Book Review : The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams


Product Details
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312555113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312555115

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. That is, 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 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.

This book is simply amazing! I've not read a book with such a plausible, realistic storyline and gripping characters for quite some time. The Chosen One tells the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives in an isolated place where the community practices polygamy. Kyra's love for books other than the Bible makes her feel sinful as the Prophet Childs says that those are the words of the devil.

When the prophet proclaims that he has a vision from God, Kyra's life is about to change drastically, and her fate is sealed once and for all, because she has been "chosen" to marry her 60-year-old uncle, and to become his seventh wife in less than a month.

Being a strong-willed and determined young girl, Kyra resists this marriage and thinks about the possibilities of getting a taste of freedom by trying to escape. Will she succeed in escaping the religious cult that has been controlling her ever since she was born?

Kyra is a wonderful character and I really admire her courage and willpower. She is the perfect protagonist for The Chosen One. She has to make a difficult choice : to stay with her family and wed her abusive uncle, or pursue freedom with the possibility of facing a death sentence.

This book brings up a few social issues which are worthy to be discussed about. First of all, there is this personal freedom issue. Doesn't everyone deserves the freedom of choosing whom to marry and how they should live their lives? It is extremely unfair for the girls in Kyra's community to be coerced to marry old men and become "baby-making machines". Any girl who tries to defy a marriage instructed by the Prophet will be mercilessly beaten up or killed with a rifle gun.

Each of us know that religions are meant to teach us to be good and virtuous. However, in this story, Prophet Childs uses his authority and social rank to rule over The Chosen Ones. He feeds himself with power by making others' lives hard in God's name. He always ends every word of his own by saying, " This is God's will."

Another thing is, the people in the community has little knowledge of what is happening around them as Prophet Childs has already banned all kinds of reading materials except the Bible. I believe this enables the prophet to remain in control of the whole society effortlessly and maintain his holiness. How can one who seeks power, money and fame by exploiting God's name be a prophet?

Kyra's heartbreaking account made me sad, angry and sympathetic at the same time. I cried for her tragic experiences and personal loss. My heart was literary in my throat when Kyra is hunted down by the God Squad. I'm in awe by her extraordinary valor and inner strength.

In a few words, The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams is a remarkable, thought-provoking and gripping novel. No one should ever miss this book.

Rating: 5

My deepest gratitude to Kathryn from Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a paperback copy of The Chosen One for this review! Thank you, Kathryn!
Carol Lynch Williams grew up in Florida but now lives in Utah with her husband and seven children. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and helped develop the conference on Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers at Brigham Young University.

Buy The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (paperback) at:
Simon & Schuster UK :: The Book Depository

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