Monday, August 2, 2010

Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Unity isn't like other places. Celeste has lived her whole life in Unity's Movement and she knows what to expect; now that she's nearly 15, soon she'll be married off to an older man and join her sister-wives, she'll be expected to have a number of children and submit to her husband, she'll be expected to leave her old life and her parents and siblings behind. Taviana didn't grow up in Unity. She lived a wild secular life until one of the men found her and brought her to Unity, where she's been experiencing safety and security for the first time. When Celeste starts questioning her future and her father, though, Taviana is blamed for filling her head with ideas of the outside world. Things are starting crumble, and no one knows who will be left standing when it all ends.

When I picked up this book, I was expecting it to have a Jodi Picoult-type of vibe (maybe it was the book cover). It's wasn't like that, though, really. By focusing on teens (Celeste, her sister Nanette, Taviana) the book is able to tap in to the rebelliousness and uncertainty of other YA books while adding the element of religious sects and polygamy. Some parts of the book were infuriating (Celeste's mother - one of her father's five wives - is having a hard time with her 8th pregnancy, and all of the medical decisions are left up to her husband), some sad (Nanette is basically a tween but wants to be married to a man as old as her father). The book had a nice readability to it that kept the story moving. The ending seemed kind of quick and neat, but it hinted at the complications that would likely continue for the characters' lives.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Dancing Naked by Shelley Hrdlitschka
Keep Sweet by Michele Greene
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Road to Bliss by Joan Clark
Faith Wish by James W. Bennett

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