A girl slowly realizes that she must escape the religious cult in which she has grown up.
Fourteen-year-old Eva was named by the Rev. Ezekiel, leader of the Righteous Path, when she and her mother joined it 10 years ago. Under commandment of God, Ezekiel marries all the women—most of the cult members—and forbids biological mothers and children from acknowledging any special relationship. He doles out frequent severe physical punishments for the slightest infractions and controls the lives of the cult members completely. However, the cult needs money, and Eva makes excellent jewelry. Ezekiel allows her and another cult member to go to town, where Eva buys beads and sells her jewelry, providing most of the group’s income—which Ezekiel spends on guns, not food. In town, Eva meets Trevor, who becomes her only hope when Eva’s mother faces death from a dangerous pregnancy. Finally exposed to the outside world, Eva begins to question her faith. Leaving the cult would mean an actual escape, however, and she knows she can’t abandon her fragile mother. Fixmer illustrates the inner workings of a cult, illuminating Eva’s psychological progress while exposing the leader as a con artist. Eva’s doubts and fears as well as her growing courage are communicated clearly in her first-person, present-tense narration. The action and the psychological realism combine to make an intriguing story, with believable characters and events.
An absorbing treatment of a fascinating subject. (Fiction. 12-18)