Saturday, January 16, 2016

One of Us by Jeannie Waudby Review

"When K narrowly survives a bomb attack, she agrees to go undercover to spy on the Brotherhood, the radical young group held responsible, and whom she’s determined to bring to justice. But whilst living among them, soon even enemies become real people. And when she falls in love, K discovers that some things are not black and white ...

What's right – and who's wrong? Someone's always to blame.

From debut author, Jeannie Waudby, comes a nail-biting contemporary drama set in a modern society divided by violence, prejudice and distrust. One of Us is a topical YA thriller about young love and religious intolerance - can one isolated girl learn to understand who she is and where she stands in such a world?"

Have you ever heard about terrorism? (Shush. There are some who were too young to remember 9/11.) Well, thanks to that event, there is this thing called Islamophobia. It's like arachnophobia, but instead of spiders people are afraid of, it's Muslims. And in this book, that fear is driven up to the extremes to the point that anyone who even looks like part of the Brotherhood will probably be lynched and/or at least, yelled at. 

There is K, our narrator. Just K. She barely survives a bomb attack at a train station, and a few people actually do indeed die from the explosion. Hatred courses through her blood and thoughts, and she wants to do something. Anything to fight against the Brotherhood. That is why she chooses to spy on them and support those who are not part of the Brotherhood. But like every spy, she begins to have doubts about the very people she suspects and wonders if they truly are responsible for the explosion and the deaths of innocents. She opens her eyes, and she realizes that things are not so clear and neat. 

And yes, the world is much more complicated. There is no right and wrong side (unless someone is actually killing someone). Not all members of the Brotherhood (read: Muslims) are killers and bombers and bomb makers, and not all people who are not part of the Brotherhood (read: people with Islamophobia) are so innocent. This books uses several scenes that highlight the perspection of a group of people by another group of people. Basically, Class A sees Class B as... and Class B sees Class A as... It's very relevant to today's issues, and it's very important, because we are having this problem right now. 

K is strong. K wants to discover the truth. K wants to hunt down bombers from the Brotherhood. But what K discovers is a history that stretches back into the past and really makes her question who is good and who is bad. But K, who is a decent anti-Brotherhood spy, has a conscience. And that conscience is what makes her open her eyes and let the book begin to tell its true story. She is a dynamic character that is easy to empathize with. 

The story is never boring or dull. We have a mystery to solve and a terrorist to find. There is a group of people at stake, and K has the power to change the world in the slightest way (even though she doesn't realize it). The conflict is of a spy game where one misstep could lead one tumbling into a deep grave or a great treasure. And K has a lot to lose. 

Overall, One of Us is a YA Thriller that parallels to reality. Though it does show a more extreme form of today's society, it has some roots in a possibly accurate description of the distant future. One of Us is an action-packed book that will have you flipping to the very end. 

Rating: Four out of Five

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