Review Detail

4.8 9
Young Adult Fiction 6791
A gripping page-turner about a secret world
Overall rating
Writing Style

This powerful book grabs you from the first sentence and quickly makes you fall in love with the courageous main character. Growing up in an isolated community, thirteen-year-old Kyra has never questioned her familys beliefs or the fact that her father has multiple wives. But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old unclewho already has six wivesKyra is faced with a desperate choice between family or freedom. She loves her twenty sisters and brothers, her sickly mother, and she also loves a teenage boy whom she had hoped to choose one daybut to love someone and hope to marry him is a taboo thought. Kyra was raised to believe that her only chance at heaven is to marry the man that the Prophet decrees for her and to have children with him&even if he is cruel, old, and her uncle. Violence is a constant threat within the compound walls. But if she escapes the compound and walks out into the desert, she could certainly risk death. Even to read a novel or a picture book is forbidden and could result in a beating, or worse. For weeks, Kyra has risked her safety by secretly visiting the Mobile Library on Wheels. Reading these forbidden books gives her insight about the outside world.


I could not put this book down. Although the situation is gruesome, it is a story told with much sensitivity and no sensationalism. In this novel, there is love, realism, and a universality that readers will respond to, on an emotional level. Early readers of this book, such as Meg Cabot, have called it a heartbreaking novel of love and hope and an important book. There is a Romeo and Juliet quality to the innocent yet outlawed romance between Kyra and the boy she loves, Joshua. He is another wonderful character in this book of vivid characters. There is heart-stopping drama and action throughout. But it is Kyras deep love for her family and her dawning realization of the truth about her oppression that makes her ultimate decision truly heartrending.


The author, Carol Lynch Williams, is a four-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition and winner of Nebraskas Golden Sower Award. She lives in Utah with her husband and seven children. This novel was inspired by a harrowing real-life story that she heard about a young woman who ran from her polygamist community. THE CHOSEN ONE is a haunting and thought-provoking story that will stay with the reader long after the last page is read.

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