Reading guide for The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

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The Chosen One

By Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One
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  • Hardcover: May 2009,
    224 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2010,
    240 pages.

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. In some ways, a polygamist family is very different from most American families, yet in other ways, very similar. How is Kyra’s family different from your family? How are they the same? Were you surprised by these similarities?

  2. Discuss the differences and similarities between a religion and a cult. What specific events in the book identify The Chosen as a cult?

  3. What is the role of power—and the lack of power—among The Chosen? How do these differ for men? Women? Children? Teens? How are the adults in Kyra’s life victims, and how are they aggressors?

  4. There are stories of escapes and attempted escapes from both before and after the current “Prophet” comes to power. Indeed, one of Kyra’s mothers indicates that she attempted to run away. Others, like Kyra’s own parents, never seem to seriously consider leaving. Why do you think people would choose to stay in this community?

  5. When Joshua says, “The girls are for all the older men,” what are the practical implications? Why are boys allowed—or forced—to leave? Why are the girls who attempt to escape chased down and brought back?

  6. When Kyra, her sisters, and mothers travel to town, they are subjected to curious and rude stares and whispers. Have you ever felt the way Kyra feels during this trip? How does this trip affect Kyra’s view of herself, her family, and The Chosen?

  7. Patrick, the librarian, knows he takes a risk in bringing books to Kyra. Do you think he fully understands those risks? Do you think he realizes his life might be in danger when he decides to help Kyra escape from the Compound in the mobile library?

  8. How does Patrick provide both the practical means and some of the emotional strength Kyra needs in order to make her escape? In what ways does Kyra’s family enable her to make her final escape? How does the knowledge that her family will be punished for her leaving both hinder and help her escape?

  9. What do you think of Kyra’s decision to leave? While she obviously finds herself in an extreme situation, does her dilemma remind you of any difficult or complex choice you have had to make? How did you ultimately decide?

  10. What do you think life will be like for Kyra outside The Chosen—both in the beginning and years later? Do you think she finds Joshua? Does she go to college? Does she ever see her family again? What sort of future do you imagine for her?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of St. Martin's Griffin. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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