Title: The Chosen One
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Release Date: May 12, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Teen, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much—if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle—who already has six wives—Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.
The Chosen One is a slip of a book, barely 200 pages. It is unassuming, with the text on the pages in a relatively large font. On top of that, it is considered a YA book – by all physical accounts, this should be an easy read. How is it, then, that I found The Chosen One absolutely terrifying (though impossible to put down!)?
The Chosen One is an incredibly well written book about a young girl named Kyra living in a polygamist sect. Though she is only thirteen, she has already begun to question the Prophet’s words. Once a week, she sneaks out of the compound to the passing mobile library and loses herself in forbidden books, learning about the world around her. She is smart, savvy, and easy to love. It’s impossible not to root for Kyra as she faces one horror after another within her community.
What’s really scary about The Chosen One, and what chilled me to the bone while I was reading it, was the fact that this could be a true story. There really are women and children living like this in the United States. Kyra’s family seems more sympathetic to her plight than other accounts I’ve read, but still, there were points where I didn’t see how this novel could end happily. More than once, I was tempted to read the last page of the book because my heart was breaking for Kyra and I just needed to know that she would be okay.
The Chosen One is definitely an emotional read. It’s one of those books that affects you and makes you think about the world around you. It’s incredibly well-written and engaging. Though the subject matter is heavy, the book tries to keep hope alive and is never a weight on the reader. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is even the slightest bit interested in reading it!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review.