3.75 (3,723 ratings by Goodreads)

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A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths. Appearances can be deceiving. Lyla Hamilton is a loyal member of the Community. Her family was happy to be chosen by Pioneer to join such an lovely gated neighborhood. Here, life seems perfect. But after meeting Cody, an outsider boy, Lyla starts questioning Pioneer, her friends, her family--everything. And if there's one thing not allowed in the Community, it's doubt. As Pioneer cleverly manipulates his flock toward disaster, the real question is: Will Lyla follow her heart or follow Pioneer over the edge? From the outside looking in, it's hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker's beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike. "A tense psychological thriller that will leave you gasping for breath as you race to the very last page." --Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten, August 3, 2013:
"When I found out that there was a YA book about cults, of course I had to read it. As it turns out, Amy Christine Parker's Gated is an awesome, creepy book that reminds me of my favorite cult films while still being surprising." Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2013:
"Parker doesn't pull punches, indicating a level of brutality that will appropriately disturb even as it successfully conveys Lyla's complete entrapment in the Community. Compelling and not that distant from real-world cults that have ended in tragedy." Publishers Weekly, June 10, 2013:
"Parker skillfully explores the mindset and inner workings of an apocalyptic cult, steadily building toward the inevitable moment of truth...As for the apocalypse itself, Parker keeps things suitably ambiguous, resulting in a complex, intriguing tale rooted in real-world events." School Library Journal, October 2013:
"This well-plotted tale will allow readers a glimpse into the possible world of a doomsday cult...The language is accessible, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. After the last page is turned, the question will linger: 'Could I ever be deceived like this?'"
"A well-rounded and thorough look into cults while still remaining entertaining throughout. I look forward to reading more of Parker's works in the future."
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 147 x 214 x 31mm | 474g
  • Random House Books for Young Readers
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0449815978
  • 9780449815977
  • 895,871

Review quote

"A tense psychological thriller that will leave you gasping for breath as you race to the very last page."
--Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten "An awesome, creepy book that reminds me of my favorite cult films while still being surprising." "Compelling. . . . This absorbing examination of a cult focuses on a teenage girl who begins to doubt their leader."
--Kirkus Reviews, Starred "I highly recommend Gated to fans of contemporary fiction with a twist. This one has a bit of everything--mystery, intense action, real life issues, and romance."
--My Book Addiction (blog) "After the last page is turned, the question will linger: 'Could I ever be deceived like this?'"
--SLJ "Highly recommended for fans of YA thrillers and contemporary fiction."
--A Dream Within a Dream (blog) "Every once in a while a book comes along that leaves you reeling. Speechless. Shocked. Nothing you say will do it justice. Gated is that book. Chilling, horrifying, but beautiful. A MUST read." "Action-packed and full of suspense. . . . It's new and fresh, a step away from everything that's out there right now."
--Me, My Shelf, and I (blog) "A complex, intriguing tale rooted in real-world events."
--Publishers Weekly "Mysterious, entrancing and dark, Gated brings in just the right amount of paced storytelling with the edge-of-your-reading-seats sense of suspense." "An absolutely enrapturing book . . . I couldn't put it down."
--In Libris Veritas (blog) An entertaining and unique entry in a sea of generic YA novels."
--Fiction Frenzy (blog) "If you need a summer thriller read with a smartly woven plot and a lamb-to-lion main character, then this book is for you."
--Great Imaginations (blog) "An absolutely fascinating read with an original concept and an absolutely brilliant villain! Different with just the right touch of chilling."
--Fiction Freak (blog) "Entertaining throughout."
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About Amy Christine Parker

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.
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Rating details

3,723 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 26% (958)
4 36% (1,355)
3 28% (1,028)
2 7% (275)
1 3% (107)

Our customer reviews

At the brink of a falsely prophesied societal ruin, a cult known only as The Community forms around a leader named Pioneer. Not only are outsiders not allowed in... but insiders aren't allowed out, either. Pioneer's cult following borders on insane, but it's this manic totalitarian state that readers come to sympathize with once taking a glimpse at what goes on within the gates of Mandrodage Meadows. Most people would have difficulty imagining why such a group would ever form and how it could ever work at all (The Manson Family or People's Temple, anyone?), but from the inside looking out, it definitely makes sense. The perspective is unique, expertly crafted, and constantly exciting because as outsiders looking in, we never know what to expect. I personally loved Lyla's exclusive, imaginative viewpoint, and found Gated fast-paced and eventful. While it isn't at all that stylistically or structurally imposing, the plot is unpredictable and definitely made me gasp and double-take throughout. While it does have a more juvenile tone to it, Gated is overall very disturbing with its grave scenes. It may read like middle-grade fiction, but I would categorize it as YA just because of its grittier content. This is serious stuff, nothing what you'd want if you're in for a fun, light read. I did, however, find it to be a perfect escape; Parker builds the Community's world so beautifully that at times, I swear I'd lived in it. Lyla is the kind of girl who can't let go of the small things, and this is what makes her the first to wander from Pioneer's rule--which, in his book, can't ever happen. Her weakness is her passivity but she comes out of her shell when she discovers she has a strength inside of her--a strength called curiosity and ethics--that make her realize what she's been capable of all along: salvation. She has a desperate, intrinsic need to be rescued from a monster that she has yet to fully acknowledge, and her willingness to believe in good and her courage to leave everything she's ever known behind, are what will save her. When she finally faces up to reality, her insight is just what may save the misled cult members, as well... unless Pioneer has his say in the matter, that is. I really didn't like Lyla as a character. She's a decent narrator and makes mature observations, but she just acts uncharacteristically childishly; she seems overdependent and unrealistically loyal, and her whininess doesn't earn her any brownie points either. I also thought adding Cody in as a love interest was completely unnecessary. It's a shame how a good plot can ruined by one glimpse at THE one... Lyla could have easily been inspired by something bigger and better than a cute boy. Pros: Well-formed plot // Story moves swiftly // Action-packed // Doesn't hold back on the horrors and abuses of a cult leader's malicious plans // Relays the true meaning of home and safety Cons: Main character Lyla is dislikable // Narration is dull at times // Lots of plot holes and loose ends // Cody could have been eliminated as a character Verdict: Absorbing and impressively built, the world formed in Gated is one readers will be staying up until the wee hours of the morning, just to read more about. Straightforward and deeply rooted, Amy Christine Parker's debut novel teaches a lesson on what evil and safety really are, and that neither can be prevented--and neither, guaranteed. Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read; highly recommended. Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour company in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Random House and Book Nerd Tours!).show more
by Karielle
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