Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Chosen One

The Chosen One
Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra’s life has always been ordered and planned. Afterall, she is a Chosen One – a member of a polygamous cult who is led by a man called the Prophet. Her father has three wives which is not all that many – her uncle Hyrum has six wives. There are twenty children in Kyra’s family with two more on the way. Her family, large though it is, is close-knit and loving.

Kyra has a streak of rebellion in her (although she doesn’t really think of it as rebellion). She has a secret (kissing only) relationship with a teenage boy who lives at the same compound and she surreptitiously visits the local bookmobile. Books are forbidden in the group but each week she checks out one and hides it in a tree. Joshua has said he wants to Choose her, to marry her and Kyra’s thrilled. So she is devastated when the prophet comes to visit and tells her that she must marry her Uncle Hyrum, a man who is 60 years old. Even though her father tries to get the marriage prevented, he is unsuccessful and both Krya and Joshua are horribly beaten when Joshua asks to marry her instead. It becomes increasingly clear that escape is going to be her only option, but escape means giving her family forever. Escape is also not guaranteed to succeed – it could also result in her death.

I enjoyed this book, although I found it to be a little too dramatic at times. Williams does a good job of showing that though these polygamous groups are dangerous because of their potential for abuse, not everyone within them is abused or miserable. Kyra may have strict mothers, but the children are well loved and her father is attentive and loving to all of his children. I think this book will be in high demand from my eighth graders, to whom I plan to booktalk it as soon as Christmas break is over.


I Heart Monster said...

I too enjoyed this one. Maybe a little overly dramatic, but for its size, I though she packed A LOT in there! :o) Great review!

melissa @ 1lbr said...

This one really got me riled up. But, now I think back, you are right. Not everyone in a polygamous group is unhappy or abused or oppressed even. Thoughtful review.

Paige Y. said...

I think the fact that Williams showed a loving family within the community enabled her to more believably show the evil side of the community -- it made the controlling aspect of the community all the more frightening.