘ancestors’ who first founded the community and it is an extremely patriarchal society. Just how little control women, and girls, have, is unfolded gradually as we learn the stories of the girls who live ...more
Liz Barnsley
Ok I'm going to go slightly off the reservation for this one which seems to be very popular. I didn't like it.

Having said that Gather The Daughters has an awful lot going for it - not least in the writing skill. I can't fault Jennie Melamed's writing and if she had been telling almost any other story I'd probably be 5* raving right now. And she plots beautifully and it's some hard hitting stuff. So to everyone else I say give it a go.

Me? I read it all quite quickly but not because I was loving i
Each child has his own summer, but each summer leaves a different child.

I was very impressed by this debut. A dark, thought-provoking speculative fiction about the treatment of females in an isolated island community. I loved the characters unique voices and the fact that they all responded to a similar situation in their own unique way - I felt sympathy for all of them, and wondered what I would do in a similar situation. The slow reveal and the constant downplay of the hideous truth, made it e
I'm in mixed minds about this one.

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Lord Of The Flies meets M Night's Shyalaman, The Village. That's what I took away from this book.

Gather The Daughters falls into the dystopian genre and the blurb gives enough information to outline the story. What it doesn't say is that the book is disturbing on so many levels. Incest, rape and a rotten world for young girls and women is what's at the heart of this book. For me personally, I came too soon off The Handmaid's Tale to
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars--somewhere between liked and really liked.

The negative: This has all been done before. And, it's a big downer.

The positive: I found this engrossing reading. The characterizations and psychology are spot on. The details of this civilization (which, as far as I can tell, was founded by deviants and not caused by any post-apocalyptical scenario) were chilling. I really rooted for the daughters to learn the truth, break free, and cause a riot. The ending depressed me, though it's fitting.
Moe's Book Blog
When the country became a wasteland, several men and their families colonized a coastal island where they built a fundamentalist society based on worshipping ancestors, controlling breeding, and restricting all knowledge of prior history of the unknown wastelands. Only the Wanderers or chosen male descendants of the original ten families are allowed to enter the still burning wastelands to scavenge for debris.

In this patriarchal dystopian society, as soon as a daughter reaches puberty or "fruiti
Sadie Hartmann
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**UPDATE** just read some reviews and I think people should know, most of the abuse and incest is implied and not explored in excessive detail. The author is a doctor that works with victims of child abuse so I trusted her very minimal description but without sacrificing the threat the girls were facing. So, it's not too much for sensitive readers.

Damn! For a debut novel Jennie Melamed writes like she's been doing this "writing good books" thing in her sleep! This is a gripp
Janelle Janson
GATHER THE DAUGHTERS by Jennie Melamed - This was the August selection for Instagram's Salt Water Reads Book Club. It turned out to be one of my favorite books thus far in 2017!

I'm a HUGE fan of dystopia and cult narratives so this is right in my wheelhouse. I cannot believe this is a debut novel! It's dark, disturbing, compelling, interesting, and thought-provoking.

This beautifully written story is told from the point-of-view of Vanessa, Amanda, Caitlin, and Janey - all daughters from different
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book got me thinking and then it disappointed me. First , this books deals with very heavy topics (rape, child abuse , incest )but doesn’t focus on that, what it chooses to focus on is a “rebellion “ led by one of the child/woman who wants to a stop as to how girls are treated in this island in which this cult has chosen to live , a rebellion that seems more like child’s play rather than something that deserves to be taken seriously. Second we are never clearly told what happened befor ...more
Bex (Beckie Bookworm)
Wow!!! where to start with Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed.
This book was completely unlike anything I have ever read. What drew me here initially was the depiction outlined initially in the storyline. the idea of a secret dystopian island, a cult really fired my imagination and I so desperately wanted to know more about this shrouded undisclosed society.
To summarise, we have an island where the ancestors are gods and the wanderers keep order adding to the list of commandments forced on th
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog
“This dream, the dark embodiment of blasphemy, is a shameful secret rooted strongly as a tooth or a fingernail.”

Still catching my breath, weeks after reading Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed. Let’s just talk about the gorgeous writing, the sentences that created this cult-like nightmare world. This is how a writer should reveal the inner turmoil, from describing mutton that tastes like dirt and yet father eats with gusto, to one child hatin
Sonja Arlow
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was not what I expected it to be, it was better!

The book is tagged as science fiction (it’s not), dystopian (not really) so if you do not gravitate towards these two genres please don’t let that stop you from reading this.

At the start this close-knit community that makes a living on a remote island had a strong Amish feel to it, homespun clothes, everyone working the land and bartering goods, children protected from outside influences and women living in servitude for their husbands.

The co
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
OK guys and gals - Iet's get right to the skinny, shall we? This book is FANTASTIC! Debut novel? WHAT?! So well written. Divided into four parts, one for each season, we begin with Spring and end in the Winter. Once a girl has her first bleed, the next summer becomes her Summer of Fruition, where she (along with the other girls going through the same thing) group together with a group of boys to find their husbands. From there they are then married and she's allowed to have two children. Once th ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

You guys like books about cults? Isolated dystopian islands where women and girls live in a nightmare with no control over their own bodies? (I know, it sounds uncomfortably familiar). Then you must check out Jennie Melamed's debut novel, Gather the Daughters!
The book follows the perspective of four daughters who live on the Island where the rules of the founding ancestors must be obeyed, and that means women and girls must submit to their fathers and husbands. It's grim stuff. After a
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read and reviewed it. The little piggy ate another one. Not doing it again as my original review was stellar! I'll stick to that evaluation of my own review, until or if, it reappears- then I will immediately start backpedaling.

PS Now I remember being particularly annoyed that this book was compared to The Giver and Never Let Me Go and that might have added to my disenjoyment.
(I just do so enjoy making up my own words-sorry)
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JENNIE MELAMED is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in working with traumatized children. During her doctoral work at the University of Washington, she investigated anthropological, biological, and cultural aspects of child abuse. Melamed lives in Seattle with her husband and three Shiba Inus.

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“She can’t see the point of the repetitiveness of it all, people living to create more people and then dying when they’re useless, to make room for even more new people. She’s not sure why they keep making new people to replace themselves, except—of course—that the ancestors said to.” 1 likes
“Gathering her courage, she raises her voice gleefully and sings Father’s favorite swear word, which would get her smacked if any adult heard her say it. “So fuck! Fuck! Fuck you, Father and Mother, fuck you, little brother, fuck all the others, fuck the ferry and the fog, fuck school and fuck church and fuck the ancestors and fuck fruition, fuck you, fuck the island too.” 1 likes
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