Reviewed by Andrea Sisco
Thirteen-year-old Kyra Leigh Carlson resides in a polygamist community. Kyra has a father, three mothers and nineteen siblings. She grew up, never questioning her lifestyle. But a” perfect storm” of a budding maturity, love for a young boy and the discovery of the power of words (books are not allowed in the community) gave her a glimpse of possibilities.
Kyra meets Patrick who runs the Mobile Library on Wheels while out for a walk. She breaks community rules by sneaking to the library every week and checking out books that she hides in her favorite tree.
Joshua also lives on the compound and he and Kyra are attracted to each other. Kyra gives him piano lessons and they secretly meet late at night. It would be their choice–if they had a choice–to marry each other.
But Prophet Childs has other plans for Kyra. He’s had a message from God that she must become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle. Kyra will be a bride before she is fourteen if she submits to the Prophet’s will.
The Chosen One haunts me days after I finished reading it. The violence and depravity in the name of God is sickening. The author peers into the cult of polygamy and visits many of the things that are bad about the life: physical abuse; incest; slavery (as I think of the lifestyle) where a woman exists only for the pleasure of men; murder; and fear and intimidation. A few decide what is best for the whole. Those few have a luxurious lifestyle and the rest barely survive. Obedience is everything, no matter how evil.
The Chosen One is a page turner and must read for adults and teens. Long after the last page has been turned, the reader will contemplate life in a polygamist community. If you’re a woman, it’s a life of servitude and despair. If you’re a young man, you have a good chance of becoming a Lost Boy and kicked out of the community so the old men can have the young girls.
Armchair Interviews says: A book from the pages of real life for many people.