The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Chosen OneThirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated polygamous community without questioning the fact 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 Kyra 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.

Maybe I read too many reviews saying The Chosen One was the best book of the year, or maybe I just set my expectations too high, but The Chosen One just didn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a well-written, fast-paced book, and it wonderful to see a male polygamist who is a good guy, a rarity in polygamy fiction. I really liked Kyra, especially her love of books, and her mothers, sisters, and plots to kill the prophet were quite imaginative.

“If I was going to kill the prophet,” I say, not even keeping my voice low, “I’d do it in Africa.” (pg. 1)

But it was just missing that spark, that thing that would have made it a great book. And maybe that’s because the ending felt too rushed or that life — on the compound and off — felt one-dimensional and stale. I don’t know. All I know is The Chosen One didn’t live up to what I thought it would be.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Williams, Carol Lynch. The Chosen One. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009. Print. 213 pgs. ISBN: 9780312555115. Source: Library.
Book Cover © St. Martin’s Griffin. Retrieved: June 6, 2009.


  1. Hi Christina,

    I didn’t work for me either. If you’re interested, I reviewed it at Black-Eyed Susan’s. I’m relieved that I was not the only one. Thanks for the review.


  2. I just read a review of this recently and was really intrigued, because the reviewer thought this book was the bee’s knees. I’m glad to have read a more balanced review because if I do get around to reading this at some point, I think it will be nice to have the right type of expectations for it. Too many times I’ve let my expectations get the best of me and have wound up underwhelmed by books.


  3. @ susan: Opps, sorry I missed your review. I’ve changed that now, but sometimes Google Reader misses a few when I do a search. I totally agree with your statement about the introduction of characters and about the chase seen. Somebody, probably Patrick’s Emily and Nathan, would realize Patrick was missing, and somebody would have killed Kyra, just like everyone else who disobeyed them.

    @ Steph: Don’t rush to read it. I made the librarians order it for me because I thought it was going to be the bee’s knees, too. But it just wasn’t.


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