Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Chosen One” as Want to Read:
The Chosen One
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Chosen One

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  14,866 ratings  ·  2,322 reviews
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. That is, without questioning it much - if you don't count her visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her secret meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for her ...more
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published May 8th 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Chosen One, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sarah Ward You can't order books on this website. Try Amazon. :)…moreYou can't order books on this website. Try Amazon. :)(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,866 ratings  ·  2,322 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Chosen One
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cara by: Tori
Kyra's story is... haunting . This little book had so much to offer.

Kyra loves her family. She loves her father, 3 mothers, and 19 siblings. Our protagonist is use to her way of life, but she has some secrets. Good juicy ones if you ask me. There is a bookmobile that comes by every Wednesday, and against what the sect leaders say she goes read those "horrible immoral" books. As a reader this made me smile. Books can really change your life. The next secret is probably even worse. She is in love
Emily May
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I could not put this book down. I got it on a random whim when I was browsing Amazon and it was one of the best books I have read in a long time. But it's sad and shocking... you really feel afraid for Kyra and you're just desperately begging her to get away, to escape with Patrick in his library on wheels.

Basically, Kyra is a 13 year old in a place where the leader (called the Prophet) chooses who you marry. It is a very different novel and explores religion and culture and especially the way i
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Literary Fiction, those interested in the subject matter.
"Think of it," I said to Laura when I turned twelve. "I'm almost Mother Sarah's age when she was married."

Carol Lynch Williams- "The Chosen One"

Old Review edited.

4.5 stars for an amazing and very dark book.

As you may realize if you read the description this book is about Polygamy. Our main character is a child who is lively, vivacious and loves to read. She has her whole life before her..until "The Prophet" chooses to marry her off to her cruel elderly uncle. She does not want to marry him but h
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Matt by: Mariah Roze
Shelves: buddy-read, audiobook
Carol Lynch Williams touches on a topic about which I have read a great deal over the past few months; a young woman trapped in a religious organisation. Writing this novella seemingly geared for the young adult population, Williams turns the focus onto a polygamous community and the plural wives mentality that turns innocent teenage girls into matrimonial dolls for the elders. Kyra Leigh Carlson is thirteen and has lived her entire life in a strict religious community, enveloped by the polygami ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it

”I am not me anymore.
I go to sleep knowing that.
I am not me. Any. More.”

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams is a thought provoking read that hit my heart hard. Hot, angry tears mixed right in with my cries of “no, no, NO!” A disturbing story filled with pain and ugliness, but strength and hope as well. Faith holds the power to inspire and devastate.

Readers are introduced to 13 year old Kyra, her family, and way of life in an isolated Polygamist community. A life filled with the weight and war
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s something of an understatement to say that this book was captivating – it’s almost too gentle or whimsical a word to describe the way I was completely gripped from the first page. And that’s not just a bit of zealous-reviewer hyperbole on my part. Whether I was actively reading The Chosen One or passing time until I could pick it up again (also known as “working”) it occupied my mind. Possessed my thoughts. Demanded my attention.

I don’t approach books that deal with complex subjects (in th
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Chosen One is a heartbreaking, definitely disturbing account of one girl's isolated life in a polygamist community. Kyra is thirteen-years-old but has already witnessed terrible acts of violence: babies being tortured, gunshots going off in the dead of night, and women being murdered for no comprehensible reason. At her age she is slowly understanding what this all means - no one is safe, and she must always accept what the Prophet tells her to do. However, Kyra's resolve to follow the Proph ...more
Jun 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in polygamy
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
Shelves: ya, 2009
I have always been fascinated by the world of polygamy, not the Muslim type, but the type that stems from innately American religion - Mormonism. "The Chosen One" is the first YA book I came across that was dedicated to this subject.

The book narrates a story of Kyra, a 13-year old girl born and raised in a polygamist compound. Her family is huge, she has 3 mothers and over a dozen of siblings. Kyra's life is quite acceptable in spite of the tough fundamentalist rules that prohibit reading, danci
This one gets 5 stars from b/c:

once I started I couldn't put it down. Like, the plot just built masterfully, raising the stakes and keeping me invested and it didn't really give me a moment to breathe (in a good way)

I cried. Actually cried. Rare for me in a book. Okay, maybe I got on the verge of going all-out and bawling...

