Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

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, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her 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 she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.


The Chosen One has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now and I really, really regret not picking it up sooner. This was a heartbreaking and bittersweet story that I could not set down for a second. I have been wanting to read this for awhile, but I always had something else to read when the mood struck. Luckily, this summer I had the chance to devour this one and I will certainly be recommending it many times. Carol Lynch Williams has a winner with The Chosen One and Kyra's story will leave you breathless and full of emotions.

Considering Kyra is only thirteen, she has had one hard road. Her life has been far from easy and now it has only taken a turn for the worse. Kyra has grown up in the confines of her community, living with her father, his three wives, and Kyra's many siblings. Although Kyra does sneak off to read books from the Mobile Library on Wheels and secretly meets up with a boy she has grown to love (Joshua), Kyra is relatively happy and doesn't question things too much. Until their leader, the Prophet, announces that she must marry her sixty-year old uncle. Now Kyra doesn't know what to do. All she knows is that she is going to have to make some big choices in order to save herself and those she loves.

Williams didn't hold back in her writing and Kyra's situation was simply horrible. The Prophet and his biggest followers, including her uncle, were downright scary. Their punishments and methods of keeping people in line were awful and I had to set the book aside a few times; feeling queasy. The plot moved at an incredibly rapid clip and every page had me hooked. This was a small book that packed a punch.

Kyra was such a brave girl and I can only wonder how I would have acted if I had ever been in her situation. All of the characters and the community they lived in were so well developed. I couldn't believe all of these people were forced to live like this and how they basically accepted it as normal. Of course others did try to escape, but the punishment was horrifying. While you would think Kyra's father would be a horrible person, he wasn't. He obviously loved all of his wives and his children very much and only wanted the best for them. He was a prisoner just as much as they were.

Joshua was a sweet addition to the story and my heart went out to him. He and Kyra loved each other, but could do nothing about it. Patrick was another great character and one of my favorites. His bravery shown from the pages and he was an amazing friend to Kyra. His library on wheels played a large part in the story and I enjoyed hearing about the different books Kyra borrowed from him and the effect they had on her.

Carol Lynch Williams is one heck of a writer and she blew me away with The Chosen One. I was constantly rooting for Kyra and I only wanted the best for her. With a unique and intense premise, complex characters, and a fantastic protagonist- The Chosen One is a book everyone should take a chance on. I'm looking forward to reading more by Ms. Williams as soon as I can!

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

May 12, 2009/St. Martin's Griffin/213 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Purchased


  1. I've been looking at this one for a while too. You have motivated me! Great review. Thanks.

  2. I've been meaning to buy this book for ages but I somehow never manage to do so. It's sad.

    But your review has put it back in the map! :)

  3. Sounds excellent. Putting it on my tbr list now. Great review.

  4. The writing sounds simply stunning! I'm definitely looking for this on my next trip to the library,

    Wonderful review, Kelsey!

  5. I don't often comment, but I wanted to tell you that I read every single post and have added several titles to my reading list because of you. I was shocked to learn you are a teen! I thought you were an adult, your reviews are so well written. Kudos! I hope when my first novel comes out in the spring you might consider reading it. I'd be honored if you did.

  6. Wow! That sounds so good! I can't wait to read it! Fantastic review!

  7. Wow. That does sound like one hell of a read. Something about cults both intrigue me and horrify me, and hearing that Carol tells Kyra's story with brutal honesty definitely makes me want to read The Chosen One, like, right now!

    Thanks for the rec!!!



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