Alva Jane has never questioned her parents, never questioned her faith, never questioned her future. She is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-eight siblings. This is the only world Alva has ever known, and she has never thought to challenge it.
But everything changes when Alva is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss. Beaten, scorned, and now facing a forced marriage to a violent, fifty-year old man, Alva suddenly realizes how much she has to lose--and how impossible it will be to escape.
I found this young adult novel about life in a polygamist cult to be an incredibly compelling read. Alva Jane is the oldest daughter of a favored wife, and has enjoyed her childhood on the compound, oblivious to the darker tones that underpin her life. She is looking foward to marrying a young man in her community until one innocent stolen kiss shatters all their dreams. Married off to a violent abusive older husband, Alva Jane is forced to take a new look at her life and the lives of those around her.
Alva Jane reads as a complete and believable character with a strong narrative voice. I read this book through in one sitting, unable to walk away from Alva Jane and her suffering. An excellent novel, this book does deal realistically with the darkness of child marriage and so includes sex scenes that may be disturbing to some readers. A highly recommend read.