Lyla Hamilton is a member of a cult. Ask her though and that's her normal. She and her family joined Mandrodage Meadows years ago, after the disappearance of Lyla's little sister, and she has since integrated completely with the other families and kids. She doesn't know anything else and therefore listens to whatever she's told.
Led by the Pioneer, Lyla and the rest of the members of the community have been told that the end of the world is very near. They're training for how they'll survive once the apocalypse hits the rest of the world, but Lyla begins to question the Pioneer's methods. When a strange boy visits the grounds with his family and expresses to Lyla how strange her world really is, she grows even more confused and ultimately risks her life to get the answers she seeks.
I'm a sucker for cult stories, as strange as they are. I knew I wanted to read Gated as soon as it showed up in my mailbox and though it was fairly predictable, it was still an enjoyable read.
The pace was quick enough that I ended up finishing this in one sitting (thank you, Elliott, for napping well that day) and I liked Lyla's character. She was strong in her beliefs, but also had room for a bit of healthy doubt. The kind of doubt that keeps normal people out of cults. Obviously she didn't want to upset her family for not doing exactly as the Pioneer said to do, but she also didn't understand him.
The end was definitely what made the book a page-turner with a whole lot of action and excitement crammed into just a few pages. Lyla was really a rockstar girl then. I love when books end that way!
Thanks to Random House for the review copy!