I was very excited to get an ARC of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams to review. I stayed up late last night reading and tried to finish it while I was exercising this morning before finally giving in and lounging on the couch for a few minutes so I could pay attention to what I was reading. Kyra is growing up in a polygamous religious sect. Life seems to move smoothly for Kyra - playing with her many brothers and sisters, and helping out her mothers. Her father is also a loving man, not stern and strict like some of the other men on the compound. While there have been different instances in the past of people leaving the compound, and one young woman was stoned to death, Kyra doesn't really think about these things much. This all changes when Kyra is chosen to marry her own uncle, her father's brother, who is at least sixty years old. Kyra will be his seventh wife. Suddenly Kyra cannot fathom living out her years in this way. While Uncle Hyrum has forbidden many things, including reading books, Kyra has been sneaking away to meet the Bookmobile when it makes it's way by their compound. She is able to learn about how people outside their compound live. She has also taken an interest in a young man, Joshua, who reciprocates her feelings. What will happen to them both if anyone finds out?
Williams' book may be the first real look some young adult readers get of polygamy and fundamentalist religion. While this is only one perspective, I also thought it reminded me a great deal of Escape by Carolyn Jessop, who had been married off at a young age, in a situation very similar to Kyra's. Jessop also chose to escape, although she had many children to take with her when she did. This book was very interesting, grabbing my attention from the beginning, and I predict teen readers will be equally as engrossed.