The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams captivated me from the moment I started listening to it. For one thing, the topic — that of a fundamentalist polygamist religious cult — is curious and interesting. But I think that what made this story ring true was the grace and delicacy with which the author handled this topic. Yes — they are different — odd, and most-certainly off-track, but the story reinforces our similarities in the midst of our very-apparent differences. Regardless of what kind of community we live in parents want to nurture and protect our children, and teenagers struggle with obedience and rebellion, and ultimately they have to learn to make their own decisions.
Yes, Kyra’s decision which fuels her rebellion and questioning of her parents’ values is different from ours. Kyra has been told that she has been chosen (for marriage) as a sixth wife to her father’s brother. He’s her uncle, and he’s over 60. Kyra won’t do it, and because of the extreme circumstances (Kyra’s youth, being not-quite 14, and the fact that it’s a close relative), her parents don’t think that she should have to do it either.
The story unfolds beautifully, showing just how similar and how very different Kyra is from other teens. We don’t know until the very end what choice Kyra will make or how she will make it.
The second reason that I loved it is simple: the writing was beautiful. I think that juvenile literature affords the writer some poetic license that authors of adult fiction are sometimes afraid to employ. For example:
“Mmmm,” I say, breathing deep and closing my eyes. It smells so good to be by myself here (page 6, about her secret place hidden under a tree).
I hide near their chicken coop, the smells so thick I could have hurled them at someone (page 29).
Okay, so there’s lots of smelling (and lots of hiding as it seems), but it’s descriptive, don’t you agree?
A third reason that I especially enjoyed this book was that the audio performance as read by Jenna Lamia was really excellent. For me the audiobook is a completely different genre and offers the best of both worlds in a media experience — the beauty of an unadulterated book, and yet the fine production of a great play or movie.
This is a great story that is sure to appeal to tweens and teens, but honestly, it’s a story that adult readers will enjoy as well. If you have tweens and teens in your house*, the audiobook would be a perfect way to while away a few hours on a roadtrip, or to enjoy as a family in the evenings as an alternative to the boob tube. Audiobooks can be pricey, but Amazon has partnered with audible in some way and now offers great prices on the download.
Especially if you have some road trips in your future, now might be a great time to try out a few months of an audible.com membership as well. The Chosen One is available there as well, and you could get it as your first download.
Read all sorts of praise for The Chosen One, download a discussion guide, or listen to an excerpt of the excellent audio narration by Jenna Lamia at Macmillan.com.
*Content — I wasn’t sure what she’d think, but I decided to let my 5th grader Amanda listen to it as well. Before she listened, we talked about cults and misplaced religious faith. I was worried about that topic until I thought of the type of content she had tackled in books this year such as Uglies and the Hunger Games. There is a fair amount of yearning and burning (in fact, Amanda says that there’s lots of yearning), within the context of Kyra’s unrequieted love interest. You can make your own decisions about the appropriateness of it for your children, but it seems to be working for Amanda.
If you’d like to win this audiobook from MacMillian Audio, leave a comment here. We have three copies of the CDs that can be sent to any U.S. or Canadian shipping address.
Click on the banner above to enter our other Summer Fun Giveaways. All winners will be announced on June 11.
Rachel Newman says
Why are backs so beautiful? Thanks for the giveaway!
Sylvia Belle says
I listen to audio books always on a trip and often when driving around town.
Sandi Smith says
Coming from Idaho and a Mormon background, I have always been fascinated by the subject matter of this audio book. I would love to win this.
michele anne says
I listen to audiobooks all the time…. am alwauys looking for another good one.
beth shepherd says
Thank you for the chance
Daniel M says
i need more audiobooks for in the car, only have one and have heard it 3 times now
Aieee! I would LOVE to win one of these. I like to listen to audio CDs while cleaning the house – otherwise, I put it off forever. *sheepish*
This sounds like something I would be very interested in. 🙂
Please include me in your giveaway.
Daniel M says
been wanting more audiobooks for car trips
Thanx for the contest
christopher h says
sounds very interesting
emily L says
Melissa D says
I have a long commute and a deep appreciation for a good audio book! Thanks!
audio books are my favorite!
I would love to have an audio book for my car trips. Sounds very interesting.
Sounds interesting. I think my 12 year old would find food for thought as well as a good story line.
Cynthia Plaza-Harney says
I would love to win this audiobook and thank you for the chance.
Ken Robinson says
Nice summer listening. Please accept my entry. Thank you.
Suzy Levin says
Would love to win this audiobook! Sounds like a good story! Thanks for offering it!
quzy (at) mac (dot) com
Christine Walker says
I would love to listen to this!
Erma H says
I would love to win the book.
Perfect for vacation trips. ARranged marriages are always tragic, aren’t they?
Sharon A says
There is nothing like a good audio book.
Pamela S says
My daughter is a bit older so this sounds perfect for her. A great way to keep her busy and from whining while traveling in the car. thanks.
Brenda Park says
I love audiobooks for the long road trip we take every summer. Thanks for the chance to win this!
We love audiobooks!
I could listen to this easily in my car. Thanks!
Leah J says
I LOVE audio books! They allow me to keep busy AND entertained (@ the same time!!) when at home!
Ed Nemmers says
Jay F. says
Love audiobooks, and this one sounds interesting.
Thanks for the chance to win!
Thanks for the giveaway!
This sounds like a story I would like to read/hear. Im already anxious to find out what decision Kyra makes!
Fun to listen on long trips.
Steve M. says
I feel I have been chosen to win this.
Robin Wilson says
I listen to books on my commute everyday! Would love to listen to this one….
Perfect for summer strolls and while working in the garden.
Veronica Garrett says
I would love to win this audio book. It sounds great.
R Hicks says
Heard this was a good book. Now I can listen to it going to work!
kathy pease says
Thanks for the GREAT giveaway
please count me in 🙂
dorothy l says
I would love to win this book
Brittany Rebello says
I want to win
Lily Kwan says
Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!
L Knott says
This looks like a great Summer Read!! I do love the audio books. Thanks for the chance to win one!!