352p. Random. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-449-81597-7; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 978-0-449-81598-4; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-449-81599-1. LC 2012048123.
Gr 10 Up—Pioneer came to Lyla's family when they were at their most vulnerable: Karen, five-year-old Lyla's older sister, had disappeared without a trace from in front of their apartment building, not long before the planes hit the World Trade Center. Lyla's father and mother-along with several other families-willingly followed Pioneer to Mandrodage Meadows, a gated community with a dark secret. Pioneer claims that the mysterious Brethren have chosen them as survivors of the coming Armageddon. He controls what they watch, how they live, whom the youth will marry. Lyla, now 17, knows that she is safe, but the thought of living in the underground silo that will be their home when the world ends doesn't really seem like her idea of living. When she meets Cody, the local sheriff's son, and he begins to question some of her long-held beliefs, Lyla wonders if Pioneer is really the savior he claims to be. Her doubts will have some consequences that will put her and her community in danger-not only from outside, but also from within. This well-plotted tale will allow readers a glimpse into the possible world of a doomsday cult. Because the characters come across as real individuals, it's easy to sympathize with their situation and the way in which they have been taken in by Pioneer's lies. The subject matter and violence make this book more appropriate for an older audience, but the language is accessible, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. After the last page is turned, the question will linger: "Could I ever be deceived like this?"—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

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