Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

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.

As most of us know, the issue of polygamist communities is big in the news right now, and this book effectively shows the dangers these cults pose to the children involved. Kyra’s story is complex and filled with emotion. Her interaction with her father, mothers, and siblings is surprisingly heartfelt and functional, with the Prophet causing all the tension. The one aspect of the book that felt forced was Kyra’s relationship with Joshua, a boy she was able to sneak off with each night and spend time with, although the fact that the community members were constantly watched was enforced throughout the book. It all just seemed a little too convenient. Otherwise, everything fell into place perfectly, with the ending leaving me thinking about the characters and hoping that everything would turn out alright.


Rachel said...

It sounds like the ending leaves you hanging. It seems like you see a lot of stuff on polygamist communities right now. Movies, books, and on the news. I would feel like beating up the prophet guy the whole time I read this. I like reading what its like in religions. Seeing the differences and similarities.

Kim said...

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I'm fasinated by cults...this book really appeals to me. I'm putting it on my TBR list!