Thirteen-year-old Kyra and her family are part of an insular polygamist cult walled off from the outside world and guarded by its own police squad. When Prophet Childs, the head of their sect, informs Kyra and her family that he has received word from God that she should marry her 60-year-old uncle, she is horrified by the prospect and vows to resist.
An at times excrutiatingly suspenseful read, this thriller is particularly strong in both plotting and character development. Tension builds progressively in short chapters and readers are kept guessing right to the end. Kyra is an intensely sympathetic narrator and her confiding, first-person voice immediately wins readers over. Secondary characters, particularly those in Kyra’s family, are also well-drawn, allowing readers to see shades of gray in what at first would seem a very black and white situation.
Deeply troubling depictions of child abuse and the violent nature of the cult make for an unsettling read and while ultimately extremely powerful, there are some questions left unanswered in the novel’s conclusion that may frustrate some readers.
Overall: I liked it.
Favorite Elements: Characters, Plot
Recommended for grades 7 & 8
– Brooke, Teen Services Librarian, McArthur Library