Surprisingly good little NetGalley YA find.
Pearl has lived her whole life in small ‘utopia’ (read: cult) known only as Seed. She has been taught that everything in Seed is perfect and protected by Mother Nature, who speaks to them through their leader, Papa S. Everything on the Outside is dangerous, dark and evil. So, yeah, pretty much your run-of-the-mill cult situation. Pearl is perfectly happy at Seed, until a family of outsiders arrives at the commune and forces Pearl to question everything she’s been taught.
Heathfield is a wonderful writer, which is often difficult to find in YA. I was surprised that this was her debut, because she writes so smoothly and engagingly. The spacing is great, the descriptions are wonderful. It’s kind of interesting considering how many dystopian YAs are being churned out, when the horror on display in Seed is such a more tangible, realistic kind of dystopia that actually happens. I’m fascinated by cults, so the subject matter here was perfect for me.
I was really enjoying the book right up until the end, which was such a let down. SPOILERS: The Jonestown-style ending felt forced and heavy handed, and I didn’t think it contributed much to the plot. Additionally, killing off your primary villain as well as your love interest in the span of two pages seems like a risky move for a series-starter, which I’m assuming this is. Recommended for anyone wanting to sink their teeth into a quick YA.