We are thrilled to share not only a review but our Q&A with Jennifer!
About the BookThose Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on November 10, 2020
College life isn’t what Emily expected.
She expected to spend freshman year strolling through the ivy-covered campus with new friends, finally feeling like she belonged. Instead, she walks the campus alone, still not having found her place or her people so far away from home.
But then the Kingdom finds her.
The Kingdom, an exclusive on-campus group, offers everything Emily expected of college and more: acceptance, friends, a potential boyfriend, and a chance to spend the summer in Italy on a mission trip. But the trip is not what she thought it would be. Emily and the others are stripped of their passports and money. They’re cut off from their families back home. The Kingdom’s practices become increasingly manipulative and dangerous.
And someone ends up dead.
At times unsettling and always riveting, Those Who Prey looks at the allure of cult life, while questioning just how far we’re willing to go to find where we belong.
About the Author
JENNIFER MOFFETT grew up in Arkansas, where she spent her childhood playing in creeks and climbing trees while dreaming up stories about faraway places. A college study abroad program sparked her lifelong passion for travel. After working in children’s television in New York City, she received an MA in Creative Writing and wrote book reviews for regional publications. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various literary journals, including New Orleans Review and descant. She teaches creative writing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she enjoys kayaking, gardening, reading outdoors, and planning trips to new places (preferably with great local yarn shops and bookstores).
Her debut YA thriller, THOSE WHO PREY (Atheneum, Simon & Schuster), is about a shy college freshman who is seduced into joining a campus cult, leading her on a deadly mission trip to Italy.
We loved this cult-centric, YA thriller. Emily is an insecure but relatable protagonist who finds herself extremely lonely during her first year at college.
During her second semester she is befriended by a group of people that she initially sees as welcome and friendly, but things take a dark turn as she gets sucked further and further into their world.
The story is fast paced and suspenseful with compelling characters and takes a scathing look at the dangers of herd mentality, the vulnerability of youth and the necessity of community.
As someone who reads cult stories regularly, this was one of my (Haley) favorites. Overall, I give it 5/5 stars and recommend it to people who loved books like Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and Godshot by Chelsea Bieker.
Those Who Prey features a secret, shady society. What did your research look like for the book?I’ve always been fascinated by cults, so I’ve been reading about them for years. Campus cults were rampant in the 1990s—and not just one in particular. It was a perfect time for cults to target college students who were far away from home because things like email, cell phones, social media, and even the Internet were not yet widely accessible or utilitzed in the early 90s. Students who were isolated from hometown friends and families were vulnerable prey for high-pressure groups pretending to be their instant friends.
Those Who Prey has a rather dark tone, are your reading tastes similar to your writing style? What kind of books are you drawn to as a reader?Yes! I love reading thrillers. And I’m drawn to any book with a creepy vibe.
The book is full of so many twists and turns. When you write do you plan as you go or start with an endpoint in mind?I was a total pantser writing Those Who Prey. I tried to get to know my characters as deeply as possible, put them difficult situations, and see what happens. This approach worked well for this book because it led the story in unexpected directions; however, I’ve since learned to outline plot points to avoid too many dead ends while drafting under deadline. I’m trying to be more of a “plantser” these days.
Those Who Prey is your debut. What has the publishing process been like for you?It’s been such a fantastic experience for me. I know that isn’t always the case for every debut author, but I feel truly blessed. I have an incredibly supportive agent and the most amazing team at Atheneum/S&S. The publishing process itself is slow-moving, but I’ve learned that’s just the way it works.
Can you give a taste of what projects you are working on now?My upcoming thriller is about a reluctant teen psychic and an aspiring journalist who search for the connection between a missing girl and the supernatural events upending their small Ozark town. So another psychological thriller is coming your way in 2022!
Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from Those Who Prey?I hope readers will feel empathy and understanding for anyone who has been through a similar experience. THOSE WHO PREY is a thriller, but I also wanted to show step-by-step how getting caught up in a cult could happen to anyone.
Up for grabs, we have ONE digital copy (via NetGalley) and ONE physical copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett. This giveaway will run from November 3rd to November 12th at 11:59 PM CST. Physical copy is only available to win by a US resident. Digital Copy will be available only to INTL. Enter via the rafflecopter link below!
What About You?
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!