by Amy Christine Parker


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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."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780449815977
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/06/2013
Series: Gated
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 606,602
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

"Shoot to kill this time, okay?" Will winks and pushes me into the tall corn as we walk through the field to the gun range. I push him back and he laughs. The sky is a perfect cloudless blue and the air is hot from the summer sun. It's a day meant for picnics, not pre-end-of-the-world target practice.

"But that's why I have you," I say. I fiddle with the leather strap attached to my rifle, sliding it back and forth across my shoulder until it rests comfortably in the crook of my neck. Turning my face up to his, I'm sure that I'll see his lips curl into a smile at my routine grumbling, but instead he's frowning.

"What if I'm not with you when we're attacked? You can't assume someone else will pull the trigger for you all the time." His hand tugs absently at his ear, a sure sign that he's not joking anymore.

I swallow back my answer and look out past the corn to the prairie beyond. The unspoken words drop into my stomach, making it hurt. The gun range is up ahead. Marie and Brian are already there. The popping sounds of their guns carry over the cornfield, punctuating the sudden awkwardness between Will and me.

"I'm just saying that maybe it's time you took all of this seriously." Will reaches out for my non-gun-toting hand. I hesitate, my fingers twitching in the air. He dips his head and gives me a sidelong smile.

I know he means well. He always means well. He cares about me I am the problem. Exactly three months until the end of the world and I still can't muster up the proper response. I pull in a long breath, glad for the abundance of air around me. Thinking about the end of things always makes me feel like I'm suffocating.

Will chases after my hand with his own until he snares it. He laces his long fingers through mine. "I worry about you, Lyla. I can't be with you every second, even once we're in the shelter. I just want to know you'll do what you have to to survive."

I can't keep a sigh from escaping. We've had this conversation so many times. It's intensifying now because of the target shooting. This is only our fifth time out on the range, and his pestering is reaching epic proportions.

"Come on," I finally say, like he's the one who's holding us up. He squeezes my hand lightly. We walk the last few yards to the open grass and the gun range. I fish my earplugs out of my pocket and stuff them in my ears before Will can say anything more. He leans down, his lanky frame casting a shadow over my face. He's like a barometer--constantly measuring my moods and reporting them back to me in his expressions. His stonewashed-blue eyes are troubled and his freckled nose is crinkled with concern. This means that he thinks that I'm overly anxious. I want to reassure him, if only to get him to look away, but it's as if clouds have suddenly formed and gathered over my head.

Brian's standing behind Marie, his face buried in her dark curls. He's gently guiding her rifle to her cheek for what I'm sure is the hundredth time. Together they aim her gun at the large collection of hay bales across from them. Each hay bale has a life-sized cutout of a person bound to its front. They're aiming at a woman. It's a silhouette, but still it makes my skin tingle when the gun goes off and I see a piece of the plywood lady's chest fly out into the grass. Marie grins at us and her cheeks flush pink.

"Did you see that?" she asks. I can't exactly hear past my earplugs, but I don't need to. She says the same thing every time she manages to land a shot. I paste a smile on my face and walk toward them and out of Will's shadow.

"Nice!" I holler back. I take my usual spot in the grass, across from the hay bale with the man cutout. I'm pretty sure this makes me sexist, but the man target is the only one I can stomach shooting. I lower the rifle from my shoulder and try to psych myself up.

Not enough room for everyone. We can't take them all. They had their chance. We have to protect ours.

I play this litany over and over in my head, hoping that somehow it will make my heart understand. It didn't work the last time and I don't hold out much hope for this time either. How can I take someone's life when he's just scared and looking for help, even if it saves my own?

I glance over at Will. He's shooting at two plywood cutouts: a man and a woman. His rifle is tucked into the space between his chest and his shoulder, and his cheek is welded to the gun's stock. He keeps both eyes open, lines up his sights. There's no hesitation once he gets the sights level. The rifle jumps as he takes the shot and the plywood man's head flies backward. His featureless face searches the sky. Will readjusts and shoots the plywood woman in almost the exact same spot. Her head stays upright, but it's missing its rounded top. He smiles as he lowers his gun and looks at me.

