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The Prophet Calls

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Born into a polygamous community in the foothills of New Mexico, Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen. Here, she lives apart from the outside world and its “evils.”

On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophe
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Yellow Jacket
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  401 ratings  ·  126 reviews

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Hema Penmetsa
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have been lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of THE PROPHET CALLS before its publication, which is set for November 6th of 2018.

The very second sentence of the book, which says, “In the shade of the general store, my three mothers shake their heads in unison,” makes the reader sit up and take notice: this is no run-of-the-mill middle grade novel. Those words hint at the fact that this is an involved and thought-provoking story. What the reader has surmised from that
Jen Petro-Roy
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic debut, this book kept me gripped to the pages.
Polly Holyoke
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Melanie Sumrow’s powerful debut novel, The Prophet Calls, is a coming of age story with a fascinating setting. Raised in an isolated polygamous community in New Mexico, Gentry Forrester adores her family and her music. More than anything, Gentry longs to play her violin at the Sante Fe Music Festival with her big brother Tanner. But the community’s Prophet, who controls every aspect of their lives, calls from prison and forbids all forms of music and decrees that females can no longer leave the ...more
Carmen Liffengren
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Since I have read memoirs like The Sound of Gravel and The Polygamist's Daughter, I came to The Prophet Calls knowing what to expect: polygamy, dysfunctional families, poverty, and an over-arching controlling community.

The only time Gentry Forrester feels free is when she plays her violin. In her big polygamous family, Gentry's violin is the one thing she can truly call her own until the "prophet" declares music too "worldly." Gentry's family begins to splinter under the crushing weight of so m
A girl in a cult finds herself in chaos when everything goes wrong.

This was one of my anticipated reads of September, I love books about cults, I am always interested to see how people fall for them, how people act there, and how a cult works. And to see people try to find a way out (as that is often a plot as well).

However, I am disappointed in this one. Since I am quite tired, and I have tried to write a review for the past 6 days, I will just go for a good/not so good review... though I gue
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful debut! I couldn’t put this down. I look forward to another novel from Sumrow.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book- all opinions are my own.

The Prophet Calls is an excellent debut middle grade novel that provides a glimpse into a world that many readers are unfamiliar with. Gentry is a 13 year old girl who lives in a polygamist community in New Mexico and is now facing the challenge of being considered a woman and no longer a little girl. Melanie Sumrow has written a powerful book about a girl at a crossroads. She carefully documents Gen
Kevin Kuehn
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent recommendation from @DanAllberry! I'd never heard of this book or Melanie Sumrow, but wow did it deliver. Generally speaking, I don't find myself particularly interested in polygamous communities or cults, but this book explores both in such a compelling, realistic way. Not only that, but it's perfect for middle school, which is sorta hard to believe. These are two topics that normally don't translate to 7th grade very easily, but Sumrow does it masterfully. Two major thumbs up ...more
Melinda Brasher
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good—and disturbing—story.

I thought the writing and plot were good, the topic grimly fascinating. I loved the relationship between the main character and her sister Amy. The family dynamics were interesting in general. I found the mother very puzzling…but in a good way. The control the leaders had over their flock was chilling.

Some of the details surprised me. This religion is very clearly based off Warren Jeff's version of the FLDS church. I don't know a ton about FLDS culture and practices,
Anne O'Brien Carelli
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC in exchange for a review and I'm glad I had a long ride so I could read it right through. I kept reading parts of it out loud to the driver. This book is compelling on many levels - not only because it's based on reality, but because it's beautifully written and moves along swiftly. I was with Gentry, the MC, from the very beginning and was always anxious to see what was on the next page. It should be made clear that no there's no judgement in this book - just the story about G ...more
Lauren- The Smile Lines
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner
Thanks to #kidlitexchange for sharing a review copy of this #mglit book. .
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! The Prophet Calls is @melaniesumrow debut novel coming out on 11/6.
The story is about a polygamous community and all of the challenges the members go through. The main character, Gentry, uses her love for music to get her through the darkest of days! Her family is being torn apart, and she needs to make her way out of this community!
Gentry is such a strong female charac
Laney Nielson
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Set in a polygamous community in New Mexico, this upper middle grade story is beautifully written and compellingly told. At its center is Gentry, a thirteen year old girl whose love of music (she plays the violin) stirs her feelings and gives her a glimpse of the outside world. As the leader of her community (The Prophet) grows increasingly harsh in his pronouncements, Gentry struggles to obey. What follows is a page-turning, high stakes story that is hard to put down. The southwestern setting a ...more
Cassie Thomas
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything like The Prophet Calls, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy the story. Think student level Handmaid's Tale. I found myself feeling completely emotional in wanting to help children in circumstances such as Gentry's that are beyond their control. I felt disgusted reading, but I couldn't stop. Everything Melanie wrote is accurate on so many levels, but also written in a way that students will be able to comprehend, question, and then inquire about. Yes, they live in a po ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An emotionally adventurous tale, this story features life in a religious compound, under the thumb of a Prophet and the stifling expectations of a polygamous community. This is life as "God's chosen people." The problem, however, is that Gentry Forrester is not only a strong-willed 13-year-old girl, but she also (1) loves music and (2) adores her family. As the Prophet exercises his control over the community from the confines of prison, Gentry is faced with a decision: obey his orders, or liber ...more
Elise Filka
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Received this as an ARC because I'm a bookseller. Amazing! Also quite a quick read. Made me want to know more about polygamous communities. Hopefully this book helps others who have an interest in or experience living in these types of communities speak out (for better or worse--but let me tell you--this book is most definitely for worse). It is a timely, important book for the world we live in no matter what community you are a part of--the violence and bigotry towards women is intense in here ...more
Brad McLelland
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One word: HAUNTING. Gentry's story won't just tug at your heart, it'll stick in your mind and make you think for days. I'm definitely placing this one on my "To Read Again" list, if only to analyze a little more deeply how Sumrow captured such a complex idea -- the notion of a polygamous community -- and yet distilled it for young readers in a way that makes it palatable, relatable, and real. I imagine this one's gonna get studied at great lengths for many years to come.

