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The Chosen One    by Carol Lynch Williams order for
Chosen One
by Carol Lynch Williams
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Thirteen-year-old Kyra Leigh Carlson lives in a desert compound run by a polygamous cult. Kyra's family of three mothers, one father, nine sisters and ten brothers is housed in a circle of trailers. The Prophet (their religious leader) and his Apostles live in nice houses nearer the Temple.

Kyra's days are spent taking care of her younger siblings, doing chores, praying, and playing the piano at the Temple. She also secretly reads books checked out from the Ironton County Bookmobile during walks on the nearby the county road. There are no books in the compound. The Prophet pronounced them sinful and collected and burned them years ago.

The story begins on the day the Prophet visits Kyra's family. The Carlsons have hope that their father will be chosen as an Apostle, but the Prophet has other news and it involves Kyra. His prayers have revealed to him that Kyra is to marry Apostle Hyrum Carlson.

Kyra and her family are horrified. Sixty-year-old Hyrum Carlson is Kyra's uncle and she would be his seventh wife. The family quickly accepts her fate, but Kyra cannot. If she refuses to wed, she'll be beaten until she agrees. If she runs away she'll lose her family forever. The decision to run to a world she knows only from books is hard for Kyra, but she doesn't realize how much it will cost others who try to help her.

Interweaving the past with the present, Kyra tells a riveting story of a brutal lifestyle where young girls are forced into polygamous marriages to older men. Opposition can mean beating or death in the surrounding desert. Kyra's story is one you won't soon forget.

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