I turn back to my own hay bale and the silent man-board waiting there for me. I pull my rifle up into position and ready my stance. I can feel the others watching me, hoping that for once I'll shoot one of the mandatory targets: head or heart. My bangs are plastered to my forehead and sweat tickles my back as it runs down my spine. I still my body, put my finger on the trigger, and pull. The recoil makes me wince and I shut my eyes. When I open them and look out at the silhouette man, I let out my breath in one relieved rush. The bullet hit exactly where I wanted it to.

"Really, Lyla? The kneecap again?" Marie has her hands on her slim hips and one foot jutted out as if she's suddenly become a seasoned assassin. She can't seem to wrap her mind around my continued reluctance to shoot right.

"It's her tribute to Terminator Two," Will says. "Where the kid orders the Terminator to take nonlethal shots all the time." He doesn't look at me as he walks back to his spot and aims at his target again, but I know that our discussion isn't over. It won't be until I manage to find a way to do what they want, to give in and fight.

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Gated 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Michelle_Krys More than 1 year ago
I've always been fascinated by cults, and the concept of a novel told from the perspective of a young cult member made me embarrassingly excited. Thankfully GATED didn't just live up to my high expectations--it completely blew them out of the water. GATED is an breathtaking, thrill-ride of a debut: smart, reassured, exciting, and romantic.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Gated starts out right away by showing the main character Lyla is different. In the world of Silo, the community in this book, they are having target practice with cardboard cutouts and Lyla doesn't want to go for kill shots head or chest, but she can't even do that, she sees them as real people. She is also questioning the Brethren or who they believe are their creators and the world is about to end, and only a select few, The Chosen, in Silo will survive. Their leader, Pioneer is charismatic and you can see why people would believe and follow him. He seems so caring and concerned, and the words he uses will get right to your heart.  Her friends Will, Brian and Marie all really buy into it, and Lyla tries to because she really cares for them, and it is obvious they care about her, they just don't understand her hesitations.  I just never expected all of the twists and turns, and especially how heart heart changes and the bravery that she ultimately grows. I read this for the character development I saw in Lyla, the fiestiness beneath the surface, and the friendship between Lyla and Marie.  While there is action, it is a mostly character driven story, struggling with past losses, current shortcomings, and wrestling with what being told to them is a lie, because they are contradictory. The world building was done really well. Mandrogage Meadows felt like a real place to me, with its society and way of life differing from my own, but I could picture it. I could sympathize with what the residences thought to be true and how they fought for their way of life. With that said, I wish that somehow we got a glimpse into Pioneer's past. I want to know what made him how he is and more of how he actually convinced them he was the real deal.  The ending took my breath away and I was on the edge of my seat watching it all play out. It was so well done and put such a blast of hope into the story and Lyla's life.  Bottom Line: Chilling book with a well developed and questioning main character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell inlove with the book right when i layed eyes on it. This book kept me turning pages. I refused to put the book down even for dinner! This book is apropriate for middle schoolers and anyone older. It has an amazing plot and keeps me wanting more. This is a book i would recremend for anyone who loves a bit of a thriler with a dash of romance. Gated is an amazing book hands down.
book4children More than 1 year ago
Kool-Aid anyone? I don't really know what to say about it. It left me a little bit speechless. It is nothing like anything else I've ever read, except for national news. It actually reminded me of a "family" I knew once (shudder). This is a fascinating look at the inside of a cult. I hate to use that word, especially when the Comminuty didn't start out that way. They were just a group of people looking for an escape from the pain and suffering of the world. They found it in Pioneer. His lunacy manifests itself later, but by that point, they all trusted him enough to believe everything he said. Lyla is a great character to follow. She is very easy to relate to. It's difficult to understand how a group of people could fall for something like the teachings of Pioneer, but this book makes you see it through their eyes. They've been cut off from the outside world for so long that they no longer know what is fact and what is not. Pioneer is perfectly creepy and he is just the kind of man I could see leading a group like this. I discussed this book with everyone that would listen to me. My husband, my mom, my friends, random people on the street... Ultimately, this book is an interesting look at the inside of a cult. While the beginning takes a while to really get going, the book is a fast paced page turner with moments of breathtaking suspense. Recommended for ages 14 and up due to violence. This would be a great book club read.
