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Summary: She didn't witness her parents' death in a bomb attack, but K (15) knows they were killed in a bomb attack. Now, she narrowly escapes a bombing in the train station. The man who rescued her says it was another Brotherhood attack against the Citizens and recruits her to help him find these terrorists. With nowhere to go and nothing to lose, K agrees to go undercover at a Brotherhood high school, using the identity Verity Nekton. In a matter of weeks, K/Verity realizes that things are not always black and white; and there is more to life than chasing right and wrong. She's made her choice, but is it one she can live with? This thought-provoking story about beliefs and how they are influenced. This would be a good high interest / low readability book for a high school student.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and Up; read yourself: 10and Up
Interest Level: 12 and Up
Reading Level: 4.1
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: What a refreshing book. K/Verity is a strong, relatable character. She gives equal voice to the usual things 15-year-olds worry about for themselves, as well as observing and thinking about the world around her and how to figure out the Truth. Through K/Verity, the author offers contrasts to the two parts of town, physically and demographically, without imposing judgement on either side. She also does an excellent job laying out the dangers of pre-judgement and the nuances of feeling like you "belong" somewhere. With the exception of the initial scene, there is no "on screen" violence.
Pros: Teen readers interested in spy stories and mystery, and/or who crave characters with strong voices will find it nearly impossible not to read One of Us in one or two sittings.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Adults and teens alike will find this a book worth reading and recommending.
Educational Themes: Terrorism and terrorist cells play a central part in this story. There is no mention of religion or global location, allowing for discussions of belief systems, manipulation, assumptions, et al, not just in the context terrorism but gangs as well.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy of this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, realistic fiction, contemporary, young adult