Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, 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 meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-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 forever.
Title: The Chosen One
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Genre: Young Adult, Polygamy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: May 12, 2009
My Rating: 5/5
This is a haunting and gripping tale of a young girl, growing up in a polygamous sect. She has been promised to her sixty-year-old uncle and is in defiance of this arranged marriage. She has been secretly meeting another boy, Joshua, and has fallen in love with him. This book follows her struggles as she comes to terms with the lighter, and darker sides of her religion. She must make some difficult choices. Either way, she will lose something.
This is a poignant read and will resonate with readers for a long time after it has been finished. The lifestyle alone is something that many of us can't understand and don't agree with. For Kyra, all she knows is that you must be wed to a man, and he must have at least three wives. You must bear his children, and through your husband you will obtain heaven. Kyra has had to mature rapidly as she helps both her pregnant mother, and helps take care of all of her younger siblings. She barely has any time to herself, but she still manages to meet the Mobile Library, and borrow a book every week. If the Apostles found out, she would be punished severely as reading, other than reading the Bible, is forbidden. The current Prophet of the sect religiously has Days of Cleansing and will do anything on these days, including burning everything that could be deemed as sinful.
The characters were exceedingly well developed, and within pages it felt like I was immersed in Kyra's life. The hatred I felt for her uncle was astonishing. He is a terrible man, and it's hard to believe that he, and Kyra's father are brothers. Kyra's father gives us hope that there are decent men in the compound who treat their wives kindly, and do not treat them as objects. Meanwhile, her uncle has 6 wives, and wants a young girl to "break in" and "train". He is absolutely appalling.
We get to feel Kyra's love for her family, and her love for Joshua, and her abject horror at marrying a man well over 50 years her senior. Her situation is incredibly sad, and all too real.
All in all, this is a must read. It is breathtaking, heartbreaking, and intense in its portrayal. It will ravage you emotionally.