Retired_Librarian More than 1 year ago
I predict this book will be Illinois' next Rebecca Caudill winner. The kids in the middle schools are going to eat this book right up. I can see the movie, or made for tv movie already. The characters are relatable. The situation could be educational for those students not knowing much about cults and separatists. It reminds me a lot of "Running Out of Time" by Margaret Peterson Haddix. If they haven't read that, it would be the next one that I would recommend that they read.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars 'Gated' is a taut and electrifying young adult contemporary thriller. If follows the life of Lyla Hamilton and her family after their move to Mandrodage Meadows - a small suburban community set apart from the rest of society in the prairie. Things seem perfect at Mandrodage - Lyla has her family, friends, and her Intended - her best friend Will. They are all about clean living and community. The leader of Mandrodage Meadows is Pioneer - the one who keeps them safe and protected from the violence and evil of the outside world. There's only one downside to life here - the end of the world is coming and fast. Pioneer has been blessed with visions from the Brethren to gather those they have Chosen to survive the end times. They have been preparing for years now and have a giant underground bunker, the Silo, ready for when the Pioneer tells them it's time. Lyla has never questioned her life at Mandrodage or the Pioneer and his beliefs, until the handsome son of the local sheriff - Cody - comes to the community with his father and Lyla feels an instant connection with him. After Cody reveals some disturbing facts about the Pioneer's past and the false evidence he's been showing them come to light, Lyla starts to think that maybe life at Mandrodage isn't what they all though it was or what she wants any more. This novel was exceptionally written and had me instantly hooked from the beginning paragraphs. The plot was original and unique, but yet it was still familiar. Almost all of us have heard about the doomsday cults that have popped up around the country and what life is like there. Now, through Lyla, we get an inside look at what happens on the inside. Lyla is a great main character. She's smart, loves to paint and ride her horse Indy, and she loves her friends and family more than anything. She's known for being a bit timid, especially during shooting practice, but she can't bring herself to think about actually shooting a real person. When it comes down to what needs to be done though, Lyla's character shows real growth and maturity. She realizes that she can no longer be the timid girl she's always been - she has to stand up and do what's right - even if it puts her in danger. The story line was really fascinating to read. As I mentioned, it goes inside a "communal living" situation that is really a cult and shows the reader what happens behind the scenes. I was captivated and completely engrossed in the story and the characters - I couldn't put the book down. I was revolted yet intrigued to read about Mandrodage and the Pioneer. The writing was incredibly well done with vivid imagery and descriptions that had me feeling like I was experiencing everything right alongside Lyla. The really scary and creepy thing about this book was that things and places like this exist every day in our country. It's not a fantasy world or science fiction - these things have happened before and continue to happen to this day. That made the story all the more real and suspenseful for me. Highly recommended for fans of YA thrillers and contemporary fiction. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
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!).
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars! Audiobook Review: I was rather surprised by this story, in a good way. The thought of cults and people living in such isolation usually makes me cringe. Since I do my best to avoid all reviews and the synopsis of a story prior to reading it, I was left with a blank slate on which to really judge this story, without any outside influence. Lyla and her family live in a small community, completely isolated from the outside world. The leader of their community, Pioneer, insists that the world is going to end in the very near future. Under his control, they all believe that they will survive, as the chosen ones, as long as they are ready. They create a silo where they will all cluster when the time comes. Lyla, having been raised since birth in this environment, doesn’t know any different. Her and her entire family and circle of friends spend their days prepping for the end of the world, except for quick runs to the store which are completed as expeditiously as possible. Though I didn’t love the characters, I did find myself relating to them at times. Especially Lila as she began questioning things, which brought about her desire to get out of this community. I also enjoyed Cody. He was super sweet and sincere, and really added a lot to the story. The other