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Publisher's Note:

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.…

The Chosen One

by Carol Lynch Williams

Overall Book Review:

Thirteen-year-old Kyra knows she’s been sinning: she’s reading books from the bookmobile out on the highway; she’s secretly meeting sixteen-year-old Joshua in the Compound and kissing him; and worst of all, she’s imagining how she’ll kill the Prophet if she ever has a chance.

When the Prophet has a vision that Kyra’s to be the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, an Apostle, Kyra tries to find help from many different people: from Joshua, but he’s beaten and forced to leave the Compound; from her family, but if her father fights for her, he’ll be forced to leave, and his wives and children will be given to other men.

Patrick, the driver of the bookmobile, tries to help Kyra get away, but can’t. Finally it’s up to Kyra to get out.

The book has some shocking violence in it. It presents a horrifying picture of a culture that systematically abuses women and twists religion to support the abuse. Without being graphic, it talks about pregnancy and a bit about adultery, so I recommend it for mature reader; those who read it will find a book that ends in one girl’s triumph over a system that is determined to force her to obey.

The book offers parents and teens the opportunity to think about and discuss blind obedience, oppression, and abuse.

The book opens with Kyra planning how she’ll kill the Prophet. By page 24, Kyra learns of the Prophet’s revelation that’s she’s to marry her uncle. The book’s compelling not because of non-stop action but because of the horror of Kyra’s situation and of her inability to find help from her gentle, loving father, from Joshua, her secret boyfriend, or from her three mothers or her nineteen siblings. Kyra must find the strength to flee on her own.

Reading Level 2.7, range 1.3-4.9.

Also good for reluctant readers.

Of interest to girls.

This review has been acquired and adapted from

Content Analysis:

This review was acquired from on May 15, 2014 and was not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist.  Nevertheless, it contains useful content information which is included here.  The overall number ratings have been approximated based on this information.

15 h*ll—sometimes meaning the place, d*mn, derogatory name

Kyra fantasizes about killing the Prophet, imagines “dragging his body right next to a termite nest,” so termites will eat his body; says she’ll kill him for herself and all the women; handicapped baby killed; mother of crying baby forced to immerse baby in tub of ice water three times to “discipline” her, baby isn’t breathing when she’s taken out of water; boy forced to leave for wanting to marry a girl—shots fired; girl who wanted to marry young man forced to marry old man, cries, fights, screams at wedding, sheriff slaps her hard in face to silence her; girl killed for committing adultery, Kyra remembers gunshot; three women who fight over husband, beaten by “God Squad”; man forced to leave compound without his family when he complains because all five of his daughters are married to same man; Joshua beaten when he asks to marry Kyra; Prophet says women in Bible were stoned for doing what Kyra’s done with Joshua; uncle slaps her hard, when Joshua tries to intervene, he’s hit “so hard in the face blood splatters against the wall,” he falls to the ground; her uncle holds Kyra so she can’t get to Joshua, she kicks and twists, trying to get away; she falls to the floor, crawls to Joshua, grabs his hand, someone stamps on their hands; leaders threaten to harm Joshua if Kyra doesn’t marry her uncle; uncle beats her, her face bruised, one eye closed, lips split open; Kyra bruised all over, her “lips seep blood”; rumor that sheriff is forcing some boys to leave; children told that people in outside world “will kill [them] if [they] even dare to look in their direction”; Prophet claims that boys who ran away will “die in the desert”; tells children they “will be punished for breaking God’s commandments”; Kyra remembers girl who ran away, was beaten when she came back; Father acknowledges leaders “kill the unrighteous”; Father told to punish Kyra or lose his family and his place in heaven; car chase with cars slamming into side and back of bookmobile, quite graphic; bookmobile driver is kicked again and again, sheriff hits Kyra in mouth; Kyra believes driver has been murdered; God Squad parks bookmobile where they know Kyra will see it—as a threat to her that she’ll be killed too if she doesn’t do what they want; she expects God Squad to kill her too, sees bookmobile driver’s blood in van; God Squad threatens Kyra with gun.

Kyra’s mother is pregnant and sick; Kyra and Joshua’re so close, she can “feel his breath on [her] lips”; they kiss, Kyra feels “like Joshua sucked the breath from [her]”; Kyra and Joshua meet and kiss in dark stairwell, one time they kiss so much that her “lips felt bruised the next morning”; Kyra “kisses [Joshua’s] face all over,” another time kisses him repeatedly, her “body pressed as close to him as [she] can,” kisses his eyelids; mention of old men whose “eyes wander like hands over some of [the] unmarried girls”; mention of Kyra’s mother’s eight pregnancies, her being sick for six months with this pregnancy, having lost three babies and almost dying herself; mention that a girl who was forced to marry an old man then committed adultery—specifically uses the word intercourse—with young man she loved; Kyra says she doesn’t “want [her] uncle’s babies,” doesn’t “want him to touch” her; uncle shows her window of their “wedding room,” tells her he’s “gentle with the new ones,” tries to force Kyra to kiss him, tells her “fighting won’t do anything but make it harder”; Kyra wonders if Father forced himself on Mother “the first night he slept with her,” wonders if “she fought him”; Kyra can’t imagine kissing her uncle’s “greasy lips,” “letting his hands touch [her] body”; Kyra talks to Joshua about having to have three wives to get to heaven—kissing three women, having babies with them; Prophet tells Kyra that “adultery is lusting after someone you are not meant to be with,” calls Kyra “adulterous” for meeting Joshua and kissing him; Kyra’s mother goes into premature labor because of what happened to Kyra, the baby dies, mention of towels spattered with blood; mention that in a week, Kyra’ll be sharing her wedding bed with an old man; mention three times of girl wearing something that shows her bra, Kyra’s certain she’ll “never wear anything that shows [her] bra.”

Mature Subject Matter:

Polygamy, adultery, physical and emotional abuse, death, fantacism.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Kyra sees girl who’s smoking, sees her again.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

On May 15, 2014 Compass Book Ratings acquired Many reviews were acquired from and these reviews were not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist. Nevertheless, the reviews contain useful content information which is included.