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Seed is a YA contemporary novel by debut author Lisa Heathfield.

Growing up in Seed, fifteen year old Pearl knows that it is paradise.

She has never been anywhere else – but she does not need to.

Among their insulated small family community, they sow and reap the rewards of the land, live their simple lives under the watchful eyes of their leader Papa S. and Pearl and the other young girls look forward to the day they can be Papa S.’s companion.

Yet when a newcomer is allowed into their community, a teenage boy Pearl’s age that has lived Outside his entire life, he brings with him incredulity of their way of life. He asks questions that prod Pearl toward moments of doubt about their utopia.

He says Papa S. is only a man.

What is the truth when Seed is all you’ve ever known?

Wow, Seed left a lasting impression.

It is instantly intriguing – initially so grounded and subtle that though you know, as the reader, that Pearl is growing up in a cult, it doesn’t immediately seem bad, necessarily.

That’s why as Heathfield smoothly, quietly peels back those layers to show the twisted rituals, aspects of control by fear and the utter psychological damage of Seed, it is all the more nerve-wracking – and filled my mind with questions, wanting to know more.

Throughout the chapters, often at the end of each, we see short glimpses and insights into an unknown, imprisoned person somewhere on the compound. It cements the fact that something deeply disturbing is going on – and that Papa S. is a scary individual.

I kept wanting to know more.

Introducing people from Outside was beautifully done, I felt. It not only poked holes in the cult’s veneer of loveliness but also helped to present just how much these children who’ve grown up in Seed are unaware of – basic education, etc.

Seed is an unsettling, powerful, horrifying, haunting novel that has a conclusion that you will think of for days. I wanted more – more answers, more closure, more, more, more!

Yet I think that’s how we’re supposed to feel….

I highly, highly recommend it.


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