characters… well, I just really didn’t care for them. Some even made me angry, such as Lila’s mom. After her daughter (Lila’s sister) was taken, she became a complete mess. Though we didn’t get a look into her before the tragedy of her daughter’s taking, the fact that she completely shut down as a parent with no regard for Lila really bothered me. The story started off a bit slow, which I guess can be expected with this type of story. The beginning revolved around this community’s background and lifestyle. The second half though really kept me interested, becoming much more intense and gripping. And the ending was wonderful. It left me completely satisfied. The fact that others have classified this as a dystopia doesn’t really make sense to me. I wouldn’t call it that at all. It’s more of a psychological thriller. If you have a fascination with cults, as I know many people do, and are looking for a fast-paced thriller, I would definitely recommend this book. Oh, and it has a great cover too.  :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It wasnt so grpping
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and found it to be average. Is not the best book I have read but it kept my attention. I will probably read the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bout moon each so ears open but not eyes. ]] <p> The snuggled inpurring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tigerclan at 'fable haven' res 8
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm back sorry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ack!! Thought Valleyclan died!!! So glad I came back for old times sake!!))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yawned((bbl around 3))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks back into camp carrying prey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im Firekit and im 4 moons old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can i join?
mfu11 More than 1 year ago
A creepy psychological thriller about a brainwashed community and a leader who'll do anything to keep them in line. Pioneer was so scary, and the way he was unquestionably obeyed by all was even scarier. Lyla was so brave. My heart was racing by the time I reached the end of the book. Disturbing, gripping, and so well done! I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As far as a wacko cult goes. BUT poorly written with lack of PUNCTUATION (!"':;/,) Isn't there an app to fix this BEFORE publication?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't read a lot of realistic fiction but this really held my interest. I thought it was going to be more about Lyla and Cody's relationship but I was glad to see it was more focused on Lyla and her struggle and finding the truth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing....... gives me shivers!
Asand More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: Okay, have you ever had one of those moments when you are expecting something else and you get a completely different take on what you were thinking?   Still have no idea what I am talking about?  Okay lets do an analogy then: You order a sweet tea to drink and as you take a sip your taste buds are assaulted with this bubbling sensation as you realize you got a soda instead.  And then as you drink it, you realize you really did want the soda.  Now I know you really think I have lost my mind!  But that is what happened with Gated.  For some strange reason, I was expecting Gated to be about a community ravaged by zombies.  I don't know why; its just my mind was zombies and that was the evil I was expecting.   But that isn't what I got.  And as I kept reading I realized this book is so much more scarier than zombies because this is something that could and has happened before in our society. So I had one of my &quot;Duh&quot; moments but I am still glad I picked up this book because it  really blew my mind.  I never really read any books about religious cults but I now see what I have been missing.   Gated is one of those realistic scary books.  As I was reading I couldn't understand how these people could get drawn in to what their leader was &quot;preaching&quot; to them.    But as I continued through the book, I realized these characters were already hopeless.  A lot of them had given up on society through terrible situations they have been through.  And as they hit rock bottom, it was so easy to believe anything.   Each character was written very well.  Our protagonist, Lyla, is the one that seems to question everything.  Even when she feels guilty for doing it.  Its just very disappointing that the parents, who are the ones who should be protecting their children, are so drawn in to what this man is telling them that they will give him free reign over their own free will.   And just as the protagonists were written very well, the antagonist was written doubly well.  You can tell the author did some amazing research on cults and serial killers.  I really liked how each chapter had quotes from the Leader and then as the book gets further in you get quotes from different killers in our own history.   Gated is one of those dark stories that really grabs us and won't let go.  It forces us to take a look at the true monsters that surround us and pushes us to question everything.   I had to give Gated four hearts!