Best friends Mailee and Cara’s bond is tested when Cara becomes enthralled with a charismatic cult leader the summer before their senior year.
Disorganized Mailee has always depended on Cara’s focus to make their future dreams of working in show business come true. So she’s stunned when Cara decides to turn her life over to Firehorse, the alluring leader of the Haven, a small commune in the wilderness near their Montana home. Cara’s been in mourning since her younger sister, Harper, died in a car accident and is initially attracted to Haven after a chance meeting with Avalon, a little girl who lives there. But Mailee is troubled by the commune’s lack of basic resources and the small concrete prison she discovers on its outskirts. When Cara invites Mailee to a Haven “harvest celebration” that will culminate in her initiation into the commune, Mailee tries to free her friend—an attempt that nearly ends in tragedy. Though the plot is predictable and the climax preposterous, Mailee’s extensive research into the veracity of Firehorse’s anti-government rants is a well-timed nod to current “fake news” controversies. Mailee and Cara are white, Mailee’s boyfriend, Gavin, is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe, and secondary character Brigit is black.
Title aside, a good place for young fans of Lois Duncan and Christopher Pike. (Fiction. 12-15)