Seed by Lisa Heathfield
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: April 2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Plot: Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it’s too late.
Fun fact; I love learning about strange things. I love learning full stop, but when it comes to things that you just can’t believe happen? Well, I live for that.
Cults are fucked up. They’re something I can’t get my head around because it’s something so out of my reality. Cults do not often get reported in the news, they’re rarely the subject of television shows and movies and books. They’re also not that common.
But they do exist. And that is why they should be talked about.
This is the first YA novel, nay novel, I’ve read about cults. I’ve watched a few documentaries about them, but never a YA novel. Cults, like I said, are a very difficult concept to wrap your head around, but I think Lisa Heathfield did it perfectly. I think the only true, organic portrayal of a cult you can get is someone writing a non-fictional account of their time in one, but I still think this is a very interesting and frightening portrayal.
Pearl is a girl who, in the cult’s eyes, has finally become a woman and yes, it’s as seedy (har-har) as you think it is. At Seed, they worship Mother Nature, a being who determines what you eat, how you dress, and what you do. Pearl is completely and utterly brainwashed, and has never experienced the outside world, being born within the walls of Seed. Charismatic leaders always creep me the Hell out, and Papa S is literally disgusting. And while I struggle dealing with topics such as sexual violence and pedophilia, I applaud this portrayal of it; real and happening now.
This shit is real for people, and I think that’s what disturbs me the most. You hear of women trapped behind high walls and locked gates, of children brought up to believe God wants them to marry a man three times their age and bear the man’s child. This isn’t just an American thing (though cults in America are the most exposed), this happens everywhere in the world. It is people playing with other people, controlling them.
It was crazy to read about adults become willing to participate in absolute ridiculousness, to become so out of touch with reality that they would let another person do this to them. It’s crazy, but it’s actually very simple, and happens even outside of cult mind-set. I loved the relationship the kids had, because despite everything that was happening, they were still curious and adventurous and began to question everything. The cult ideology only affects a certain person; impressionable, and I was rooting for the kids who broke out of the spell and realised “Holy shit we’re in a cult!”
If you want to seriously be creeped out, if you want to panic every chapter because you know something awful is just around the corner, then I’d suggest this book 100%.