Summary and book reviews of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One

by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams X
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2009, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 240 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BJ Nathan Hegedus
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Kyra has grown up in an isolated fundamentalist community never questioning that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle - who already has six wives - she must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. That is, without questioning it much - if you don't count her visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her secret meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle - who already has six wives - she must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults.

A YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

Recommended by The New England Children's Booksellers Association.

"If I was going to kill the Prophet," I say, not even keeping my voice low, "I'd do it in Africa."

I look into Mariah"s light green eyes.

She stares back at me and smiles, like she knows what I mean and agrees. Like she's saying, "Go on, Kyra. Tell me more."

I kick the toe of my sneaker into the desert sand. Even this late in the evening, with the sun sinking over my shoulder, the ground is leftover hot from the day. I can feel the heat through the soles of my shoes. Feel the heat coming up from the ground, through my tights, right under the skirt of my past-the-knees dress. There isn't even a bit of a breeze.

"I"m not sure how I'd kill him. Yet." I pause so Mariah can see I am dead serious. Then I take in a big breath of air and plow ahead. "But once he's gone, I"d drag his body right next to a termite nest. Not a thing would be left of him in three hours. There're termites in Africa that can do that. No one would ever know what...

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 ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Writing young adult fiction is a tricky endeavor, for the reader walks a fine line between juvenile and adult worlds. A successful book of this genre must tread ever so carefully on the line that separates interesting and evocative from inappropriate. It must provoke thought without being overly explicit. No easy feat when the subject matter is polygamy.

The Chosen One serves as a fine example of handling such a difficult issue deftly ... Kyra's story is not easily forgotten and offers up ancillary topics such as the importance of libraries, the subjugation of women and the dangers of extremist fundamentalism, to name just a few...continued

Full Review (810 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by BJ Nathan Hegedus).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Williams's highlighting all aspects of cult membership, rather than relying on one-sided generalizations, makes this a prudent and powerful read. Ages 12-up.

VOYA
Although most teenagers cannot relate directly to Kyra's plight, her emotions are so strong and universal that teenage readers will find the book thrilling and hard to forget.

Booklist - Ilene Cooper
This is a heart pounder, and readers will be held, especially as the danger escalates. 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.

Kirkus Reviews
"Intensely gripping and grippingly intense ... Kyra's terrible dilemma - escaping her fate means betraying her family- heartbreakingly real, and the final scenes are riveting and suspenseful."

Author Blurb Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and A Lion Among Men
The Chosen One makes the heart race, the teeth grind, and the brow bead up in sweat. Carol Lynch Williams presents a first-person narrative that gallops just behind—or perhaps in advance of—contemporary headlines about the manipulation of the innocent. I could choose no other book or newspaper until I had finished the final page.

Author Blurb Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the 2005 Newbery Medal for Kira-Kira
The Chosen One is absolutely riveting and perfectly formed. I had planned to read just a few pages one evening before bed, and I ended up staying awake until four in the morning to finish it! It’s a wonderful book.

Reader Reviews

Merlene Johnson-Nelson

My Thoughts
My thoughts on this book was very bad at first. I had to go back and re-read the book over a couple of times to get a better understanding of the book. As I re-read the book for a third time I finally understood what the book was really about.
Brenna Llanes

Best read!
I read this book for my book report for school and it was absolutely magnificent i enjoyed every sentence in this exciting thriller!

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Lost Boys

While The Chosen One focuses primarily on the plight of Kyra, a young girl growing up in an unspecified polygynous fundamentalist community, it also explores the issue of the 'lost boys'.

The lost boys is a term used to describe young men raised within polygynous Mormon sects such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) who, being deemed unfit, are forced out of the community. While a handful of boys leave of their own volition, the vast majority are excommunicated for what is deemed sinful conduct. This includes such actions as watching television, listening to music, wearing short-sleeved shirts or talking to girls.

It appears that the real motivating factor at play here is the shortage of girls and ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Carol Lynch Williams

If you liked The Chosen One, try these:

  • The Project jacket

    The Project

    by Courtney Summers

    Published 2021

    About this book

    More by this author

    From Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of the 2019 Edgar Award Winner and breakout hit, Sadie, comes a sensational follow-up -- another pulls-no-punches thriller about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister from a cult.

  • The Serpent King jacket

    The Serpent King

    by Jeff Zentner

    Published 2017

    About this book

    More by this author

    A touching debut chronicles the coming-of-age of three high school seniors, misfits and best friends in a sepia-toned portrait of small-town life.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Paradise, Nevada
    Paradise, Nevada
    by Dario Diofebi
    In Dario Diofebi's novel Paradise, Nevada, the neon allure of Las Vegas is pulled back to reveal ...
  • Book Jacket: Things We Lost to the Water
    Things We Lost to the Water
    by Eric Nguyen
    Spanning over 30 years, Eric Nguyen's debut novel Things We Lost to the Water is epic in scope but ...
  • Book Jacket: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
    The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
    by Dawnie Walton
    Within the general arc of many well-established and chronicled historical events is oral history's ...
  • Book Jacket: Monkey Boy
    Monkey Boy
    by Francisco Goldman
    Francisco Goldman's Monkey Boy exists in the liminal space between memoir and fiction. Like Goldman ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Ariadne
by Jennifer Saint
A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Morningside Heights
    by Joshua Henkin

    A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Win This Book!
Win Together We Will Go

Together We Will Go
by J. Michael Straczynski

A novel as much about the will to live as the choice to end it.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

C T T Chase

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.