The prose was LOVELY. Really kind of sparingly written, but in such a way that the emotions and the ache was more intense. It's just GORGEOUSLY written and it really didn't s
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-read
funny how i was trying to finish this book on the way to the train station for the impromptu train ride my fam decided to take today, and wasn't able to, so i took it inside the train and finished it there, whereupon i gave it to me mum for safekeeping and she put it next to my dad's programming book, and when we ended up not taking the train after all, since it seemed highly unlikely it'd ever even run (PAKISTANI RAILWAYS URGHHHH) we got off a while later and my mom forgot to pick up both of th ...more
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews

Feels a bit wrong to say that I enjoyed this but hey ho, I did.

But it does feel unfinished and definitely needs some kind of epilogue.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was hard to read.
Kyra is thirteen and lives in a polygamist community with her father, her mother, his father's two other wives, and her 20 brothers and sisters.
One day, the Prophet of their community says he has had a vision and that Kyra must marry her own uncle, who is 60 years old and she will be his 7th wife.
Kyra is obviously desperate, she is only 13, and come on, ew!
I was drawn from the first pages, Kyra tells us her story and you can't help but feel so much towards this girl!
A very quick but very good read. Well worth the short amount of time it takes to read.

Emotional and heartbreaking, whilst simultaneously fascinating and captivating. I felt so invested in Kyra and her life, family and struggles.

Kyra is a 13 year old girl, and A Chosen One. She lives with her family - her father, her three mothers, and her 20 siblings - in a compound with the other Chosen Ones and the Prophet, obeying the Prophet's rules that have been passed down to him from God. But Kyra does
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for


That's the first word that came to mind as I turned the final page of THE CHOSEN ONE. I sat contemplating what I had just finished and had to process everything that Kyra had been through.

Meet Kyra Carlson. She is the second daughter to one of her father's three wives. She has been brought up in the Chosen One compound. Life wasn't always so strict. But when Prophet Childs takes over the lead, he takes tighter control. A fence is placed around the gro
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Waterboarding babies. Shit. I’m not a parent but in that moment I doubt a person could feel anything but a strong urge to protect and defend. Highly disturbing. I was reminded of Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures and the Stanford prison experiment, both very famous psychological studies about the pressures of conforming to a specific role, whether dominant or submissive and highlights the extraordinary strength it takes to break away from it. If the mother of that baby refus ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first came across The Chosen One in my local library in 2014. I was looking for my next audiobook and found it. The description on the audio case left me not expecting much:

Kyra is a member of the Chosen Ones, a polygamist group isolated from the rest of its community. Suffocating from the restrictions placed upon her, Kyra’s only form of rebellion is checking out library books and immersing herself within them up in her favorite tree.

The Chosen One exceeded my low expectations! It is so much
Aug 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who want to congratulate themselves for not being filthy plygs
I am deeply offended by this book, and frankly a little horrified by how well-received it is. The author claims to have done a lot of research, but all I see is someone who has watched Big Love and plumbed the depths of her own prejudice.

Murdering defective infants? Really? In the FLDS culture, "special" kids are considered too special to have come down from heaven completely, and are treasured. (It is true that other forms of handicap are looked down upon: blindness, paralysis, etc.)

Perhaps Wi
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
People will be tempted to compare this book to Shelley Hrdlitschka's Sister Wife, which came out just months before The Chosen One. The books share certain similarities: both are about a girl in her early teens who lives in an insular polygamist community and yearns for life on the "outside." In both cases, the girl is in love with a boy her own age, but is commanded to marry an older man.

Williams's book, however, is much darker than Hrdlitschka's. I think the focus is also different. Hrdlitschk
Apr 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This novel was nothing short of spectacular. This is a very intense topic and I was glad to see it represented in a young adult novel. I was enraged, disgusted, and saddened by this novel.

Told from Kyra’s point of view, this novel unfolds a story of desperation, love, fear, and freedom. Kyra’s internal struggle was masterfully depicted. I never once questioned her desire to stay. Why would you not? To leave your family and everything you have come to know. I only hope that I would posses that t
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult
A heart-breaking work of great beauty. Williams delves into the conflicted heart of a young girl, raised in a strict polygamous sect, who is trying to break free. She is bound to marry her 60-year-old uncle in a matter of weeks, something that she would rather die than do. But if she defies the church, what will the consequences be for her family? And if she leaves it all behind, will she ever see anyone she loves again?

Gripping from the first page, beautifully written, piercing.
”’We’re safe here,’ Father had said. ‘We’re away from everyone. Alone. Safe. Out here. Just us. Just The Chosen Ones.'”

What would you do if you couldn’t choose? Choose who you want to marry, or how many spouses your husband marries? How many children you want? What you can read, watch, and do? We seem to take it all for granted, and in this harrowing read, Carol Lynch Williams takes us into the world of Kyra Leigh Carlson, who has the ability to choose none of the above.

