Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Those Who Prey blog tour hosted by Turn The Page Tours! I hope you enjoy my review and enjoy the book as much as I did! Be sure to snag a copy here: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781534450967
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Those Who Prey – I had never read a book about cults before and have never been a big fan of organized religion. However, the idea of a book about a girl whose loneliness leads her to fall for the alure of a cult (or a church as it’s disguised) was enough to make me sign up for this blog tour, and I’m so, so grateful that I did.
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.
The pacing of this book was phenomenal – from the first pages I was hooked and I ended up reading this book in only two sittings. The author got straight to the meat of the story – she didn’t spend a ton of time on backstory and used time jumps in a way that really helped to focus on the action. I also loved the style of this book – the chapters were framed around the steps to recruit someone to a cult – the steps that were being taken to recruit Emily. There were also terms defined for what she was experiencing especially as things got more intense.
As far as characters go – Emily was by far my favorite. She was lonely in a very believable way and made it very easy to see how someone (especially in the 90s before social media and widespread internet) could fall for the appeal of a cult. She was also an inherently forgivable character – because it was easy to see how and why she fell in with this crowd, it was simple to root for her to escape before it was too late. She was also very, very realistic – I think anyone who has gone to college alone can relate to some degree the loneliness and isolation she felt on campus.
Even the cult members who indoctrinated Emily were sympathetic – take Heather for example. Heather was the first person to really push the Kingdom on Emily – she helped with her bible studies, provided spiritual guidance and acted like a best friend. Naturally, as someone recruiting for a cult, these things were done with nefarious intent, but it was still easy to feel for her. She was just as trapped in the situation as Emily was, if not more so. As a reader, it was easy to root for her to see the light and break free of the Kingdom’s grasp.
Those Who Prey was a topsy turvy, fast paced account of a girl blindly trusting strangers and being so desperate for companionship that she would turn a blind eye to the obvious red flags of the situation she was in. This book will make you realize just how easily people fall into cults and how challenging it is to escape. 5/5
About the Author
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.