Review: One of Us by Jeannie Waudby + Giveaway

ARC: 320 pages
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Source of my copy: ALA Annual Conference
Series: standalone
When Two Truths and One Lie Turn Deadly . . .
A narrow escape from a bomb attack.
A radical insurgent organization on the rise.
A place and a people to call her own.
K has a choice to make, and her answer is yes.
Yes to spying.
Yes to making right wrongs of the past.
Yes to leading a double life.
But when the two worlds lead to one trapdoor, will K be able to avoid falling through?

I was initially very intrigued by One of Us because it sounded like the main character is a double agent. Overall, it was a good read a realistic, timely plot line. 
K (like the letter) lives in a divided world between the Brotherhood (recognizable by their red clothing) and the Citizens. The Brotherhood and the Citizens have an uneasy truce and were working towards reconciliation, but with constant treats of violence by the Brotherhood a full-out war seemed inevitable. After K narrowly escapes a terrorist attack by the Brotherhood, she met undercover policeman Oskar and he soon recruits her to spy for his unit. She was placed in a Brotherhood school and was supposed to identify would-be extremists. But as K got in deeper to her role, she learned that there's always two sides to every story. That what the Citizens preached as "truths" may not be wholly accurate and the violent actions of a few radicals do not represent the entirety of the group.

One of Us wasn't a bad read--actually once I really got into it, it's a fascinating story of a sectarian society riddled with terrorism, paranoia, propaganda, manipulation and about a girl's search for a place to belong while navigating a dangerous world. K, whose parents have died in a Brotherhood bombing, had been taught to distrust and hate the Brotherhood by her grandma. As a Citizen she also sees the Brotherhood's seeming resistance to peace and was surrounded by media constantly who paint the Brotherhood in a negative light. So, K has this prejudice and fear of the people who identify with the Brotherhood. But when she has to live with them at the school, she realized that there's more to them than what the media painted them to be and we see her outlook change. K was a strong character and I really liked seeing her evolve as she began to question the "truths" she grew up with. 

Some of the issues One of Us touched on parallels issues we have today and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. I did enjoy the plot overall. It was mostly interesting and at times thrilling, but there were times I was inattentive and stalled. The beginning was especially rough--the first few chapters felt kind of all over the place and because of this it took me a while to really get into the story. Another issue I had was that I wanted more background information about the Brotherhood and the Citizens and the reasons for their strife (it was never explicitly addressed) and I wish it delved more into the differences between the two society so we get a better picture beyond the differences in the color of their clothing and the Brotherhood's fanaticism. 

While I had my issues with One of Us and I didn't love it as I was hoping to, it's still a worthy, timely read. A lot of the issues and the questions the author brought up bear thinking about. The story did stay with me after I finished reading the last page.

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