Title: The Chosen One
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Narrator: Jenna Lamia
Publication Year: 2010
Pages: 240 (audio length: 5 hours 33 minutes)
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com
From the cover:
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated polygamous community without questioning her father’s three wives and her 20 brothers and sisters. Or at least without questioning them much – if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her 60-year-old uncle – who already has six wives – Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family.
This book? So great!
I started listening to The Chosen One on my walk home from work one day, and managed to listen to the entire thing by the time I went to sleep. In fact, I actually stayed up until 2am to finish it, because I just got so sucked into the story that I didn’t want to stop. There was something about it – I needed to know what happened. I was rooting for Kyra, and hoping that things would finally work out, after feeling her frustration right from the beginning of the book.
It was clear from the beginning who the reader was supposed to sympathize with. And it was equally clear from the beginning that the Prophet and his Apostles were to be seen as evil tyrants, lording their power over the other “chosen ones”, the residents of the compound. If there was anything that I didn’t like as much about The Chosen One, it was this over-simplicity. It was a bit hard to believe that there wasn’t a single person in the entire community who didn’t stick up for Kyra, even though there had been prior incidents – including murder – in previous years, and there were adults who sympathized with Kyra but who acted as though there was not a single thing they could do to help her.
Having said that, the story was really fascinating overall. It had elements that were similar to other novels about polygamist communities – for example, some of the family and community dynamics were similar to those depicted in The Lonely Polygamist – but there was something different about The Chosen One that just wrenched my heart. I could feel Kyra’s fear and isolation, and I wanted everything to work out for her in the end. The story was a riveting account of what she did to try to escape her circumstances, the challenges that someone can face when trying to break free of an isolating, controlling religious group, and the way that familial relationships complicate what should be simple decisions.
Pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed.