by Jennifer Moffett
Publisher: Atheneum, Simon & Schuster
Publication date: November 10th, 2020
Age group: Young Adult
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher as part of my participation in their tour.
Sadie meets The Girls in this riveting debut psychological thriller about a lonely college freshman seduced into joining a cult—and her desperate attempt to escape before it’s too late.
College life isn’t what Emily expected.
She expected to spend freshman year strolling through the ivy-covered campus with new friends, finally feeling like she belonged. Instead, she walks the campus alone, still not having found her place or her people so far away from home.
But then the Kingdom finds her.
The Kingdom, an exclusive on-campus group, offers everything Emily expected of college and more: acceptance, friends, a potential boyfriend, and a chance to spend the summer in Italy on a mission trip. But the trip is not what she thought it would be. Emily and the others are stripped of their passports and money. They’re cut off from their families back home. The Kingdom’s practices become increasingly manipulative and dangerous.
And someone ends up dead.
At times unsettling and always riveting, Those Who Prey looks at the allure of cult life, while questioning just how far we’re willing to go to find where we belong.
JENNIFER MOFFETT grew up in Arkansas, where she spent her childhood playing in creeks and climbing trees while dreaming up stories about faraway places. A college study abroad program sparked her lifelong passion for travel. After working in children’s television in New York City, she received an MA in Creative Writing and wrote book reviews for regional publications. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various literary journals, including New Orleans Review and descant. She teaches creative writing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she enjoys kayaking, gardening, reading outdoors, and planning trips to new places (preferably with great local yarn shops and bookstores).
Her debut YA thriller, THOSE WHO PREY (Atheneum, Simon & Schuster), is about a shy college freshman who is seduced into joining a campus cult, leading her on a deadly mission trip to Italy.
Divya, reading a book about cults? My, my, my, how the times have changed! I thank Turn The Page Tours for giving me a chance to read the book.
Well, well, well. This book was a ride.
Those Who Prey follows the story of Emily, who, being far away from home and desperate for friends, unknowingly ends up joining a Biblical cult. What ensues from there on is mystery and madness.
Well, I honestly had no expectations going into the book, what with this being my first foray into the world of cult fiction and all. However, this book ended up being a welcome surprise!
I really liked the way this book answered the age old question of ‘How do people even get themselves into cults?!‘ The way the author describes the entire scenario from Emily’s perspective helps us understand that it isn’t always black and white; that to an outsider it might just seem normal enough until it somehow isn’t. Emily’s character is also quite well developed, and her fears and ambitions quite leap off the page.
Though I was very intrigued by the premise and the initial arc of the plot, I did feel like the second arc left a lot of unanswered questions. Though I understand the reason why, I did feel like it diminished the satisfaction of finishing the book. Also, I feel like a lot of the secondary characters were not well developed; most of them blended into one another as the book went on. I knew who the good guys were and who the bad guys were- I didn’t notice any difference between any of the good guys or the bad guys.
In a nutshell, I’d like to say that if you’re looking for a complicated mystery with many layers and a strong romance, this might not be the book for you. However, if you’re looking for a book about cults and how they have the power to subtly twist your whole life, you will definitely enjoy this book. I give it 3.5 stars!