All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S.
At fifteen years old, Pearl is finally old enough to be chosen as Papa S’s companion. She feels excitement... and surprising trepidation that she cannot explain. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community — particularly the teenage son, Ellis — only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant.
Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface.
This is one of those books that have been so hyped up and had great reviews all over the place, that you're sort of worried that it doesn't live up to it. But luckily, this wasn't one of those times! This book is truly amazing; the writing was involved, it was a fascinating subject and the characters were incredibly weird.
I haven't read about a cult before, it was a little strange to see things from their perspective, how they had an unnervingly complete faith in their leader. Seed was fairly small, I think less than 20 of them so it really felt like a family. However, despite the normalcy for Pearl and the rest of them to do these everyday things, from our perspective as reader, it became obvious how much they were missing out on and how twisted their leaders were about control. Speaking of, Papa S seriously creeped me out, choosing "mates" in the young girls, acting like the chosen one, completely praying on their faith and naivety.
They were completely cut off from the outside world. The cult itself did have some good points, like growing their own produce, fruit, vegetables and honey, but obviously a lot more bad points that crop up with Pearl really thinks about them. Especially when a new family joins them. The little things that Ellis takes for granted, his phone, his education, Pearl and the other kids have no knowledge of, even thin he's making fun of them for saying there's been a man on the moon!
This is one of those all-consuming stories that leaves you a little breathless. After meeting Ellis, Pearl's faith is shaken in her life and her family. Her emotional journey is quite harrowing and almost reads like a dystopian, especially how fearful she is of Papa S and displeasing him. Addictive and very thoughtful, this is an incredible debut.
Published 16th April 2015 by Electric Monkey.