Book Review: One of the Good Ones

One of the Good One by by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Published by Inkyard Press on January 5th 2021
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary, Young Adult, Queer
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Once a week on my YouTube channel, I talked about how the world was overdue for acceptance. Inclusion. Tolerance was no longer enough, because it didn’t require real commitment on our parts to embrace what made us each unique. Instead, it showed that were fine with each other’s differences so long as they weren’t displayed for everyone to see, tucked away and never truly celebrated outside of the safe confines of the group in which you belonged.”

I knew from the first few pages that this book was going to be a favorite. There was just something about the writing that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I just love it when a book keeps me flipping pages and makes me not want to put it down for anything.

Told in three parts this story is woven together throughout different povs and points in time and it is masterfully done. I never got any of the povs mixed up and each character is distinct and my heart felt for each and every one of them.

The three main characters are: Kezi, a teenage social justice activist who is killed under mysterious circumstances at a police station. Happi, her sister, who is left reeling after Kezi’s death. And Shaqueria, an aspiring actress who has moved to LA to catch her big break and escape the foster system.

With this book the authors delve into respectability politics and how damaging it is. How only certain people are deemed worthy of being listened to or missed. How to see a Black person’s humanity they must have accomplishments and be one of the Good Ones. And even as Kezi is deemed one of those Good Ones, Happi finds the phrase to ring hollow and wrong. Weighed heavy with grief, Happi and her other sister Genny embark on a journey Kezi had been planning across the United States guided by The Green Book.

I’m not gonna say anything more and I definitely feel like you should just dive right into the book without even reading the summary on the dust jacket. Because y’all, this book was just so amazing and my mind was seriously blown by some of the twists and turns in this book. The authors have created a phenomenal thriller, while not ignoring character development or the bonds between all the characters.

I will say though that I could have gone without the tiny romance bit with Happi, as it didn’t really seem to fit the rest of the story. But that’s a tiny quibble compared to how much I loved everything else.

“I know that existing as a human on this Earth should be enough to deserve respect and justice. But it isn’t. Instead, we focus on those who we deem worthy, for whom we allow ourselves to feel the weight of their loss. We mention potential not reached or promise of greatness gone unfulfilled, while others are erased from existence all together.

But we are more than the good ones.

We are the bad ones.

We are the okay ones.

We are the amazing ones.

We are the nothing-to-write-home-about-ones.

We are the beautiful ones.

We are just…ones.”

About the book

When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

Content Warnings:

Kidnapping, stalking, murder, police brutality, nonconsensual touching and undressing, death, grief, confinement, homophobia, religious bigotry, racism, nonconsensual drug use, violence, alcoholism, vomit, talk of lynchings, dementia, racial slurs, physical abuse, child death, hate crimes, ptsd, and panic attack/disorders.

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