The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams - Book Review

Who am I to define normal? In The Chosen One, protagonist Kyra grows up in the love of a large family. Her siblings are many and close in age. Her parents are not divorced and fighting over custody or child support. She has a humble, but comfortable, home. She has a much more stable and loving environment than many students who will read The Chosen One.

Is it wrong that Kyra has so many siblings? Is it wrong that she has three mothers? Is it wrong that her parents want to protect her from the ever-growing openly sexual and violent world? Does the ‘wrong’ start when she is chosen to marry her sixty-year-old uncle? Can there be any ‘right’ in a place where woman are made especially by God to be a man’s obeying plaything? Where, exactly, does the wrong start? I cannot stop the lingering questions much as I couldn’t stop reading The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams.

From the moment I read the opening line, I was enthralled. Williams's writing is tight, well edited and plotted to near perfection. Her economy of words boosts the climactic pace. The undertone of sexual abuse/child abuse is ever present, yet not overblown for dramatic effect. There were a few faults in the telling (easily contrived romance, unnecessary death of a supporting cast member, an ending that falls a bit too quickly), but The Chosen One is certainly a novel offering enumerable chances for discussion and dissection in any secondary classroom. Themes of personal freedom, sexism, societal norms, religion/cultism and overcoming adversity… are but a few jumping off points.

Recommended for all secondary libraries and classroom use for students enjoying deep themes and suspense-styled stories.

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Genre: Realistic Fiction with a mystery edge. Age: Young Adult. Pages: 224.

Themes: Freedom, Sexism, Societal Norms, Courage, Strength of Character
Advisory: References to incest and pedophilia may require parental permission. Thank you to The Picnic Basket. Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin. Date: May 2009. ISBN-10: 0312555113 / ISBN-13: 978-0312555115

Buy The Chosen One Here

For both print and audio excerpts, a discussion guide, and author info. on The Chosen One, stop by the Macmillan site: HERE.

An in-depth interview at Cynsations. and at The New York Times book blog, Paper Cuts.

Carol Lynch Williams has seven children who must certainly keep her very busy. However, she still finds the time to win awards and develop writing conferences for Brigham Young University. You can read more about her here and here..

© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for

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