In a harrowing and often disturbing adventure, two teen members of an exploitative cult try fleeing to safety.
The Flock, under the leadership of the Rev. Elias Eden, lives in Edenton, an isolated community surrounded by jungle. Mia, 16, has lived there for six years and longs to leave, unlike her more pious peers. When Mia is asked to help make cookies that later turn out to fatally poison 11 Flock members, she is both guilt-ridden and horrified. Along with Gabriel, a smart-mouthed recent arrival from New York, Mia begins to investigate the inner workings of Edenton and to attempt an escape. Nader, a first-time novelist, pulls no punches in her high-stakes action scenes; setbacks and casualties are many, and readers will wonder until the very end whether Mia or any of her loved ones will make it out alive. The chemistry between Mia and Gabriel is palpable in their teasing dialogue and sizzling moments of physical connection. What with mass poisonings, child abuse, sex trafficking and a Hunger Games–esque fight to the death, Mia’s story is not for the faint of heart. Its rewards, however, are many: fast-moving action, a capable heroine and a resolution that leaves plenty of room for a sequel.
Gripping. (Fiction. 14 & up)