My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First, thank you so much to @ChelleyToy and @EMTeenFiction for this copy of Seed!
Seed is both the name of the book, and the name of the commune Pearl lives on. Secluded from society, the people of Seed worship Mother Nature, and the head of the commune, Papa S. The only time they interact with the outside world is when they sell their fruit and vegetable produce at the market. All the children born into Seed are the children of Seed, not knowing who gave birth to them. Pearl wants to find out who her mother is.
Tensions rise as new members arrive – Linda and her two children, Ellis and Sophie. Suddenly, Pearl knows she has to find out who her mother is…
We meet Pearl originally when she has just gotten her period (Yes! Periods in YA! Without a pregnancy in the next scene!) and is sent underground for a night. She’s naive and unaware of a lot of the goings on at Seed, and so we discover life for the women of Seed at the same time that Pearl does, at the age of 15. This involves discovering she is eligible to become Papa S’s ‘companion’, which she is eager to be.
This book is really good at leading you through the cult mentality, and the traditions and beliefs of Seed. Pearl is a believable character – she doesn’t give up her beliefs just because a newcomer enters the cult. Ellis is a little less so, and at times there a few too many characters for them all to be well developed. Papa S was a character who was particularly well done – a genuinely creepy figure who cast a shadow over every scene. There are some brilliant dramatic moments, and the ending was well executed.
One particularly subtle theme through the book was that Pearl never wondered who her father was – this makes the book (and the potential romances) particularly creepy.
The blurb on my copy of the book says this is a ‘tense, romantic thriller’ – but I wouldn’t agree. There’s not too much tension until at least halfway through the book, and no real blinding romance (which I don’t think is a bad thing).
This is a brilliant debut YA novel, although, again, like a lot of YA, this book stands alone well. I look forward to Lisa Heathfield’s other books, which will include the sequel to Seed.