The Chosen One

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has been raised in a sheltered polygamist society.  Her father has three wives, and she has twenty siblings.  Though she questions things, she tries to live within the rules of the society.  But she does break two very important rules.  First, she reads books from the local Library on Wheels that stops on a neighboring road, far enough away for her not to be seen.  Second, she has fallen in love with Joshua, a boy about her age.  But at a very important meeting of her family, the leader of the society declares that God has said she must marry her uncle instead of Joshua.  Kyra is repulsed and frightened by the very thought of marrying her sixty-year-old uncle.  But there is no easy solution to her predicament, even if she is courageous enough to stand up to the community.

Grippingly written, this book races along with the reader breathlessly hanging on.  Kyra is a compelling character who has chosen books over obedience.  Williams does an admirable job of creating a loving home life and family for Kyra, balancing the violence of the leaders of the community.  It creates a great tension in the book and allows readers to better relate to Kyra and her impossible decision.

Though the book is written for quick devouring, Williams’ writing is lovely.  She uses images and other senses to really create a world for her readers.  One of my favorite lines comes early in the novel:

I wait until all the lights have switched off.  I hide near the chicken coop, the smells so thick I could have hurled them at someone.

Delightfully crisp yet wonderfully evocative writing.

This book comes directly from the headlines.  It is also very well crafted, so expect demand and lots of word of mouth praise for it.  This belongs in every teen library collection.  Appropriate for 12-15 year olds.

Cat in the Hat on PBS

The Cat in the Hat is getting his very own show on PBS Kids!  Actor Martin Short will be voicing the main character in the half-hour show.  The show is planned to begin in fall of 2010.  I look forward to seeing the series because Dr. Seuss seems to translate very well into animation. 

Random House will be publishing a line of original books to go along with the show.

A Little Princess Sequel

I read that line and my stomach dropped.  A sequel to A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett!  Say it ain’t so.

Then my eye caught the name of the author who is writing it: Hilary McKay.  I love McKay’s writing style, her artistic nature, the poise of her books.  And I can see her doing this very well. 

So now it is with mixed feelings that I will approach this book: Wishing for Tomorrow.  The book follows the girls who are left behind at the school, which should make for a wonderful story.  It’s just too bad that Tasha Tudor won’t be able to do the illustrations.

Let’s hope that McKay does Sara Crewe and the Casson family proud.