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review: “the chosen one” September 9, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.


The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams.
St. Martin’s Griffin // Hardcover // 224 pages.
Reviewed from library copy.

The only life that Kyra has known is that of the compound, the home of the polygamist cult that she and her family belongs to. Kyra’s life is ruled by the commands of the Prophet and the cult’s clergy. Kyra has always tested the boundaries, secretly reading books from a bookmobile, and entering an illegal (in the cult’s eyes) relationship with a boy from the compound. But when Kyra is promised as the seventh wife to her 60-year-old uncle, she begins to question more vehemently her role and who she wants to be.

I really thought that I would be creeped out and disturbed by this book. I was surprised at how human the story was and how much I liked Kyra.

I loved that Kyra was illegally getting books from a bookmobile. This made me cheer as a librarian, I really smiled during scenes from the bookmobile.

Kyra’s relationship with Joshua was sweet, innocent, and lasting through the dangers of the compound. Their relationship was kept secret only because Kyra did not draw attention to herself until after being promised.

I had a hard time during some of the more graphic scenes, but I felt like they were appropriate to demonstrate the cult’s influence and restrictions. Without these scenes, I don’t think I would have believed Kyra’s decisions.

The last third of this book was read feverishly, racing to get to the end. I only wish I had been able to take more time with the book, but I couldn’t knowing that Kyra was still in danger.

This book is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. Controversial, yes. Disturbing, at times. But a human story, with a very real protagonist that teens *will* be able to relate to. Can’t wait to introduce it in booktalks.

SWAN catalog
Carol Lynch Williams at Utah Childrens Writers and Illustrators




1. Mandy - September 9, 2009

Oohh, Yeah I really liked this one too! Great Review!

2. Devourer of Books - September 9, 2009

I think I’ve read and watched too much about polygamous cults (particularly Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven”) because this book didn’t really make a huge impact on me. I did think it was well done, though, and it would be really great for the YA audience.

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