Before and after reading this book, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews, calling this book inappropriate for Young Adult. First off, I want to point out that the author does not get to pick where her book is marketed to, that is up to the publisher, so do not get mad at Lauren. Second of all. though there are some mature content, it never goes into graphic details. If you're 13 and over, I'm sure you've seen worse at school. (Also if you think this book is inappropriate for YA, you haven't read many YA!)
Of course, I always encourage parents to read books first if you are unsure if your child should read them. I personally think we don't give younger people enough credit.
Now onto the review. I did like this book. I liked it quite a bit, but I could not put myself in the main character's shoes, so that might have took some of my enjoyment away. I felt like the plot was unique at the time of reading it; I had not read many books similar to that. I felt like the writing style pretty great. It flowed well. I was able to read the book fast and without any trouble.
I've noticed some authors dumb down a lot of things, especially in YA (and middle grade) I felt like there was none of that in this book. I think it is clear Lauren most likely wrote this for herself because it was a story she needed to get out of her head.
There was a character that was too young to be a wife, but in this world girls got no choice in the matter if they were of child barring age, and at 13 Cecily sadly could have children. It is hard to read about a child bride. I know that it was more normal a long time ago, and in some countries and religions, there are still child brides.
That all being said, I would not call the husband in this story a pedophile; it is just the world he finds himself in. He did seem like a decent person, despite everything. He really did seem to love his former wife and seemed like he was growing fond of some of his new wives.
I have nothing against polygamy when everyone is of a consensual age. It doesn't hurt me if you want to be in love and married to a bunch of people! The more power to you.
It was just hard to read about it in a setting like this, where the girls are forced and most at such a young age.