Book Review: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Kyra is a normal teen in many ways. She likes to read, she helps out with her family, and she has a crush on a boy who lives just down the street. Unlike most teens, Kyra lives in a polygamous society where she is forbidden to read books from outside the compound, she has three mothers and many siblings, and she has just been informed that she will become the seventh wife of her 60-year-old uncle.
Only thirteen years old, Kyra must decide if she will defy the Prophet and go against everything she has grown up to believe, or if she will take her place in her society where personal choice is frowned upon and the Prophet rules the lives of all his followers.
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams provides a fascinating glimpse into life inside a secretive sect that keeps its members under control in part by limiting their knowledge of the outside world. From Kyra’s perspective we see the unwelcome aspects of this community, which include unquestioning adherence to a Prophet you suspect is motivated more by earthly concerns than heavenly ones. But we also see the benefits to be had by living in a close community with many adults and children around to provide love and support.
Kyra questions the decision made for her in part because she has been secretly and quietly rebelling all along. She wanders outside the compound frequently, and she regularly visits a mobile library she discovered parked by the side of the road on one of her wandering days. Reading has opened her mind to the possibility of living in a world very different from her own, but can she live in a place that does not include everyone she loves? And like most girls her age, she does love her father and mothers, who are ineffectual at resisting the Prophet’s will.
The Chosen One will keep you turning pages as you follow Kyra through her dilemma into a surprising ending. I recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 14 and up.