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4.3 28
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,


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

HelloGiggles.com, 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."

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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?’
“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.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
It’s the end of the world, and no one’s fine in this tense psychological thriller, Parker’s debut. Seventeen-year-old Lyla is part of the Community, a group of families led by the charismatic Pioneer, who has secluded them from the outside world in anticipation of the imminent apocalypse. With Pioneer’s prophesied deadline fast approaching, Lyla struggles with her faith and resolve. A chance encounter with Cody, a boy from the outside, further tempts her away from the way of the Community, but when events escalate—with her salvation at stake—she may have to choose between following her heart or staying true to her friends and family. Parker skillfully explores the mindset and inner workings of an apocalyptic cult, steadily building toward the inevitable moment of truth. The appeal of the Community’s simpler way of life is balanced by a growing sense of wrongness, as cracks appear in Pioneer’s façade. Lyla’s internal conflict is well-played and believable. As for the apocalypse itself, Parker keeps things suitably ambiguous, resulting in a complex, intriguing tale rooted in real-world events. Ages 14–up. Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Aug.)
VOYA - Erin E. Forson
After Lyla's sister is kidnapped and never found, her family decides to escape the evil world by moving to the Community with the man who shows continued concern over their loss even in the wake of 9/11—Pioneer. Now, Pioneer has been given a vision that the end of the world is coming, and Lyla must prepare to enter the underground silo that will protect her family from the impending apocalypse. Heart-pounding action and quick chapters punctuated by quotes from notorious cult leaders like Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and David Koresh, create an eerie and effective novel of suspense that is impossible to put down. Through Lyla's eyes, readers gain insight into how vulnerable and wounded individuals can be manipulated into following a cult, especially when they are isolated from family and friends. Lyla's character effectively portrays the helplessness that such victims probably feel, and amplifies their weakness because she is herself a teenager, beholden to her parents' wishes. Equally intriguing is Pioneer, whose actions illuminate the mind of a psychopath in all of his twisted glory, and whose continued mental deterioration forces Lyla to act, realizing that bravery is doing what is right when no one else will. Public and school librarians will welcome this nail-biter and should shelf it next to S.A. Bodeen's The Compound (Macmillan, 2008/Voya June 2008) and Pam Bachorz's Candor (Egmont, 2009/Voya October 2009). Reviewer: Erin E. Forson
Children's Literature - Julia Brown
Seventeen-year-old Lyla Hamilton has spent a large chunk of her life locked away in the Community. Her family, as well as many others, are chosen by the Brethren to survive the apocalypse and are called to turn away from the outside world. Under the leadership of Pioneer, a self-proclaimed prophet, the families pool their resources and move to the secluded area of Mandrodage Meadows where they live in peace and simplicity as they await the end of the world. Since Pioneer is the only Community member able to communicate with the Brethren or receive news from the outside world, the other members must give him their full trust. Lyla’s parents, her Intended, Will, and even her friends, Brian and Marie, refuse to question Pioneer or his motives. Lyla alone begins to fear that Pioneer falls short of the virtuous leader he claims to be. As Outsiders become involved, Community members take sides and others begin to see Pioneer’s true colors. Little Owl, as Pioneer calls Lyla, emerges as the strongest of the Community, determined to overcome any obstacle to regain freedom. Parker creates an emotional rollercoaster that will have readers laughing, crying, and gripping the edge of their seats. Fans of dystopias and thrillers will be richly rewarded by this riveting read. Reviewer: Julia Brown; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Pioneer came to Lyla's family when they were at their most vulnerable: Karen, five-year-old Lyla's older sister, had disappeared without a trace from in front of their apartment building, not long before the planes hit the World Trade Center. Lyla's father and mother-along with several other families-willingly followed Pioneer to Mandrodage Meadows, a gated community with a dark secret. Pioneer claims that the mysterious Brethren have chosen them as survivors of the coming Armageddon. He controls what they watch, how they live, whom the youth will marry. Lyla, now 17, knows that she is safe, but the thought of living in the underground silo that will be their home when the world ends doesn't really seem like her idea of living. When she meets Cody, the local sheriff's son, and he begins to question some of her long-held beliefs, Lyla wonders if Pioneer is really the savior he claims to be. Her doubts will have some consequences that will put her and her community in danger-not only from outside, but also from within. This well-plotted tale will allow readers a glimpse into the possible world of a doomsday cult. Because the characters come across as real individuals, it's easy to sympathize with their situation and the way in which they have been taken in by Pioneer's lies. The subject matter and violence make this book more appropriate for an older audience, but 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?"—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
This absorbing examination of a cult focuses on a teenage girl who begins to doubt their leader. Lyla's little sister was kidnapped in New York City 12 years ago, just before 9/11. Her inconsolable parents fell prey to a charismatic man calling himself Pioneer, who promised to keep them safe in the coming apocalypse thanks to knowledge received from aliens. They now live with about 20 other families in a walled-in agricultural community that hides a secret: They have dug a five-story-deep silo into the ground in which they intend to live for five years before the aliens come to rescue them. Pioneer controls his people closely, assigning the adolescents into marriages (Will is Lyla's Intended) and insisting that everyone in the Community learn to shoot to kill, as he's sure Outsiders will eventually attack them. Parker convincingly portrays the dynamics of a cult from the inside out, contriving events that will allow Lyla to learn the truth about Pioneer and nicely fitting Lyla's rebellion against the Community into her natural adolescent rebellion. But if Lyla tries to warn the Community, will anyone believe her, or will she be trapped forever in the silo? 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. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
HL750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet 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 amychristineparker.com and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

From the Hardcover edition.

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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? So...wow. 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
She rund back to him "im so sorry"i should have stayed with you and the kits i never wanteto leave youdshe starts crying
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!