Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The Chosen One" By: Carol Lynch Williams Review

"The Chosen One"
By: Carol Lynch Williams

Synopsis from
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. That is, without questioning it much—if you don’t count her visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her secret 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 Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle—who already has six wives—she must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

My Thoughts:
     When I read the synopsis - a polygamy book for teens - I was skeptical. Was this a subject this age of children should be reading? Would they understand the connotations? How would they react? Would the book be sensitive to the teens understanding of the subject matter or painfully unaware of its audience? I'm happy to say, this book was able to put all of my fears aside.
     From the beginning of the story, it is painfully obvious Kyra is not like other children in our society. Her father has three wives and she has many brothers and sisters. She refers to her three mothers as "Mother Sarah" or "Mother _____" but it is clear her favorite mother is her own. The three mothers are constantly pregnant and have suffered greatly having their children. Kyra is close to her Father, impressed with his intelligence and his perceived fairness with all of his children.
     The book takes its time introducing the characters and the environment until it gets to the meat of the story. One of the elders comes to Kyra's home and has seen visions that a man (actually her father's oldest half brother) over the age of 60 is to be her husband. Immediately you know that Kyra doesn't want to marry him, her family doesn't want her to marry him, nor do her friends. Yet, that's where the heart of the story forms. Should Kyra marry this man for God? Should she follow her religious beliefs? Is it right to follow blindly and not say anything or should she fight back and not accept her "expected" lot in life?
     The rest of the book focuses on Kyra's feelings about this marriage and what she and the others in her life do to keep her out of it. The story is a fascinating look at a teenager's views of polygamy while tackling some pretty heavy subject matter. No sexual content is discussed, but it is implied.
     "The Chosen One" is a Missouri Gateway Award Winner - a high honor indeed. A great story that is fast paced, interesting, and ends on a high note of hope. A great read for any teen or adult!


  1. We obviously have similar taste, I read this one last year (I think) and thought it was brilliantly done!

  2. You blog added three books to my Pinterest list, including this one!

  3. I have never heard of this book before but I'm definitely adding it to my to read list. Thanks for reviewing it!

  4. I have never heard of this book before but I'm definitely adding it to my to read list. Thanks for reviewing it!