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Author: Hill, Will
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Year Published: 2019
ISBN: 9781492669791
Grades: Grades 9 to12

After the Fire

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British author Will Hill, inspired by the true events of the 1993 Waco Texas siege and it’s cult leader David Koresh, gives an extensive account of a troubled teenage girl who survived a government raid on the extremist cult she was raised in. This gritty, poignant and resilient story is told by seventeen-year-old Moonbeam, who wakes up in protective custody in a secured facility under the care of a psychiatrist and FBI agent anxious to hear her story about life in the compound. In alternating chapters, she slowly and reluctantly shares details of Before and After the fire that ultimately leads to the death and the rescue of Holy Church of the Lord’s Legion cult members who had been broken and brainwashed into blindly believing and following the teachings of their manipulative leader, Father John. Harsh and cruel scenes address the negative impact of cults, with the order of society being obeying, fear, trauma and discipline, making Moonbeam’s stories  involving neglect and abuse – sexual, physical, and mental – a haunting read. As we witness Moonbeam’s growth,  learning to trust others without fear of reprisal, we see the hope, courage, and inner strength of this amazing character in an exploration of faith and humanity, but most of all, survival. Mature young adult and adult readers will find this a chilling page-turner a powerful and captivating read.

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