Author: Jennifer Moffett
Publisher: Atheneum, Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Cults
Content Warning: Drug use, Mention of suicide, Death
Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher as a part of my participation in the Turn the Page Tours Book & Blog Tour I received no compensation and all thoughts are my own.
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.
I’ve always been fascinated by cults, both in the how they come about and thrive, to what drives someone to join a cult, to how does one determine if something truly is a religious organization or if it’s in fact a cult. Thus, when I read the description for Jennifer Moffett’s debut novel, I jumped at the chance to read and review it. While I will most likely always question the inner workings of cults and the reasons people join them and often times remain in them, I am happy to say that Those Who Prey did help to provide one of what I’m sure are many answers for why people join cults.
Upon meeting Emily, the reader quickly comes to understand that Emily is completely alone at college. Her roommate has returned home following a drug overdose, the “friends” she shared with her roommate now shun her, and she’s miles away from her friends and family. Emily’s loneliness and lack of a group emanates from her to the point where it’s almost as though she walks around with a sign on her back designating her as an outcast. Needless to say, it came as no surprise when she was approached by the Kingdom and her eagerness to join the student religious group.
Seeing Emily flourish and begin to open up and form relationships with the other student members of the Kingdom, I couldn’t help but feel happy for Emily. Here she was finally coming into her own at school and having the types of college experiences she’d always dreamed of: going to school athletic events, having friends to study and share meals with, as well as a new boyfriend. Yet even while reading of Emily’s happiness, I couldn’t help but be on edge with the intensity of the Kingdom and their requirements for members to join and be saved.
For me I found that the story really took off once Emily went to Italy for the summer mission trip. I did find it interesting that the Kingdom chose Italy to be the site of their mission to “save souls” considering that Italy is a Catholic country and the chances of Catholics turning their backs on their faith and the Pope, were not likely, a fact that gets pointed out to Emily. I think it was because of the improbability of their mission, that I loved getting to see the darker side of this “idealistic” group coming to light and Emily’s beginning to question the inner workings of the organization and their doctrine.
This was a book that I found hard to put down as I had to know what would happen next and if Emily would survive the Kingdom. Reading this book and how well laid out it is and the way things unfold, I can’t believe that this is a debut book. Jennifer Moffett crafted a wonderful and engaging story to the point where I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
As a part of my review and stop on the tour for this amazing book, I had the joy of getting to put together a playlist of songs inspired by my reading of the book. Some of the songs presented here in are mentioned in the book while others I included after reading something that made me think of that song. If you’re curious about the music I listened to while reading, be sure to check out my playlist on Spotify.
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.
If Those Who Prey sounds like something you would enjoy, which if you love books about cults you’ll love this, then you’re in luck because you can enter to win a copy.
Up for grabs, we have ONE digital copy (via NetGalley) and ONE physical copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett. This giveaway will run from November 3rd to November 12th at 11:59 PM CST. Physical copy is only available to win by a US resident. Digital Copy will be available only to INTL. Enter via the rafflecopter link below!