I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Astray (Gated Sequel) by Amy Christine Parker
Also by this author: Gated
Series: Gated #2
Also in this series: Gated
Narrator: Alicyn Packard
Length: 10 Hours 5 Minutes
Published by Random House Children's Books on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Thrillers & Suspense, Social Issues, Peer Pressure, Love & Romance, Action & Adventure, General
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This—a sequel to Gated—is a nerve-fraying contemporary young adult thriller that will make readers question loyalties as it twists truths. Her life was based on a lie. Lyla Hamilton almost died escaping the Community. In her new life, the outsiders call the Community a cult. They don’t understand how easy it was to believe. How good it felt to belong. “Normal” life—high school and dating—is harder than Lyla expected. Who should she love? Who should she hate? The Community is willing to do terrible things to bring her back to the fold. The members are still preaching Pioneer’s twisted message that the end of the world is near. Pulled in two directions and unsure which way to turn, Lyla risks everything to follow her heart, but can she uncover the Community’s plan before it’s too late? Lyla’s escape was only the beginning. Praise for Gated and Astray “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.” —HelloGiggles.com * “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.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred “A complex, intriguing tale rooted in real-world events.” —Publishers Weekly“A good choice for reluctant readers. After the last page is turned, the question will linger: ‘Could I ever be deceived like this?’ ” —School Library Journal “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.” —Examiner.comFrom the Hardcover edition.
Why Did I Listen To This Book?
A few years ago I read and loved Gated by Amy Christine Parker. It is this awesome book about this girl named Lyla who lives in a Community that is run by this man named Pioneer who insists that the outside world is evil and so the Community keeps themselves secluded and await these mysterious aliens called the Brethren to save them. Lyla meets a boy and he’s a catalyst for her. Things come to a head. There’s all kinds of action. The book ends. I did not really feel like there was room for a sequel. YET THERE WAS A SEQUEL with Astray, which takes place relatively quickly after the end of Gated. I listened to this book because I was in the mood for something that felt YA and you can’t go wrong with cults.
What’s The Story Here?
Astray is about Lyla adjusting to life after the Community while also deciding to testify against Pioneer. She’s no longer living at Mandrodage Meadows but instead lives with Cody’s family. This definitely makes their relationship awkward. Meanwhile there are members of the Community who are still true believers and they want Lyla to come back and to be Little Owl again. Also? Lyla is navigating public high school and trying to be a normal teenager and make friends outside of the Community. It is a lot to take in for her. OH and there’s a winter festival going on too that Cody’s mom is planning and Lyla is looking forward to that and being jealous that her mom is a total true believer who cares more about Pioneer and the Brethren than Lyla. ALSO! Lyla is attending therapy sessions under a Child Protective Services mandate as are her parents. Lyla, however, does not trust her therapist.
How Is Lyla’s Character?
I like that Astray deals with some of the trauma that Lyla felt, especially after seeing a death. I like that there’s moments of weakness for Lyla where she considers maybe that the Community isn’t entirely wrong. There’s a lot to like about Lyla herself. She is very determined to do the right thing and to stand up against the Community and testify against Pioneer. She believes if she is strong enough to testify, others will too. She just has to take the first step. I also liked seeing her interact with Cody, even when things are a bit weird with him and her being under the same roof and all. Also? Seeing her long for an actual maternal figure is enough to break your heart.
How’s The Narration?
Sometimes it can feel weird going from reading a physical copy to an audiobook, especially when you do not have the physical copy to reference. Yet, I thought Astray was easy to listen to. Alicyn Packard does such a great job narrating. I honestly was tempted to put my iPhone in the freezer at several scenes because it gets nerve wracking. Her narration adds a flair for the dramatic, but not in a cheesy or weird way. This book is absolutely great on audiobook. I know I keep saying GREAT but for real you guys that’s how my brain thinks after work. I honestly really did enjoy listening to this book. I think this is one that you should add to your audible or library TBR.
What Did I Think Of This Sequel?
Astray, sequel to Gated takes us to some dark places. Amy Christine Parker brings the action to another level. I loved that the Community would not give up on Lyla, not because this is a good thing, but because it adds in this really creepy layer to the book. I loved that parts made my toes curl with horror. I loved the quotes from actual cult members and from Community members. There’s even a sort of reference to the Charles Manson family trial too. It is the perfect young adult book for a person who is obsessed with reading about cults (i.e. ME). I am actually really glad I listened to this sequel. I did not even know I needed it, but it definitely has enhanced my summer reading for the better.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Okay, so this book isn’t quite as peppy as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but as I listened I found myself drawing parallels, in that Lyla is just as strong as Kimmy, for the most part.