Thirteen-year-old Kyr
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Google polygamy. That's what this book is about. More specifically, it's from a 14 yeR old girl's perspective. Reading this was uncomfortable yet captivating. Things that were written actually have happened....and unfortunately, still happen.

Spoilers ahead:
That ice cube scene with the baby just about finished me off. I just can't stand reading such cruelty. The fact that the father was just going to stay put and let his daughter be married as a 7th wife to a not just a man, her freakin
Aria Love
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well upon reading the summary, I was intrigued.
I like learning about polygamist communities because they're so unique... and frightening.
However, this book started off promising, but by the end I was puzzled and very annoyed.
Here we have the main character Kyra, a kind and interesting main character who falls in love with someone she shouldn't love. We meet her family and siblings who are all charming.

Then we meet the enemy, the Prophet who insists that Kyra marries her cruel uncle who already
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Except for the cheesy title of this beautiful novel, I cannot think of anything that is wrong with this book. The writing flows very naturally and the story is really gripping. Kyra’s reactions to the developments in this story and the things she said felt very realistic to me, while it was super exciting still. I read it within only a few days without being bored or feeling detached. And I just love how she keeps on articulating every syllable of ‘Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels’. It em ...more
Colleen Houck
This is a very powerful story that will stay with me a long time. I was on the edge of my seat through the climactic ending. I loved that the heroine found her escape in books and I felt particularly empathetic towards her family. A compelling read!
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-challenge
Very quick and fast read for an adult. This book is marketed as YA and it absolutely is written to a lower YA reading level. I was not aware of that when I purchased it. I still read the book. It still had an interesting story just not greatly detailed or thought provoking for someone of my age and experience. However, I do think a young person without much "outside" worldly type of experience could learn about a topic foreign to them.

My one criticism is that this book almost feels like a huge s
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
The Chosen One is one of those stories that is heart-wrenching and feels like it could be a true story. It's not. However, Kyra's voice is so authentic and she carries this novel. She's youthful yet wise, but not in a way that feels like an adult interjecting themselves into a child protagonist For Kyra, growing up in polygamist compound she's had to grow up fast. At thirteen, she's spent most of her life raising her younger siblings and being given adult responsibilities.

Even though her father
Kerryn (RatherBeReading)
I said recently that the word 'cult' is a real buzz word for me, I am always excited to pick up books surrounding this topic and yet somehow I always ends up disappointed by them and, unfortunately, that was the case again here.

I, as always with these stories, loved the premise but found the execution to be somewhat lacking. The story was enjoyable but I found the writing to be very fragmented and the story kind of hard to connect with. (view spoiler)
This book was magnificent.
This book is guilty of keeping me up till four AM so I could reach the last page, which was tender and gripping and hopeful.
This book made me cry.
This book made me mad.
This book was a book- not a half-assed pile of words that somebody put together and stamped on the New York Times Best-Selling List.

This book
will make
you think.

This book
calls for
overly dramatic
like these.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Kyra has grown up in an isolated, polygamist cult where the Prophet has total control over everyone and everything. She is just 13-years-old when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her 60-year-old uncle, which causes her to question everything she has been taught.

I am a sucker for books about cults, and I read The Chosen One in one sitting. The author did a good job of shaping the world and writing believable characters, especially given how short this book is. There were a few things that
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • After
  • The Cresswell Plot
  • Agnes at the End of the World
  • Devoted
  • Sister Wife
  • Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement
  • The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
  • Strings Attached
  • The Crick Code: A Novel Based on the Memoirs of a Girl Raised in the FLDS Community of Colorado City
  • The Ballad of Ami Miles
  • Lessons from a Dead Girl
  • Vixen (Flappers, #1)
  • Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature
  • Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
  • Stronger Than You Know
  • Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America
  • Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis: Advice from Twentysomethings Who Have Been There and Survived
  • Gated (Gated, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than 30 books for middle grade and young adult readers. Her novels include The Chosen One, Never that Far, Messenger and Never Said. Her most recent book is the novelization of the movie Once I Was a Beehive. Carol has an MFA from Vermont College in Writing for Children and Young Adults and teaches creative writing at BYU. She runs Writing and Illustratin ...more

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
99 likes · 79 comments
“I'd never seen so many books. Never. The sight made my eyes water. I mean, tear right up.” 5 likes
“I'm my mother's first child, born when she was almost fourteen years old.

"Think of it," I said to Laura when I turned twelve. "I'm almost Mother Sarah's age when she was married."

Laura looked at me, her squinty eyes even more narrowed. "You could have your own old man as a husband," she said.

"Shut up," I had said.

And she had laughed.”
More quotes…