December 17, 2020

One of the Good Ones

"She was mine before she was anyone else's. All mine. Partly mine. Now she belongs to you and them and shirts and rallies and songs and documentaries." ~ 1%

How many times have we heard he/she was one of the good ones? More than I can count. It seems to make bad news worse because it wasn't supposed to happen them, right? It also adds pressure as though someone is exempt from bad behavior ever. It sets a very high level of obedience and expectations. It also casts a dark light on one of the "bad" ones as if they were born to disappoint. So when I saw the title of this new novel, One of the Good Ones, I was more than interested in reading an advance copy.

The description says, "The Hate U Give meets Get Out." I totally disagree and don't see the similarities. Sister-writer duo, Maika and Maritza Moulite, come together again to explore prejudice in a new novel. Teen social activist and history buff, Kezi Smith, is killed after attending a social justice rally. Her sister, Happi, narrates through her grief, road trips with family and questions the idealized way her sister is remembered. 

Was she really one of the good ones? Why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed? Are those we lost automatically idealized and seen as the perfect angel? True points made by Maika and Maritza Moulite. 

"It's called narrative nonfiction." ~ 17%

Sometimes YA books do too much; One of the Good Ones is an example. I almost lost the overall message while going back and forth with alternating points of view (Kezi leading up to the day of arrest and Happi in the aftermath). I think it may be too confusing to follow for some young adults. 

Even I had to make lots of mental notes to chronicle the story for it to make sense. This took away from my actually enjoying it when I had to break out with sticky note tabs to create my own order of reading. Sorry I couldn't get into the person Kezi was and the person she shaped to be in her sister's memory. I appreciate the authors humanizing black people, just not in the writing style chosen. However, it may be a totally different experience for you so give it a try.

Happy Early Pub Day, Moulite sisters! One of the Good Ones will be available Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: One of the Good Ones
Author: Maika and Maritza Moulite
Published: January 2021
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤


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