icon-copyWelcome to Traveling To Teens first blog tour. 

We are just getting started this month so be patient.  There are likely to be bumps along the way until we find our groove.

Our featured author is
Carol Lynch Williams.

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CAROL LYNCH WILLIAMS, a four-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition and winner of Nebraska’s Golden Sower Award, grew up in Florida but now lives in Utah with her husband and seven children. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and helped develop the conference on Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers at Brigham Young University.

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THE CHOSEN ONE

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Griffin – May 12, 2009

SYNOPSIS:

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.

REVIEW:

Kyra has three mothers, one father, and twenty brothers and sisters.  She lives in a compound led by The Prophet, a man who is in “close communication with God.”  Over the years, the compound has become more and more closed off from the outside world.  With the fence that was built around the compound and the mass book burning, any freedom they had is dwindling away.

Kyra is the most headstrong out of all of her siblings.  She sometimes has a difficult time accepting the laws of the community.  Because of her headstrong ways, she keeps secrets.  Even though books aren’t allowed on the compound, she has found a way to read.  On one of her walks she discovers that a bookmobile passes the compound.  When the bookmobile driver stops, she gets up the nerve to get a library card and check out one book at a time.  She keeps it hidden in her favorite tree where she spends a lot of her time.

Reading isn’t the only secret Kyra keeps.  There is also Joshua – the boy she loves.  They sneak out at night to talk, to kiss, and to read.  She sees herself getting married to Joshua and starting a family, but she begins to question her feelings about husbands having multiple wives.  Could she stand sharing Joshua with another woman?

Kyra’s life begins to spiral out of control when her and her family get the word from The Prophet that she has been Chosen.  Chosen to be married.  Married to her sixty-year-old uncle.  Unable to believe this is possible, she runs and hides in her tree until it is dark enough to go to Joshua’s. 

From the minute Kyra discovers she is supposed to marry her uncle, her life is a living nightmare.  She gets a glimpse of what life will be like when her uncle comes over to discipline one of her siblings for embarrassing him in front of The Prophet.  As she goes through the wedding preparations like a zombie, she hopes somehow her father will talk The Prophet out of his decision.

Threats, beatings, banishments.  This is what life is like in the compound.  Kyra must decide if she can live this way or if she will take the risk and run away and leave her family forever.

This  novel is very powerful and disturbing.  The contrast between the family life Kyra is used to and the other families in the compound is interesting.  Where Kyra’s father is always loving and kind to his wives and children, the other men of the compound rule by fear and harsh discipline.  This is one of the main reasons Kyra is headstrong.

Something that would have made this novel even better though, is if the author would have given us more examples of what went on behind closed doors in the houses that weren’t as friendly as Kyra’s. 

THE CHOSEN is a book everyone should read, especially in light of recent news events concerning a situation much like Kyra’s.  THE CHOSEN is a page-turner.  Once you start, you won’t want to put it down until you see how it ends.  Your heart will go out to Kyra.  THE CHOSEN is one of those books that will leave you pondering for days.

Normally there will be some Q & A with the author, but with the time crunch we haven’t rec’d our answers yet.  I’ll post them when I get them.


The Chosen One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walker Publishing Company – September 2, 2008

Caleb Dunne is a slacker and proud of it.  Nothing much gets him riled up.  He isn’t exactly popular at school, but he is definitely known around campus.  The previous year, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and blamed for the destruction of the partially constructed gymnasium addition at school.  He was expelled because of his alleged involvement.  Truth is, he didn’t do anything, but no one believes him.  The only person that even talks to Caleb is his over-achieving, politically ambitious, sort of girlfriend Vicky.

When Vicky wants him to join a club based on the practices of a book called The Rule of Won he feels pressured to agree.  The Rule of Won states that people can have everything they’ve ever dreamed of as long as they want it bad enough and think positively about it.  Caleb has no interest in this club.  In fact, it just sounds like a lot of work to him, but in order to stay with Vicky, he feels like he has no choice.  Soon the group has a name and things begin to get serious.

The Cravers are led by Ethan – a very serious follower of The Rule of Won.  He guides the group by making suggestions as to what they should focus their positive thinking toward.  First they focus on getting more funding for the school, then they move on to the school’s poor performing basketball team.  From there, the Craves become more serious and Caleb begins to feel uncomfortable with the way things are going.  Caleb has to decide if he is going to sit around and do nothing like the slacker he’s always been or make a stand to make things right.

THE RULE OF WON is a novel that reminded me of LEAVING FISHERS by Margaret Peterson Haddix or THE WAVE by Todd Strasser.  It is a great example of peer pressure in action.  Even though the subject matter is serious, Caleb’s voice is entertaining. Only one aspect of the story didn’t seem to fit.  There is a supernatural element that didn’t need to be there for the story to work. All in all though, THE RULE OF WON is an entertaining story.

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The Rule of Won

Well, I took pictures of my reading environment.  So, let’s start with my book piles.  Here is my To-Be Reviewed pile.  I’m going to use the Weekly Geek #6 from last week as an excuse to catch up on my reviews.  See the previous post about that.

Here is a stack of my To-Be-Read pile.  I have many more stacks, but didn’t want to take that many pictures.

Here are the books piled next to my bed.  I always have several and I seem to keep adding them.  My current book is on top.  Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine.

This is my Reading Nook.  I love sitting on my love seat.  It is next to the front door that looks out into my front yard.

Here is a picture of some of my middle school kids that came to one of my Read-a-thons.  We read from 7 PM – 11PM and keep track of the number of pages we read.  I had 85 students show up this last go round.  I’ve done this for two years (twice a year) and can’t wait for next year.

Finally, here are a couple of the bookshelves in my house.

Check out this other blogger to see how their Weekly Geek #7 went. 

 

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, the fourth book in the spectacular Twilight series, is going to be available on August 2nd.  It is available for preorder from Amazon.  I’ve already purchased my copy.

This is the picture that is on Amazon.  Doesn’t she just look sassy?  I love it.

 

Sam’s life is pretty planned out.  He intends to go to University to study graphic design based on a teacher’s recommendation.  His mother has high hopes that he will attend University and have a successful life and not follow in her footsteps.  His main concern besides school is skating.  Sam doesn’t like the term skateboarding and feels like he has to constantly educate people on the proper way to refer to the sport.  His hero is Tony Hawk and he relies on him for advice in all aspects of his life via a poster he has on his wall.

Sam was born when his mother was sixteen and had to grow up seeing first hand what a challenge it was for his mother to put aside her future in order to raise him.  When Sam meets Alicia and their relationship begins to get physical they are sure to use protection except for one encounter.  This encounter ends up changing both Sam and Alicia’s life forever.

Sam’s quirky narration makes this a great book.  I listened to the audiobook and found it very enjoyable.   There is one part of the story that left me a little angry at Sam.  I was saying to myself, “What a jerk,” but he ended up being a really great guy.  I totally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys humor mixed with a little seriousness.