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abookaweek 2012: week thirty-four

2012 August 26

(I’ll be reviewing 4 YA books in 2 weeks, bear with me.)

The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams

Category: Young adult

Story: Kyra and her family (dad, three moms, 21 siblings and more on the way) live in a polygamist Christian cult. They’re all fairly happy, or at least coping, until it is announced that Kyra has been chosen to become the seventh wife to her 60-year old uncle.

Opinion: Let’s start with my main gripe with this book: it’s way too short. I mean that both in a good way (i.e. I enjoyed the story so I would have liked to be able to enjoy it for longer) but mainly in a bad way. I’ve read and watched my fair share of stories about crazy religious groups in the US, and I know there’s a lot to say about them. That’s especially true for fictional books, which allow the author to delve into the history and psychology of these groups. Unfortunately that just didn’t happen here; the plot feels a bit rushed, as if Williams was going for a cheap thrill.

Whether or not that was her intention, it did work. I tore through this book in a few hours because I was so curious about this girl’s story. It’s a good, if not satisfying read.


When You Were Mine, by Rebecca Serle

Category: Young adult

Story: A modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist! It is told from the perspective of Rosalie, the girl Romeo was with before he met Juliet.

Opinion: We all know how Romeo and Juliet ends, so the strength of a retelling like this should lie in the plot and the characters; the plot needs to have some meat to it if it’s going to distract us from the story we already know and the characters need to be compelling if we’re going to care about them.

This book accomplishes neither. In fact, it is by far the worst book I’ve read this year. The characters were two-dimensional and obnoxious to boot, the only part of the story that actually roused my interest (the Montague and Capulet families’ history) was skipped over, so the book is basically just a sob-fest.

Disclaimer: I did get so emotionally involved that I cried on the tram, but that doesn’t redeem this waste of time.

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