The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams,
Kyra has three mothers, one father, and twenty brothers and sisters. She lives in a compound led by The Prophet, a man who is in “close communication with God.” Over the years, the compound has become more and more closed off from the outside world. With the fence that was built around the compound and the mass book burning, any freedom they had is dwindling away.Kyra is the most headstrong out of all of her siblings. She sometimes has a difficult time accepting the laws of the community. Because of her headstrong ways, she keeps secrets. Even though books aren’t allowed on the compound, she has found a way to read. On one of her walks she discovers that a bookmobile passes the compound. When the bookmobile driver stops, she gets up the nerve to get a library card and check out one book at a time. She keeps it hidden in her favorite tree where she spends a lot of her time.Reading isn’t the only secret Kyra keeps. There is also Joshua - the boy she loves. They sneak out at night to talk, to kiss, and to read. She sees herself getting married to Joshua and starting a family, but she begins to question her feelings about husbands having multiple wives. Could she stand sharing Joshua with another woman?Kyra’s life begins to spiral out of control when her and her family get the word from The Prophet that she has been Chosen. Chosen to be married. Married to her sixty-year-old uncle. Unable to believe this is possible, she runs and hides in her tree until it is dark enough to go to Joshua’s. From the minute Kyra discovers she is supposed to marry her uncle, her life is a living nightmare. She gets a glimpse of what life will be like when her uncle comes over to discipline one of her siblings for embarrassing him in front of The Prophet. As she goes through the wedding preparations like a zombie, she hopes somehow her father will talk The Prophet out of his decision.Threats, beatings, banishments. This is what life is like in the compound. Kyra must decide if she can live this way or if she will take the risk and run away and leave her family forever.This novel is very powerful and disturbing. The contrast between the family life Kyra is used to and the other families in the compound is interesting. Where Kyra’s father is always loving and kind to his wives and children, the other men of the compound rule by fear and harsh discipline. This is one of the main reasons Kyra is headstrong.Something that would have made this novel even better though, is if the author would have given us more examples of what went on behind closed doors in the houses that weren’t as friendly as Kyra’s. THE CHOSEN is a book everyone should read, especially in light of recent news events concerning a situation much like Kyra’s. THE CHOSEN is a page-turner. Once you start, you won’t want to put it down until you see how it ends. Your heart will go out to Kyra. THE CHOSEN is one of those books that will leave you pondering for days.