Author: Eva Gray
Source: My work library
In a terrifying future world, four girls must depend on each other if they want to survive.
Louisa is nervous about being sent away to a boarding school -- but she's excited, too. And she has her best friend, Maddie, to keep her company. The girls have to pretend to be twin sisters, which Louisa thinks just adds to the adventure!
Country Manor School isn't all excitement, though. Louisa isn't sure how she feels about her new roommates: athletic but snobby Rosie and everything's-a-conspiracy Evelyn. Even Maddie seems different away from home, quiet and worried all the time.
Still, Louisa loves CMS -- the survival skills classes, the fresh air. She doesn't even miss not having a TV, or the internet, or any contact with home. It's for their own safety, after all.
Or is it?
I read this book while researching and reviewing dystopian book for the K-5 library I work in. Our 3rd – 5th graders are always asking if we have Hunger Games, and we don’t. That trilogy is at the middle school, we just feel the content is a bit too old for our kids. 6th grade though, they can try it out, and one of the 5th grade teachers has a couple copies in her room that are available to students, so that is an option as well. However, I am on a mission to have a few books that will interest these Hunger Games seeking readers, and Behind the Gates in the first I have read in my quest.
I really enjoyed it! Much more than I thought I would, actually. The story focuses on four roommates: Louisa, Maddie, Rosie, and Evelyn. They were all shipped out to school, as per the custom of their time, away from their parents. They are sent to Country Manor School, which is for rich kids, but their parents do not know where the school is located. For their safety. There is a war going on, and everything is “for their safety”.
The four girls are very different, even though Maddie and Louisa have known each for years and are best friends. The school is a not what they expected or what they are used to. There are a few regular academic classes, but there are also survival classes, where they learn to use a gun or tie a knot, or how to survive in the wilderness. Louisa really is enjoying her classes, as is Rosie, but Evelyn thinks something is shady, while Maddie just plain hates it. It sounds as if in their lives back home, they did not get to go outside much, so that is another aspect that Louisa and Rosie like – the fresh air and being outdoors. I would crave that too, if I had to be cooped up inside all the time.
Slowly, things start to happen that make Evelyn more suspicious, and finally the one thing that Louisa feared most happens – and the four girls have to work together to find an answer.
I think this book perfectly suits my needs, and I am excited to add it to the list of books to suggest to my young dystopian fans. I actually liked it myself, so much so that I am about to start the second book in the series, Run for Cover.