Gather the Daughters

Gather the Daughters

by Jennie Melamed

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Overview

NEVER LET ME GO meets THE GIVER in this haunting debut about a cult on an isolated island, where nothing is as it seems.

A Guardian Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Best Book of the Year
A New York Magazine best book of the month
A Real Simple best book of the month
People Magazine's Book of the Week
Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award

Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers—chosen male descendants of the original ten—are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires.

The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly—they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others.

Born leader Janey Solomon steps up to seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is so unwilling to become a woman, she is slowly starving herself to death. Trying urgently now to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, before her own demise, she attempts to lead an uprising of the girls that may be their undoing.

GATHER THE DAUGHTERS is a smoldering debut; dark and energetic, compulsively readable, Melamed's novel announces her as an unforgettable new voice in fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316463652
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/25/2017
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,114,964
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jennie Melamed is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in working with traumatized children. During her doctoral work at the University of Washington, she investigated anthropological, biological, and cultural aspects of child sexual abuse. Jennie lives in Seattle with her husband and their two dogs.

What People are Saying About This

author of California and Woman No. 17 - Edan Lepucki

“In Gather the Daughters, girls and women face a world that is brutal, insidious, and unjust--and yet, hope and resilience persist. This is a lush, vivid, and chilling novel. A remarkable debut.”

Customer Reviews

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Gather the Daughters: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down. Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so different from what I usually read. I read it for a book club and really approached it feeling dubious. It didn't take long, however, to get hooked and have a hard time putting it down. The characters are real and interesting and the subject is scary to think about. I recommend the book to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The whole book is about people who accept incest as normal behavior. The author may be trying to encourage rebellion but in the book it is unsuccessful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very original. Impeccable prose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hope there is a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible premise. Terrible read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
8 out of 10, would read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Looking forward to more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story that will make you squirm in the style of a Margaret Atwood novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The rating is because of the premise of this dystopian society: the institutionalized, legalized, mandated, horrific, abominable, routine, and regular rape of pre-pubescent daughters by their fathers. It was not graphic but did not have to be in order to be emotionally wrenching, disgusting, loathsome and nauseating. The mood of the entire book was very dark. The reader is left without real hope for societal change.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Aside from the fact that I kept hearing about this book, as soon as I saw the word "cult" I knew I HAD to get my hands on this. Ten men and their families fled the country before it was incinerated to "wasteland" and started a colony on a small island. They follow their own set of rules, worship the ancestors, send the wanderers to forage the wastelands for artifacts, practice controlled breeding and strict rationing of knowledge. The girls' main role in society is to bear 2 children, comfort their fathers and be a wife & mother, they cannot gather in groups of 3 without a man present, and when they and their husbands are deemed invaluable they take their final draft and die. The children get to run wild in the summers until the girls "get their first bleed" and reach their summer of fruition and are married off. If there is one piece of advice given on the island it is to give birth to boys. The young girls (but do they ever get to truly be young girls?) are truly remarkable, they weave their way into your heart and your mind. I found myself thinking of them, their stories and their tribulations even when I wasn't reading. Although never explicitly described in detail, there are strong and distressing themes throughout this book that some will not be able to tolerate and for others may be triggering. I'd say that this was a far-fetched story but, is it? We see similar themes in current day cults.. Warren Jeffs & FLDS, The LeBaron's, some sects of the Amish & Hasidic religions, Scientology - where not only are people indoctrinated and brainwashed but children/women are abused, there's rampant sexual abuse and the marrying off of very young women. One can't help but wonder about the main contributing factor as to why those ten men wanted to create this society to begin with, I shudder to think about it. This is something that will stick with you for a while. It is not a read that will easily be forgotten and just may be one of my top reads of 2017. Jennie Melamed's writing and unraveling of this story is exceptional. I am keeping my eye out for any of her future works. Thanks again to Little Brown Publishing, Jennie Melamed & Net Galley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars They wanted to create a perfect society where the men would rule and the women would produce the children. This close-knit community had a simple lifestyle, where they would set up their own rules and expand on these rules whenever they needed. As the children began to have their own families, the parents were no longer needed and they simply slipped away as that was one of the rules set forth. Every couple was allowed two children, males being the preferred sex but females were needed for this society to flourish. As the girls reach their summer of fruition, finding a husband would soon be on their minds. It became a cycle, no one differentiated from the norm and no one questioned the system, it just worked. That was until now. The more that I read, the more fascinated I became with these individuals and their lifestyles. The islands shall-nots have been passed down through the generations and these four girls started to question them. They wanted change. They saw what was happening on this island to themselves and others and they wanted something different. They had questions and yet no one wanted to hear them. I loved their curiosity, the fight that they had within them and the strength they had to continue to fight when faced with such dreadful conditions. They were willing to lose everything they had for their cause. They were curious about the world outside their island, they wanted the abuse of the females to come to an end and as the girls come together, they see what type of people the wanderers are and they try to share this with the village. Their determination made other girls aware of the situation and it bonded these females together. They were fighting for a cause, they had hope and you could feel the love in the words as they fought together for change. As I turned every page, I was pulling for these girls, for what they went through, I can’t imagine walking in their shoes. A novel with excellent tempo and anticipation and great emotions. It was definitely a page-turner novel for me. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Little,Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I seriously almost gave up on this book due to the subject matters regarding the fathers of this post apocalyptic story. However, my anger with this "ritual" also drove me to read further after discovering a "rebellion". I literally did get a sick regarding this ritual. As I said, I did keep with the book and found it to be a very good read after my initial shock and disgust. So, if you can find it possible to get over the ritual, you will get a good read. The ideas and rituals of this island were VERY strange and I hope that's not really happens in the future! HA!! Women are degraded and second, maybe third or even worse, fourth class citizens in this setting on an island that is away from the "Wasteland" of civilization approachable by ferry and only used by the wanderers. The wanderers are the council of men that take trips back to the "Wasteland" to get supplies, people and whatever else they can find that will help their new world. A good read that I did find gross and entertaining, if you can believe that can happen in one book. Thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.