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The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One

by Carol Lynch Williams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
72810012,878 (4.04)38
  1. 10
    Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess (weener)
  2. 00
    Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the lack of adults who were supposed to protect you.
  3. 00
    Forbidden by Judy Waite (Runa)
  4. 00
    The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (Maggie_Rum)
    Maggie_Rum: Both this book and The Chosen One portray stories of the danger of polygamy, especially to young women.
  5. 00
    Hush by Eishes Chayil (BookSpot)
    BookSpot: Both books deal with girls in insular religious communities that are not all that they appear to be from the outside. Both also deal with things that it's hard to imagine can be going on like that today but they do it well.
  6. 00
    Burned by Ellen Hopkins (meggyweg)
  7. 00
    The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante (ForeignCircus)
    ForeignCircus: Another young adult novel about growing up in a religious cult and facing unbearable choices to further the greater good.
  8. 00
    Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka (meggyweg)

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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Part of the reason I love reading is to get to experience another world. This book delivered that very well. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
Pretty brutal for a teen book - but very well written. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
Pretty brutal for a teen book - but very well written. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
Page turner alert! Listened to Jenna Lamia read this while commuting. Had to listen to the last five chapters at home because this author had me on the edge of my figurative seat. Kyra Carlson is a 13 year old girl living in a polygamous family on a compound in the desert. The compound is run by Prophet Childs and his Apostles and protected by their God Squad. This prophet has the faithful in a vise-like grip where only those willing to bend to his will and are older men are allowed to have wives. Kyra is a strong character who, as the story opens, already hates the Prophet for the way he controls their lives. Then Kyra is promised to one of the Apostles, her uncle Hiram, who is 60 years old, has six wives and rules by cruelty. There is a scene where he forces a mother to discipline her baby because the baby cries too much--the discipline is a form of torture practiced on modern-day terrorists. Jenna Lamia creates a very believable young girl in her voicing of Kyra--I wonder if the written version of the book will wring so much emotion out of readers as Jenna Lamia's voice. Give this book to teens who like tough realistic fiction like the Crank series. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Oct 29, 2014 |
Waterboarding babies. Shit. I’m not a parent but in that moment I doubt a person could feel anything but a strong urge to protect and defend. Highly disturbing. I was reminded of Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures and the Stanford prison experiment, both very famous psychological studies about the pressures of conforming to a specific role, whether dominant or submissive and highlights the extraordinary strength it takes to break away from it. If the mother of that baby refused to obey by not drowning her baby in ice-filled water, the consequences could’ve been dire.

In the minds of those living in the compound there's this life and nothing else. They refuse to believe that life outside could be any better than the life they’re living now, even when that means torturing and killing your own children or handing them over to paedophiles and rapists. Frustrating, but then they've been indoctrinated from birth, raised not to question the order of things and are told to believe everything is "God's Will".

Very few are strong enough to refuse to continue with the farce that rewards a handful of old lecherous men and condemns everyone else, especially the young and defenceless. If you rebel, you'll be lucky to receive a quick death, if you’re really lucky you get married off to a nice man with only a couple of wives, and if the universe is smiling down on you and the planets are in alignment you might escape with your life and live to breathe another day only to look over your shoulder for the rest of your days.

I’ve noticed that in some of the negative reviews of this book people expected or wanted a realistic depiction of polygamy and that’s not what this is about. The Chosen One reflects the sensational, the newscaster’s dream: the paedophile cultists e.g. Warren Jeffs, sociopathic religious extremists who warp the media’s perception of this way of life so people wrongly come to automatically associate the word “paedophile” with “polygamy”.

Polygamy is not inextricably linked with religion and paedophilia, it is simply, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time." That is all.

If you want a more modern and realistic view of polygamy then this isn’t for you, watch HBO's “Big Love” instead.

Despite this, the book does bring up some important positive and negative points concerning polygamy, for example, more caregivers to bring up the children, sharing a husband can lead to tension and jealousy, etc.

Also, the choice of not using any form of contraception lead to Kyra's 3 mothers having had 19 children, meaning that each child has less one-to-one time with a caregiver and everyone having little-to-no alone time, with the older children forced to act as parents themselves. (On a personal note, I find having so many children incredibly selfish and irresponsible in this day and age where infant mortality is now quite low.) Add to this the overcrowding as each mother has one small, decrepit trailer to house their growing number of offspring. Unless of course their husband happens to be an elevated elder or an Apostle or the Prophet, in which case they'll have a luxurious mansion.

I did, however, wonder how everyone’s fed, clothed and sheltered. Where did the money come from? Who was footing the bill for the land devoid of condoms, and therefore an ever increasing population? They do keep costs down by leading rustic and prudish lifestyles with few mod-cons by making their own clothes, growing their own food, etc. but that only goes so far, at some point you've got to spend some money. For example, the trip to town to buy fabric and afterwards having lunch in a restaurant.

This book covers a number of distasteful topics which some readers may want to avoid:
Forced marriage, Paedophilia and Rape, of unwilling wives. (Forced marriage is illegal in the UK whether the marriage is to take place here or abroad, the law protects the victim no matter their age.)

Blackmail, of those who disobey or their relatives. Husbands can be forced to leave the compound and have their wives and children given to other men who are encouraged to treat them like shit.

Beatings, as a means of control and punishment.

Murder, of runaways, those that attempt to rescue anyone on the compound, those who disobey, and of disabled babies -very Spartan of them.

Incest, not a routine part of the compound. It seems it's more to satisfy Kyra's 60 year old uncle's lust for her 13-year-old body.

One of my favourite parts of this book was Joshua's admission to wanting Kyra and only Kyra for his wife. How romantic is that? Aww.

My rating is 3.5 stars because although we were given a look into what life might be like for those oppressed and used in the cults that make the headlines the writing wasn't as emotive as I would expect it to be apart for the baby torture. This book had the potential to bring me to tears but it didn't quite do it even with the desperate way it ended. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Kyra's terrible dilemma--escaping her fate means betraying her family--is heartbreakingly real, and the final scenes are riveting and suspenseful.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (Apr 1, 2009)
Williams’ portrayals of the family are sharp, but what’s most interesting about this book is how the yearnings and fears of a character so far from what most YAs know will still seem familiar and close.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Ilene Cooper (Feb 15, 2009)
This page turner will appeal to all readers who enjoy fiction with an important message, combined with suspense and danger beautifully crafted within.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Media Connection, Judith M. Garner
The cinematic drama of [Alis and Kyra's] lives, not to mention the fact that they'd both feel at home in ''The Crucible,'' is a means to reach a quieter truth, revealing that moment in childhood when you recognize your thoughts as your own and discover forces in the world that your parents cannot -- or will not -- protect you from.
added by Katya0133 | editNew York Times Book Review, Jessica Bruder
Williams creates sympathetic characters, and readers will hold their breath right to the end, hoping that Kyra wins her freedom.
added by Katya0133 | editHorn Book Magazine, Chelsey Philpot
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"If I was going to kill the Prophet," I say, not even keeping my voice low, "I'd do it in Africa."
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In a polygamous cult in the desert, Kyra, not yet fourteen, sees being chosen to be the seventh wife of her uncle as just punishment for having read books and kissed a boy, in violation of Prophet Childs' teachings, and is torn between facing her fate and running away from all that she knows and loves.… (more)

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