Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen people in the Prophet's compound, but when music is outlawed, Gentry and her older brother, Tanner, sneak out of the community. When they return, all bets are off as the Prophet exercises his control.
Born into a polygamous community in the foothills of New Mexico, Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen. Here, she lives apart from the outside world and its “evils.”
On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophet calls from prison and announces he has outlawed music in their community and now forbids women to leave.
Determined to play, Gentry and Tanner sneak out. But once they return, the Prophet exercises control from prison, and it has devastating consequences for Gentry and her family. Soon, everything Gentry has known is turned upside down. She begins to question the Prophet’s teachings and his revelations, especially when his latest orders put Gentry’s family in danger. Can Gentry find a way to protect herself and her family from the Prophet and escape the only life she’s ever known?
This realistic, powerful story of family, bravery, and following your dreams is a can't-miss debut novel from Melanie Sumrow.
Growing up inside the protective walls of Watchful a polygamous Mormon offshoot community set in New Mexico's foothills 13-year-old Gentry strives to be an obedient daughter. But Gentry loves playing her new violin, and after the incarcerated Prophet prohibits women from leaving the compound during his weekly call, she and her brother sneak out to play in a music festival, and her whole family is severely punished as a result. Her brother is banished, their food rations are cut, and her father is sent away, stripped of his wives and children, to repent having "lost control over his family." Left with a fragmented family and ever-stricter rules, Gentry is filled with inner turmoil ("I know what's right, so why doesn't it feel right?") about the community leaders' abuses and control, among them corporal punishment, cruelty to a child with Down syndrome, marrying off young women, and demanding full obedience under another name "keeping sweet." Though the story clearly conveys the dangers of manipulation, it also sensationalizes the community it portrays, all of which may prove tough for readers at the younger end of the stated age range. Ages 10 14.