Book Review: One of the Good Onesby Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

Posted March 24, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

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One of the Good Ones

One of the Good Ones

by Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite

Publisher: Inkyard Press on January 5, 2021
Genre: Contemporary
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: BIPOC, Black, Latinx, Lesbian, LGBTQIAP+
Content Warnings: Blood, Confinement, Death, Drug Use, Grief, Hate Crime, Homophobia, Kidnapping, Murder, Police Brutality, Racism, Religious Bigotry, Slavery, Violence

Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads or buy the book at Bookshop.org

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.

 

One of the Good Ones was such a good book, y’all.

I was a little hesitant as I didn’t love Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (although admittedly I read an ARC and I think it was a really early edition).  I’m so glad I picked this one up because I think that Moulite & Moulite did a wonderful job telling this story.  There was excellent balance between grief and joy. History lessons were woven in with things that are very present in today’s world and daily life.

I don’t feel like I’m the best person to judge the rep and experience.  As a white woman, I cannot begin to understand the pain and fear Black people face every single day.  I cannot understand the weight of history that a Black person bears.  I really recommend checking out some OwnVoices reviews of this book to get the most authentic possible reaction to One of the Good Ones.

Reading this as a white person, I appreciated multiple perspectives that showed the different circumstances.  I never felt like the story lost its way despite the one-time POV chapters.  I think that the perspectives from the recognized, the forgotten, the grieving, and the trying-to-survive added such a level of depth to the stories the Moulites were telling.  I liked them all, but I particularly appreciated Shaqueria’s POV.

There were twists in this book I did not expect, and there was a character that was… very interesting.  Without giving a lot away, I think it was so good that the Moulites held up a mirror to some intentions and the depths of extremes.  It felt like there was a lot of… honesty in One of the Good Ones.  And I’m sure – I’m sure – there was a level of editing that happened here and made it so things were a bit watered down.  But I did not feel as though the behaviors in this book were overly polished.  There was so much honesty and realism in reactions.  This is one of those rare books that didn’t feel overly staged in the way characters responded to things or the flow of the environment around them, and I really appreciated that.

From a very objective perspective, craft-wise, this book was also well-done.  One of the Good Ones is very easy to read.  It flows quickly and for me, the multiple POVs keep it extra interesting.  The balance between the storytelling and history-sharing was very well-achieved.  I found myself googling some of the snippets to learn more independently, but if you don’t have a good knowledge of Black history in the United States, this book will serve to broaden your horizons.

One of the Good Ones was a charming surprise for me.  It wasn’t a book that left me feeling happy and good at the end, but it was really well-told with many rich characters.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating

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One of the Good ONes Stays On the Shelf

I would absolutely 100% read this book again.

This first experience was very much a discovery, but I feel like I missed a lot of the depth of storytelling in this novel.  Additionally, there are a lot of book out there about Black pain – and yes, One of the Good Ones is about Black pain.  But it’s more rounded than many similar books I’ve read where it is not only the pain, but also Black joy.  There’s a lot of diversity in this book and I thought there were so many good aspects and a lot of interesting rep and I just… I liked it.  I would read it again.

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Have you ever heard of The Negro Motorist Green Book?  Much of this novel circles around the guide for Black people travelling on public roads in the United States and how they can stay safe.  If you have heard of it, tell me where in the comments!  And if you haven’t… definitely look it up and educate yourself!

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2 responses to “One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

    • Amber

      I’m so glad it piqued your attention! I haven’t heard much about it in the blogging world or on book Twitter myself, so I had to highlight it in a review! Definitely one of my best reads of the month!