Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: May 12, 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 224
Source: Library

Thirteen-year-old Kyra is one of the chosen ones - a polygamist cult located in arid isolation. All her life she has never questioned her father's three wives or her twenty-plus brothers and sisters, but when the Prophet orders her to become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, Kyra begins to have doubts. What Kyra really wants is to remain with her family, continue to sneak books from the Library-on-Wheels, and some day marry her true love Joshua. Kyra soon learns what she wants doesn't matter, and she must then choose between staying or leaving, her family or no one, marriage or freedom. But when Kyra does find the courage, she realizes the Prophet may not allow her the choice.

I've had The Chosen One from the library for a while now, and I must say I've been putting it off. Despite the gleaming reviews, I was a little turned off from the subject after reading The 19th Wife (which left me greatly disappointed). I am so glad that I didn't put it off any longer. The Chosen One was an amazing story I could not put down. So often when we hear of religious extremists, the media depicts them as completely alien and we don't see them as worthy of our compassion. Williams's novel depicts Kyra's family as loving and faithful. Throughout the story there was no doubt in my mind that Kyra's father loved her and each of her siblings, that Kyra's mothers loved her equally, and that they truly believed the Prophet's words were the key to salvation.

The Chosen One is a haunting look at a world within our own. Although a fictitious story, groups like the one in this novel do exist in America today (I know, totally scary). But as scary as it is, stories like these need to be heard, and I'm glad Carol Lynch Williams told this one so beautifully.

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