Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Welcome to my stop on the Amy Christine Parker Gated Blog Tour. See my review below:

GatedRelease date: August 6th 2013
Publisher: Random House
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.

Will is her Intended.

The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound's underground fortress--the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she'd rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

*I was given a copy of this book to review for the tour. That had not influenced my opinion in any way.

An interesting story analyzing the atmosphere of a closed community from one girl's innocent eyes. 

Gated takes us on a journey of how an individual can easily convince a group of people with promises of a beautiful life while it appears he is oppressing them in ways they don't even realize, but Lyla is pretty much wide awake. She has a mindset of her own and I liked how throughout the pages she questions-internally-the beliefs of their so-called leader and all his teachings. 

I don't exactly enjoy reading books involving cults and people abusing religion, using it to brainwash others and having them partake in a belief that doesn't seem right. And this book had me all over the place with my emotions. I disliked Pioneer (seriously, you don't get more egotistic than that) from the get-go. It unnerved me as I continued reading how manipulated these people were and I wanted someone (ANYBODY) to snap out of it. There was one scene in particularly that had me heated and wanting to shove my hand in the story and bitch slap this Pioneer. 

He talks about how the outside world is full of violence and evil people who hurt each other, but how is what he does in the name of 'punishment' loving or kind, or different from what he despises outsiders for. Throughout the entire story I kept thinking of him as a hypocrite and towards the end my impression becomes even more justified. Basically, I always knew Pioneer was bat shit crazy.

Let's talk main character. Lyla, wow. She was great. I saw things perfectly clear through her eyes and felt her emotions deeply within the words. From the opening chapter I developed a sense of the kind of person she was, and I understood where she was coming from. Lyla was severely protected and sheltered by her parents (mother, more particularly since losing a child). It is understandable why she'd give up a normal life in exchange for their beliefs, to make them happy. Lyla, like most of us seek comfort and security, and she believed this community, isolated or not, would provide such things. 

Lyla, among everyone else, questioned everything but never spoke out. In fact, it seemed her bravery blossomed further upon meeting Cody. And boy did I like Cody's character and how he shook up Lyla's world with the TRUTH. I think him coming into her life made her see things differently and experience a new kind of emotion that she's never felt before. My favorite lines from this jovial character Cody is:

"I see what you're saying...but those things don't happen all the time to everybody. And I don't see how being somewhere smaller and more controlled keeps you from trouble. If anything, it gives you less room to run. Eventually everybody has to deal with something unpleasant. I don't think hiding away from those things means that they won't find you."

And he couldn't have said it better. Because as much as Lyla had a point with what she said before that, Cody responded the way I would've. Let's be realistic, trouble finds us EVERYWHERE, even in isolated groups like what Lyla and her family and friends are a part of. Towards the end, she realized that more than ever-sometimes what you're hiding from is right there with you all along where you least expected it to be.

Overall, it was a great story. Though, I found it wasn't fast paced no matter if the pages were under 300. However, I truly had to take my time to dissect every chapter in order to fully understand the main character and what was happening around her. It was a bit detailed, but understandable and thought-provoking, as the author explained what brought the main character and her family in that situation, and how deeply affected Lyla was by everything. Besides, the dramatic ending and those enervating head notes made up for the wait. 

I went into Gated without reading the synopsis and I'm glad I did. Because it made me even more open-minded towards the theme embedded. And once more I have to say it turned out to be a very interesting story with wonderful writing, intriguing characters and fantastic twists. If you like reading about cults with the aspect of faith, psychotic and power hunger maniacs, then do give this one a try.



Amy was born in Pennsylvania and spent most of her early years there. Many of her best memories are of hiding out in her room where she made up elaborate pretend play scenarios most often involving orphaned baby dolls and Barbies dressed in fashions made out of Kleenex. 
Amy was always attracted to writing, but she tried a lot of other jobs on for size first before settling into writing full time. At some point or another, she has been a collectible doll-maker, a fondue waitress, an inner city school teacher, and a stay at home mom. Currently she is writing full time and lives in a suburb of Tampa, Florida with her very supportive husband, their two creative and energetic daughters, one absurdly fat orange cat, and two escape artist mice.

Click the image to see the rest of the stops on the tour:


  1. Gated sounds like a great read, definitely up my alley :) I think I will like Lyla and Cody, and everything I could analyze! Thanks for the review!

  2. Wow, what a great article about Gated! I'm adding it to my TBR list!

  3. Yay, I'm glad that Lyla was such a fantastic main character and that you could really feel her emotions, that's always a great quality in a main character :) I'm sorry it was kind of slow-paced, though, I'm a really plot-centric person, so I can see why that would take away some of your overall enjoyment, even if it was an amazing book otherwise.

    Thanks for sharing, fantastic review, Shane!

  4. I'm glad that you ended up enjoying this so much Shane. I recently read a book that was similar to this and I loved how much it made me think.
    Great review!

    1. Yea, I like when stories with no relation to paranormal can gnaw at my emotions so this was good.

      Thanks Drea :)

  5. Great review, Shane! I don't think I ever actually read the summary of this until after your review. I've seen it on Goodreads and thought the cover was intriguing but didn't give it much thought. Cody sounds like a great character! I love the quote you gave. That's perfection, right there. I think I'll definitely have to give this one a shot :)

  6. Ohhh, I'm so eager to read this. Sounds awesome. Great review! :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your favorite lines! Cody seems really wise and I like that Lyla is brave :)


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