Anyone who knows me (or who has read through some of the reviews on my blog!) knows that I am absolutely obsessed with young adult fiction that involves cults. I am fascinated with the idea of cults, and how they can actually get people to willingly join them (although this is a conversation for another time!). Anyway, back to the book in question – today I am reviewing a book that has been on my radar for quite some time, and I was finally able to get my hands on a copy. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams is a book about a young girl who is swept up in a cult with her family, and who has to make a really difficult decision about how she is going to spend the rest of her life.
Kyra has grown up in a small, isolated community where she has several mothers and many siblings. She only has one father, however – and he has married al of her mothers. Their family is big, and Kyra has only ever known it to be that way.
Kyra takes care of her smaller siblings and attends to her chores. She follows the rules and never steps out of line. However, she does spend a lot of time in a special tree overlooking the area, giving her alone time that she loves. Eventually, she stumbles upon a mobile library while exploring – and she falls in love with reading – even though it is forbidden. No one in the group is permitted to read books that are unapproved – so Kyra reads in secret. She befriends the man who drives the book mobile, and she finds herself back there every single week, meeting the van without fail.
Kyra desperately tries to hide her feelings for a certain boy in the compound – a boy she is not allowed to develop feelings for, as her father and the other elders in the community will decide who her husband will be. Unfortunately, it is deemed that she will be marrying her uncle – a man who is much older than her – and already has other wives.
Kyra does not want to marry her uncle – it is wrong, and she wants no part of it.
So she fights back. She stands up to the community, her uncle, and her father. Through acts of intense courage and bravery, she fights for her freedom, even though it may cost her everything she has ever known and loved.
Despite the fact that it has been on my radar for quite a while, I’ll admit – to a mom of an eleven year old and a (just about!) fourteen year old, I was really hesitant to pick up this book based on the description alone. The main character in this book is only thirteen. That’s really young – but at the same time, her character was strong-willed and fought for what she wanted in life – even if that was something that the rest of her family did not want her to do.
The Chosen One is such a wonderful, raw story that is gripping and will tear you apart emotionally. Although the book is small in size, what is contained within its pages is an incredible journey of a very brave young woman who will fight for what is right – even if she has to risk everything she has ever known.