Saturday, May 9, 2009

REVIEW: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

This is one of those books that I finish and wonder how I am going to review it. The book was a relatively easy and breezy read, as far as the writing style and the length of the book. The subject matter was quite heavy, however, and parts of it were very disturbing.

I am also disturbed by the book's depiction of these people, who are quite evidently an LDS-type sect, and how accepting they are of things like murder and child abuse. I'm concerned with readers seeing an LDS-sect on TV and remembering the stories in this book, and having a negative bias towards the people under the assumption that these stories are based on truth. I don't know whether there was any real basis for some of the twists in the storyline of this book, but I do tend to stop and question things. I worry that teens, who this book is geared towards, may not approach it with the same skepticism.

That being said, the author did a good job at making the characters believable, and in making me care about Kyra. I felt her pain, and the pain of her family who loved her, but wanted to be good and faithful servants to their God and the prophet that guided them. I cheered on her rebelliousness and the surety of who she was and what she wanted. However I also felt despondency at the sect members' compliant natures that would stand by and allow their own children to be abused, and would defend the punishment and abuse of "disobedient" members, even the murder of innocents.

And I'm left frustrated with the ending of the book. Where's my happy ending? Doesn't the author know that all stories are supposed to have a happy ending with all the loose ends tied up in a pretty bow? (Are you listening Stephen King, who left me with a dead child at the end of Cujo? I read that book a good 25 years ago, and I've still never forgiven you for that one!) This book left me with so many questions, and a lot of frustration.

All in all, The Chosen One was a well-written book, but full of disturbing subject matter, and leaving me feeling emotionally heavy. I'm hesitant to recommend it for its target group (teens), but think that it is worth a read by emotionally stable individuals who will approach it with a skeptical and realistic eye.

The Chosen One is set to release May 12th.

My thanks to J. Kaye's Book Blog for passing this ARC onto me!

Product Details

* Reading level: Young Adult
* Hardcover: 224 pages
* Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 0312555113
* ISBN-13: 978-0312555115

My Rating: 7 of 10


Staci said...

Great review and I have this book on my pile to read. I'm anxious to get to it now.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Sounds like a good book. I took a look around the YA section at my library and was surprised to see how many books featured heavy themes. On the one hand I was ad to see all of these topics, but at the same time glad that there was a place that teens could read about some of the issues that they are encountering.