Random House Books for Young Readers
August 6, 2013
Series: standalone (for now..)
Gated by Amy Christine Parker is your typical dystopian story with not much different from all of the others. The only difference is the fact that it’s set in our time period–as in the 21st century–which makes it unlike the other dystopian societies out there. But other than that, there’s not much else that’s note-worthy. In fact, it’s quite a prosaic read.
First off, the dystopian world in this novel isn’t really present at all. It isn’t lacking in the world-building specifically (since it is set in present day), but rather that the discrepant aspect that sets it apart from other dystopians is absent. The people in the Community are literally gated in this little town and have Intendeds, people who they are intended to marry (Matched, anyone?), and.. That’s pretty much it. Pretty bland, right?
In addition, the characters didn’t boost my interest in this story either. Lyla, our main protagonist, starts off as a pretty weak character: easily malleable by society. She also did not stand up for herself very often, and was among the weaklings in her friend group. It’s not until the end that she becomes a strong fighter, but I truly feel that her new persona only comes out because of adrenaline. The usual character progression that I love so much is not evident. If anything, her persona jumps from weak to strong.
And can we please discuss the romance? Insta-love and a love triangle. *sigh* Lyla is Intended to be with her childhood best friend, Will, but she meets another boy, Cody, whom she instantly falls in love with (okay, this is actually sounding suspiciously like Matched, creepy!). The insta-love is so clearly present I couldn’t help but groan when I read Lyla’s pleas to see Cody again. The romance is a big no-no for me in Gated.
The redeeming factor for me in this story is the last 20%. It spontaneously becomes a thriller/on-the-run, and it is extremely action-packed. I flew through those last pages and I am quite satisfied with the ending; I like the way everything wraps up. But please, I really hope there isn’t a sequel.
Looking back at all of the points I made in this review, I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t really enjoy this book all that much. My status updates on Goodreads were pretty much me complaining how banal this book was. With a forgettable dystopian world, weak characters, a spiteful romance, and only a good ending, Gated is a novel that I wouldn’t particularly recommend. I’d say pick this up if you’re in the mood for a dystopian, but not one that will blow your mind.