I read an Advanced Reade
This book will leave you aching for girls caught in circumstances beyond their control. This book will leave you cheering for Gentry. So well-written. Such a page-turner. A fantastic debut.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gentry lives in Watchful, a community in New Mexico, with her 3 moms, 21 brothers/sisters and 80 cousins while the Prophet is in Texas, in prison. There are other families living in this compound, all of them are one of God’s Chosen according to the Prophet. They have been warned about the individuals living outside their walls. At the age of 13, children are not allowed to play anymore and for Gentry, that also means she couldn’t play her most prized possession, her violin.

Gentry has just turn
Amber K.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was really, really good. I couldn’t put it down and was completely immersed in this world.

Gentry lives in a polygamous community in New Mexico and is supposed to “keep sweet” and avoid anything “evil” from the outside world. The word behind her guarded community of Watchful. This means even giving up doing what she loves, playing the violin. What happens when Gentry starts to question this way of life is when things start to get really interesting...
Kristin Crouch
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting window into an entirely different lifestyle. Gentry was born into a polygamous community in New Mexico. I must admit that my weakness would be not knowing how much of the story is realistic, but to me, it seemed very real and well researched.
At age 13, Gentry is beginning to see the faults in the beliefs of her community: is the Prophet all knowing? Is he making proclamations to reward his most faithful followers? How can violence be so well received? Why is Gentry's community the 'cho
Lisa Boyd
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-challenge
I read this entire book in one sitting. I loved it. This is my favorite book I’ve read in a long time. Excellent middle grade fiction that would crossover to YA easily.

Polygamy, discrimination, one of the most positive wonderful portrayals of a disabled character (even though she has a very rough life) I have ever read. Such a great novel. I hope the author writes more in the future. I couldn’t put it down.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t wait to read this book! It sounded so good. It did not disappoint!

It’s a great book for both adults and young adults alike. It could even have a sequel and that would be great!!
Abby Cooper
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Captivating from the first page to the last.
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. I read it in one day, I couldn’t put it down.
Jolynne Dougherty
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book and topic. All the reviews of it that I have seen are written by adults. I would be curious to get a youth's perspective on this book. It is marketed to middle grade audiences. I believe that it would be more appropriate for YA audiences.

I had many questions to ask the author while reading this book. They do reference the Book of Mormon as the scripture that the family reads. As an adult I recognize that the book seems to be based on the FLDS Warren Jeffs-type cult a
Suzanne Frank
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Yingling
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
ARC provided by publisher

Gentry lives with her very extended family in a small community in New Mexico. They are led by the Prophet, and her father is one of the elders in the community. He has three wives, and many children who attend school in the Prophets house, since he has been in prison for a few years. The boys learn survival skills, and the girls learn homemaking and other skills that will make them good wives and mothers. Gentry isn't happy that she has to stop playing games when she tu
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction, y-a
I have to preface this review with the fact that I've already read a lot of nonfiction about fundamentalist Mormons especially the Warren Jeff's cult. There have been many biographies by women who have left the sect. I mention that first because I already had a decent idea of what happened to people in these circles.

Telling the story from the point of view of a thirteen year old girl, Gentry, was significant and extremely well done. Seeing how fundamentalist Mormonism affects children, from thei
Valerie McEnroe
Adult rating: 4 stars
Kid rating: 2 stars

While this book doesn't mention the FLDS (Fundamental Latter Day Saints) religion specifically, everything that happens also happened in the real polygamist town of Colorado City, Arizona.

Gentry has just turned 13. Her household has one father, three wives and lots of children. Her community is ruled by the Prophet. Although he is in prison (like Warren Jeffs), he is still in charge, because everyone believes he speaks on behalf of God. When Gentry and he
Emily Tyler
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-to-buy
5 stars!

I don't read a lot of middle grade, so I don't have much to compare this book to, but it blew me away. It's such a great story with amazing characters and amazing character development. (Before reading, be aware that a lot of the content and more violent scenes are really of a YA nature, but the writing style and age of characters caters more middle grade readers.)

I loved everything about this book, especially the violin plot because I used to play violin and chamber music, so there was
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“Maybe instead of concentrating on the giant hole that seems too deep and wide, we can look for the bridge instead.

It may take us a long time to find it. It may not. But, with some work, we may be able to find our way back home." -Gentry”
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