21 Feb 2011

Review: "The Chosen One" - Chosen without a choice

Do you know that feeling of reading a YA book and wishing that you had read it when you were actually a young adult (and not like me, nearing 30)? I had that feeling yesterday when I put down "The Chosen One" by Carol Lynch Williams. It is definitely a YA book that would have been a favourite if I had read it when I was 13 or 14 (except that it wasn't published then).

Kyra is a 13-year-old girl who is part of the sect The Chosen Ones. They are a polygamous sect living in the desert somewhere in the USA, secluded from the surrounding world and ruled by self-proclaimd prophet. Kyra is living with her family - her father, her several mothers and many siblings - and being quite happy until the day her 60-something uncle Hyrum proclaims that he has chosen her. He is one of the powerful men in the sect and though Kyra's father has tried to intervene, there is nothing to be done. Kyra, no more than a child, will marry a man who could be her grandfather and who already has wives.
Kyra, however, is a resourceful young lady with a few secrets. She is falling in love with her friend Joshua who wants to choose her and together they read - something which is forbidden. This is her safe space but as the marriage with Hyrum draws closer, Kyra has to decide if she will follow the prophet's will or try to break free. It is a choice that will not only affect her but also her family.

What I love about this book, is Kyra's voice. As the pages go by she becomes more and more desperate and the better she (and the reader) get to know Hyrum, the more she realizes that she can never be his wife. This was an easy-read for me, short and well-written but definitely a tween/teen book. But it was also very emotional because Kyra is so alive as a character. I wanted to shelter her and give her a new and better life, away from violence and men that force women and children to adhere to ridiculous rules. It reminded me of "The 19th Wife" by David Ebershoff which deals with very much the same subject but in adult fiction and they are great to read together as a package because they describe a way of life that is so difficult to understand for an outsider.
If you need a resent for a 12-14 year old girl who likes reading, I definitely recommend going for "The Chosen One".

For other reviews of "The Chosen One" visit:
My Friend Amy's Blog: http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/2009/05/review-chosen-one-by-carol-lynch.html'

I Was A Teenage Book Geek: http://www.iwasateenagebookgeek.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-chosen-one-carol-lynch-williams.html

S. Krishna's Books: http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/2009/06/chosen-one-carol-lynch-williams.html


  1. Willa - Sounds really good. I was on a polygamy reading kick a couple years ago. I may have to check this one out.

  2. Not really a fan (generally because I have enough to read from my own age range!) of YA but this one sounds quite good.

    Sometimes I re-read books I've loved as teen and I'm a little shocked by it despite not being shocked when I actually read it. A good reminder for what teens are capable of taking in.

  3. BookBelle: Absolutely, it is really good. Can you recommend some books about polygamy? It is a really interesting topic.

    madbibliophile: I so know that feeling! Teens are often much more mature than we expect when it comes to reading.

  4. I do know that feeling very well. I just finished Chains and whilst I absolutely loved it, I would have loved it more age 14.

    The Chose One sounds very interesting and I've added it to my wishlist. I enjoyed The 19th Wife too.

  5. Never heard of Chains but will look it up. Glad you like the sound of The Chosen One Same :-)

  6. This sounds awesome. I am so fascinated with the polygamous sects and this is probably a good study on life inside one. Thanks for the recommendation! And great review :)