Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams

Wives are kind of like potato chips; it's really hard to stop at just one. So in honor of the maritally enthusiastic, September is polygamy month! I've got a few titles lined up, and have started the series with this fantastic YA novel. I read this in two sittings, but would have finished it in one, if my pesky children hadn't needed feeding and attention. Perhaps I should find a couple of wives to take care of them so that I can spend more time reading...

Where I heard about this book
: I found it in my hunt for polygamy lit, mostly performed on the Multnomah County Library website.

What I thought of this book
: Fantastic. All the stars in the firmament for this wonderful novel.

13 year old Kyra has one father, three mothers and 19 siblings (so far). She also has an unpromising future on the compound of The Chosen Ones, a breakaway Mormon sect. Kyra's greatest assets are her love for her family and her independent spirit; unfortunately, independence is not a trait the Prophet is fond of, particularly in young girls. He makes it very clear to Kyra and her family that if she resists early marriage to an elderly relative, her entire family will suffer. Smart, intrepid and self-reliant, Kyra is unwilling to fall into line, but also not crazy about the idea of tearing her family apart.

This novel is YA at its best. I had to forcibly stop myself from skipping to the end to see how it turned out. Williams does a great job of describing the no-win situations of her characters. Kyra is an engaging protagonist, who will not be dominated by the leaders of her community, nor by the mute fear of her family.

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