As I attempted to prioritize my reading list by selecting the books that were due back to the library the soonest, I realized that I had two similar titles. The Chosen One and The 19th Wife had similar covers: both featured a single braid of hair, and both books centered around polygamist families. It was hard to choose which book to read first, but I started with The Chosen One.
The Chosen One was written by Carol Lynch Williams. This is the story of Kyra, a young girl living in an isolated polygamist community. Kyra is a fascinating protagonist, and once I started reading, I could not stop until I found out what happened to her.
Kyra is a bit of a nonconformist. She makes secret visits to a mobile library, where she reads forbidden works of fiction. She also harbors feelings for Joshua, a classmate. But young girls don’t choose the man they are going to marry in this sect, and Kyra is rocked to her core when her uncle selects her as his next wife.
Her parents try to protest. It is not unusual for an older man to select a teenage girl for his next wife, but it is highly irregular to have blood relatives marry. However, their protests are halfhearted because they know that they cannot win against the Prophet and his inner circle, of which the uncle is a member.
Kyra is outraged. She loves her family, and does not have a problem with polygamy. Why would she? It is the only lifestyle she has ever known. But she refuses to marry her uncle. She wants nothing more than to marry Joshua, who is a few years older than her. She knows that her only option is to escape- but will she be able to before she is married to her uncle?
As I mentioned, once I started reading, I could not stop. I have been fascinated by polygamists since before the FLDS compounds were raided a few years ago. Although the scenes of brutality were shocking, they did not seem unrealistic. I remember reading about babies being punished with cold water, and there is a similar scene in the book.
I would absolutely recommend The Chosen One. This was a quick read for me, but this was a very compelling book. It is intended for young adults, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think that it does have wider appeal for teens, but adult readers who have enjoyed other books about polygamists (either fiction or nonfiction), will love this one as well. I have to return my copy to the library, but I was very happy to see that Amazon has the paperback copy of this book bargain priced at $4!
If you would like to find out more, you can do so here: The Chosen One