"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, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever."
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
- Release date: May 12, 2009
- Page count: 213
- Unique elements: suspense, convincing narrative
- Would appeal to: fans of The Other Side of the Island, religious wonderers
"On the temple, right over the tall double doors is one large stone eye. It's hand-carved and big as a car...That eye sees us all the time."
"He's so warm that the front of me feels sort of calmed down, pressed like I am to Joshua. At last the words have thawed."
"Why are we here? How did we get here? How do we get out of here? What have our father and mother done to us?"
"Sometimes I even dream in Mozart or Beethoven scores. In the dreams, people speak out black musical notes, not words."
On the heels of watching "Sister Wives" on TLC, I picked this up in the library and was instantly intrigued with the blurb (see my related post on polygamy). I cannot begin to imagine being forced to marry a man at 14, much less your uncle in his sixties who's strict and possibly abusive. Carol Lynch Williams puts the reader in the place, in the compound, and I felt so connected to protagonist Kyra's feelings and dreams. She does fall in love with a boy a little older than her named Joshua. They make the perfect couple, but the apostles of the Chosen Ones don't care about the women's wants or what is morally right. Prophet Childs always has the last say. And Kyra's three mothers aren't arguing. Her father tries to stand up for her, but people who stand up to the prophet often regret that they did.
Kyra hasn't been able to touch a book in such a long time, and one of her favorite things is secretly checking out books from a bookmobile that stops at her tree off the compound. I love this aspect of the story, since books are the ultimate escape!
The story was full of suspense and emotion all the way to the last few pages. I cried at least once. It's a great book to make you think beyond your own life and to those who have no choices. After reading, I looked up several websites that talked about kids trying to escape such compouds, some stories succesful, and others not.
Some of my favorite reviews of this book:
"Unsettling and courageous...beautiful, compassionate, and full of hope." - Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl)
"A powerful and heartfelt novel of love and hope. A poignant journey as (Kyra) struggles to find herself and, ultimately, the truth." - Meg Cabot