one of the good ones

Hi friends! This was the book I received for my January Spearcraft Book Box! Still catching up and hoping to post more this week. Enjoy!

Synopsis & Quick Thoughts

One of the Good Ones is a novel by sister writing duo Maika and Maritza Moulite. When teen activist Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances at a social justice rally, her sister Happi, her parents, and her friends are left reeling. While trying to come to terms with their tragic loss, they embark on a cross-country road trip to honor Kezi’s memory, using her copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide.

Gah, this book could have been so so good. This is a novel where the ending really ruins the book entirely for me. It’s not even that it was a strange twist; I think it dampened the messages and themes prevalent throughout the plot. For the first 75% of this book, the plot and themes were SO STRONG. This book made me thing and feel things…but then the ending turned into a thriller and threw everything off track. I know a lot of people love this book and I can totally see why, but the ending of this book really ruined my enjoyment.

Positives

This novel covers so many important topics: sisterhood, friendship, police brutality and the BLM movement, social justice, racism, grief and loss, and it does so in a beautiful way. All of these themes were incorporated flawlessly into the novel without feeling like they were being shoved down the reader’s throat in the name of being trendy. The main protagonist, Happi, is deep and complex and drew out a lot of different feelings from me while reading.

I enjoyed the sisters’ writing style and found the point-of-view/timeline switches (both those between the day of the murder, present day, and Kezi’s grandparents in the past) to be particularly unique and tied different elements of the story together in a very clever way. As someone who doesn’t usually reach for contemporary novels, this one did a great job of keeping me invested and reading. It was never slow; I was never bored.

Negatives

The ENDING. Literally just the ending. I’m going to keep this part short because I don’t want to spoil anything for those interested, but this book turns from a contemporary to to a thriller in the latter part of the book and I did NOT like it. And I love thrillers. I think this twist undermined the journey that I had been on with the characters the entire time and left me feeling like a number of the themes that had been so thought-provoking throughout most of the plot had been severely weakened. Trust me, I like happy endings. I just don’t think the way this one was constructed was beneficial to the plot and themes.

Rating & Final Thoughts

I know this might be a little harsh, but I’m going to give One of the Good Ones 3 out of 5 stars. This book has a crazy high Goodreads rating and I totally get why. I really do. If this book didn’t have the ending that it did it would be a 4 to 4.5 star read, easy. Endings are the parts of novels that stick with me after I put the book back on the shelf, and unfortunately, weeks later, this one is full of disappointment in that regard. I know I’m in the minority here, so I’d still recommend this one. The themes are so important and touching .

Buy One of the Good Ones by Maika and Maritza Moulite here.*

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