My Life with the Liars
by Carter, Caela

A first middle-grade story by the author of My Best Friend, Maybe follows the experiences of young Zylynn, who is excited to be turning 13 so she can join in her cult's efforts to recruit new members to "Live in the Light," but when she is taken away by a man who claims to be her father, she learns that life in the outside world is not exactly what she had expected. Simultaneous eBook. 30,000 first printing.

*Starred Review* YA author Carter (Me, Him, Them, and It, 2013) has written a gripping middle-grade debut about a girl born and raised on a cult compound and what happens to her when she is removed by her natural father, days before her thirteenth birthday. Zylynn has never known life on the Outside, which Father Prophet tells her is a place of greed and deception, and that prolonged exposure will lead not just to spiritual corruption but physical agony as well. Zylynn is determined to find her way back home before her thirteenth birthday so that she may take part in her Ceremony, a rite of passage that will judge her worthy by Mother God. Zylynn is a fiercely strong and unexpectedly self-aware character, especially as she has been manipulated the entirety of her young life. The Outside is disorienting, and the incongruities between what she has been taught and what she is witnessing for herself confuse her. While readers will suspect the truth behind Father Prophet and life in the Compound, revelations come as Zylynn herself discovers them, through her often claustrophobic first-person point of view. It is a compelling reading experience, and one that will not be quickly forgotten. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

An abused and starving child, rescued from the compound of a cult in the Arizona desert, adjusts to the outside world. Just shy of her 13th birthday when Zylynn will have the ceremony binding her to the Light, she's taken away by a stranger who calls himself "Dad" and finds that the Dark world outside her community of believers has surprising appeal. Zylynn's first-person account includes both her memories and her experience of the 10 days leading up to her birthday, after which she believes she'll be locked out of the only world she's known , tortured and doomed to Darkness. Her final effort to go back—a harrowing 14-hour hike—sets the stage for a melodramatic showdown in which she learns the truth about what she has believed. There are numerous books for teens about children escaping from cults, but this one also works for a slightly younger audience. Zylynn's desperation to return to the safety of the Children Inside the Light is paralleled by her hunger. Her p resent-tense chronicle is filled with details of her meals; she marvels that lunch happens every day. She's overwhelmed by choices and by the very idea of family. She struggles to resist the attractions of comfort, sufficient food, and nurturing. A searing story with a pat though hopeful resolution. (Fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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