Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Chosen One

I first heard about this book when I was at the UVU conference earlier this year. I had the opportunity to have my manuscript read and proofed by this woman named Carol Lynch Williams. I really didn't know much about her, but adored what she did with my manuscript, the manner in which she spoke during our session and her understanding of language. Then, a teacher I work with offered praise and Shannon Hale reviewed it on her blog with great enthusiasm so I picked it up, read the first sentence and was hooked.

This is the story about a girl who lives in a polygamist community but who starts the book talking about how she would kill the prophet. She refers to her mothers with normalcy, cares for the other children without complaint and lives her life as she should. Her problem? She checks out a book from a book mobile, develops a crush on a boy in town and even starts to flirt with him. Then comes news that brings her idea of the future crashing down around her and makes her think thoughts that are will condemn her.

This is a very powerful book. Williams has an impressive utilization of description and created a character who is so real and authentic in her community that I really did wonder if Williams herself had lived in this society (she didn't). Sometimes when people write about communities outside of their own, the opinions of the community as an outsider are subtlety incorporated into the text. This was not the case with this book. I was completely floored and did not want to put it down at all. Delightful, powerful, emotional book. It is completely appropriate for anyone who can understand this society - probably middle school and up. I highly recommend.

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