Target Audience: Young Adults/Adults
It doesn't matter how i write this review i am never going to do this book justice. Thats a bad thing on one way because i won't get my point across, but on the plus side, it's simply so brilliantly written i can't express how amazing it is.
Of all the hard-hitting books I've read in my lifetime this one is one of those that hit the hardest. It tackles so many different issues and taboo topics including child abuse, polygamy and murder among many other.
That's not to say though that this is a depressing and morbid story because it isn't and there are many hopeful and uplifting moments.
In brief, the story focuses on Kyra, a 13-year-old girl with three mothers, one father and countless brothers and sisters who live in a compound with the other members of there cult religion. Life is strict there. They aren't allowed to read any other books but the Bible, the women marry who there told to and they aren't even allowed to flirt (i mean how nutty is that???)
Kyra herself is quite the rebellious teen and is certain there is more for her than an arranged marriage. She's even started getting books from the mobile library which she reads in secret.
Her life becomes all the more complicated when the Prophet tells her that she has been chosen to be the seventh wife of her uncle Hyrum who is 60-years-old.
Disgusted by this turn of events, Kyra desperately tries to find a way to escape and to be with the boy she does love, whom she wants to choose for herself.
The story plunges straight in and doesn't do any long winded introductions or explanations. Kyra's world is very normal to her. She loves her brother, sisters and her mothers and father despite that fact she seems to sense that there most be more in the outside world and she copes really well despite her situation.
I was really surprised by how most of the families in the compound were like. A lot of them were really nice and loved one another deeply, it was those in higher positions that were manipulating everyone and controlling them, which i found really really sad.
It was almost like the prophet and apostles get some sort of kick from controlling people and taking away happiness from other people.
With regards to Prophet Childs and Uncle Hyrum, i have to say, those two are the most repulsive and evil men in the history of fiction. Hyrum seems to collect wives like stamps and the Prophet just likes to be in charge and ruin peoples lives, simply for his own gain; an evil evil evil man.
The irony being that why he's being so evil he's preaching about heaven and how they have to do what he says in order to get there, this book made me so angry for that reason.
I mean who tells an innocent girl that if she doesn't marry a 60-year-old man then she will burn in hell. And people wonder why the world can have such a bleak view on religion? This is exactly why which is a shame because religion can be a beautiful thing when treated carefully.
I had massive respect for Kyra because despite her fear for herself and her family she still struggles against the rigid rules that are against her and if i'm honest she was a lot braver in her situation than i would have been if it had been me. What makes her such an amazing person wasn't just her willingness to take risks but also that she was willing to make herself miserable if she had to in order to save someone.
Her relationship with Josh was refreshingly innocent and new, especially against the backdrop of arranged and unwanted marriages and was also a welcome breath of fresh air among the more depressing sadness of the novel. I couldn't believe some of the cruelty that went on, and sometimes against innocent babies. I was furious at the end of one part in particular.
Her friendship with Patrick was another stand out for me, and i loved the fact that he was able to open new worlds for her when she was otherwise trapped. The support from her mothers and her siblings was profound as well, but in honesty, i think it was Patrick that gave her most of her courage.
The ending is very bittersweet and left me feeling slightly sad but with a sense of hope for the first time since the novel started, both for Kyra and everyone else in the compound and it really highlighted how much some people lose in order to get what they want and also what you'd be willing to give up in order to gain the thing most people would take for granted: Freedom.
A stunning novel for teens and adults alike, full marks from me!