Published by Chicken House on February 5th 2015
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?
“How can you face a danger you can’t see?”
We live in uncertain times, a world where lines are increasingly blurred and crossed, where zealots think nothing of spilling blood for their cause while the innocent bystander is caught in the crossfire. Despite this – love, hope and friendship continue to blossom as people stand against the extremists and strive for peace.
ONE OF US by Jeannie Waudby is a perfect example of this never-ending battle as we meet K, a fifteen year old orphan whose life has once again been touched by tragedy as she narrowly escapes a terrorist attack. Recruited by Oskar, an undercover policeman to infiltrate the other side, K soon learns that the truth isn’t always black and white and the enemy so easy to recognise.
K’s world consists of the Brotherhood and the Citizens. Warring for years, the two sides have agreed on an uneasy peace and have begun a reconciliation process to integrate the Citizens and the Brotherhood into one cohesive society. Transgressions such as the bomb attack K experienced threaten its shaky survival. As an attempt to discover potential militant and rogue elements of Brotherhood society, Oscar’s unit recruits K to attend a Brotherhood school and identify students at risk of being drawn to the extremists and used as pawns in their fight. As K is embedded deeper into the Brotherhood, she begins to learn that there are two sides to every story and the “truths” she has been told as a Citizen may not be as accurate as she once thought.
ONE OF US is a tense and thrilling story about betrayal, propaganda, trust and recognising that while there is much to tear us apart, it’s the things that truly make us human that are most easily identifiable and vital for our collective survival. Love, honour and truth –it can be a struggle to find common ground at times, however looking deep within yourself and remembering that hate is taught and not born is a courageous step towards balance and peace. As K spends time with her Brotherhood students, she learns that the actions of the few cannot be allowed to taint the goodness of the many and believing one-sided media reportage without question is dangerous and naive.
From the very first pages to the nail-biting finale, Waudby keeps the reader on edge as we accompany K on her journey of self discovery, reaching deep within herself to find the courage necessary to follow her convictions and stand for what’s right. There’s a strong thread running through the book of manipulation and distortion that keeps both K and the reader on their toes and ensures the pacing of the book never falters. The primary and secondary characterisation was excellent and I really felt I got to know the characters and grew to care for them and their respective stories.
The world-building was strong and left me feeling like I had a good grip on the fragility of the societies in question however it did leave me frustrated that it wasn’t explicitly mentioned what the reason for the split was and what the fundamental differences, be they religion, race, cultural were; however it wasn’t a deal breaker and the importance of the characters themselves was always at the forefront of the plot and therefore it was never a real distraction.
Overall, ONE OF US is a skilfully crafted, tension filled book with a timely plotline and wonderful characters and left me feeling both satisfied and intrigued to read more from Jeannie. Highly recommend.