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The Chosen One

Cover of The Chosen One

The Chosen One

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated polygamous community without questioning her father's multiple wives and her twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. Or at least without questioning them much--if you don't count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her occasional meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of marrying a man who is chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle, and her parents are powerless against him, Kyra must confront the increasingly violent lengths to which the Prophet and his followers are prepared to go to enforce his will over the entire community.

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated polygamous community without questioning her father's multiple wives and her twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. Or at least without questioning them much--if you don't count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her occasional meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of marrying a man who is chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle, and her parents are powerless against him, Kyra must confront the increasingly violent lengths to which the Prophet and his followers are prepared to go to enforce his will over the entire community.

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  • AudioFile Magazine When the prophet of a polygamist sect decrees that 13-year-old Kyra must marry her 60-year-old uncle and become his seventh wife, she becomes an immovable force. In Williams's outstanding young adult novel, Kyra begins sneaking books from the local bookmobile and falling for a teenage boy in her isolated community. Threats, beatings, and even murder can't deter her from a world whose door she's already opened. Narrator Jenna Lamia brings passion and dignity to Kyra, her sisters, and even the strict elders who want all the girls for themselves. At times, Kyra's life seems not so bad; at other times, unendurable. Lamia's voice sounds believably young and brings surprising gravity to this ripped-from-the-headlines story. M.M.C. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 25, 2009
    Williams strikes just the right balance between informative and cautionary in this gripping tale about a 13-year-old girl trapped in a polygamist cult. At first, Kyra's struggles center around her situation—a lack of privacy, too many mothers and the urge to experiment with various sins (reading books besides scripture, exploring outside the compound, kissing a boy). But when she's “chosen” to be the seventh wife of her brutish, 60-something uncle, Kyra's desperation to be somewhere (or someone) else escalates (“God has given you to me, Kyra Leigh,” her uncle tells her. “You will
    do what He says. What the Prophet says. What I
    say”). Is she brave enough to run away from the community that has sheltered her since birth? Although the ending verges on the sensational, Williams (Pretty Like Us
    ) takes such care in crafting Kyra's internal struggles—and her hellacious story—that the ensuing drama rings true. Williams's highlighting all aspects of cult membership (fear of leaving, desire to belong, guilt about sinning), rather than relying on one-sided generalizations (cults are bad), makes this a prudent and powerful read. Ages 12–up.

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The Chosen One
The Chosen One
Carol Lynch Williams
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