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One of Us

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They call it the plague A generation of children born with extreme genetic mutations. They call it a home But it's a place of neglect and forced labour. They call him a Freak But Dog is just a boy who wants to be treated as normal. They call them dangerous They might be right.


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They call it the plague A generation of children born with extreme genetic mutations. They call it a home But it's a place of neglect and forced labour. They call him a Freak But Dog is just a boy who wants to be treated as normal. They call them dangerous They might be right.

30 review for One of Us

  1. 3 out of 5

    karen

    this book opens with a line from oingo boingo’s song No Spill Blood: We walk on two legs not on four. To walk on four legs breaks the law. a song which is itself referencing The Island of Dr. Moreau. you want to get my attention, open your book with an oingo boingo line. i was "supposed" to read The Overstory next during my time away from home, but i read the first page and singsonged “too thinky for vacation,” picked this one up instead, saw the OB epigraph and thought “just right for vacation!” an this book opens with a line from oingo boingo’s song No Spill Blood: We walk on two legs not on four. To walk on four legs breaks the law. a song which is itself referencing The Island of Dr. Moreau. you want to get my attention, open your book with an oingo boingo line. i was "supposed" to read The Overstory next during my time away from home, but i read the first page and singsonged “too thinky for vacation,” picked this one up instead, saw the OB epigraph and thought “just right for vacation!” and it’s not that this isn’t thinky at all, in fact, the only other book i’ve read by this author is one of the thinkiest horror books i’ve ever read: Suffer the Children. One of Us (whose title is, i assume, a reference to Freaks ), provides plenty to think about. it’s a little like To Kill a Mockingbird starring the X-Men set during the AIDS crisis. in this world, a sexually-transmitted disease known colloquially as “the plague” and officially as “teratogenesis” wormed its way into the world during the late 1960s and by 1970, one out of every three thousand* babies was born afflicted. in the US, carriers of the disease who became pregnant are forced to have abortions, and the “plague kids” born before this legislation were sent to special group homes; sequestered from the normal kids, often mistreated, poorly educated and tasked with manual labor as payment for their room and board. because the plague kids, well, they look weird. their faces are upside-down, or they have tails, or dog heads, etc. and now that the first significant surviving wave of these kids are fourteen years old, along with the typical physical changes puberty brings, they are beginning to manifest specific abilities that are decidedly atypical. like the x-men, some of these abilities are really cool and useful: mind reading, pyrotechnics, etc. and some are less so - being able to chew through stuff. which has useful applications, sure, but not as useful as being able to fly. because i never leave home without my RA bonnet, i was thinking to myself at the beginning of this book - “something about this reminds me of The Girl With All the Gifts." but i stopped myself with a "nah, GWATG is much darker than this.” like i said, this was at the beginning. because HOO BOY does this go dark. it sneaks up on you. because although this features a dystopian world in which malformed innocents are taken from their families, exploited, sequestered and treated like slaves, there’s something a little cartoony about it at the start. Dog and Goof are kind, funny, eager to please, and Brain’s revolutionary spirit is comically pompous, while the “normal” children given POV status are as squeaky-sweet as campbell’s soup kids. it feels as lighthearted as a book with this particular premise can possibly be. but that doesn’t last. and once it starts to turn, there are some truly shocking developments. there are a few predictable moves as well, but the ones that surprised me were perfect, sudden, bold moves that made me glad i hadn’t read too many reviews of this before reading it myself, because i have since seen several mentions of these moves in other reviews. (and also saw that my The Girl With All the Gifts feeling was also mentioned by Claire North) i don’t know if this is going to continue as a series, but i kind of hope it does. as much as i think this says everything it needs to say as a standalone, and i don’t love the modern impulse that “everything is a series that goes on forever!!," i’m still interested in the possibilities of this world, and i trust that dilouie would make any continuation feel earned; an intriguing exploration of contemporary issues rather than just the cashing of an offered check. cuz things could get huge. Victory is never given, it is taken - through violence if necessary. You want foundational change, you don't talk to Dr. King. You talk to Malcolm X. No real progress would ever come from the normals... The mutagenic had to win on their own. And no half measures for him. He didn't want integration. He didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as normals or ride in the same part of the bus. Brain wanted it all. A return to ancient times when men worshipped the plague men as gods and enshrined them in myths that endured thousands of years. * i think that's the math. the quote is: One out of ten thousand babies born in 1968 were monsters, and most died. One in six in 1969, and half of those died. One in three in 1970, the year scientists came up with a test to see if you had it. Most of them lived. i took that to mean one in six thousand and one in three thousand, but i could be wrong. seems like 1 in 3 would have resulted in a somewhat different social landscape. but i could be wrong. come to my blog!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Wow, this is a truly hard-hitting read so hard-hitting that at times it makes for rather uncomfortable reading. I also found it a really emotional experience and I must admit I cried at certain points as it was easy to draw parallels with real life. The world building was excellent and the characters were engaging. DeLouie is certainly not afraid to explore deep and divisive topics and this book in particular deals with disabilities and prejudice. This is my first title from this author but I am Wow, this is a truly hard-hitting read so hard-hitting that at times it makes for rather uncomfortable reading. I also found it a really emotional experience and I must admit I cried at certain points as it was easy to draw parallels with real life. The world building was excellent and the characters were engaging. DeLouie is certainly not afraid to explore deep and divisive topics and this book in particular deals with disabilities and prejudice. This is my first title from this author but I am going to check out the rest of his novels. It's 1968 and a genetic plague has struck leading to a whole generation of babies that are born with extreme genetic mutations. Fast forward to the 1980's and there are rules set in place meaning that these children are taken away from their biological parents at birth and raised in group homes with other "special" kids. They are told that this is their home but there is a sinister reason behind them being rounded up. They are given limited education with a particular focus on skills that will make them useful labourers. "Normal" children are told not to engage with them but a chance meeting between the two groups of children seems to be heading towards breaking down the barriers. That is until a dead body is discovered and the home kids are blamed for it. This builds the barriers back up higher than ever. "One of Us" is a powerful and meaningful book that I will remember for a long time to come. This is a radical and important story that has had a huge impact on me. As a person who is classed as having a disability this resonated with me even more than it may do with others. I have first-hand experience of the prejudice that is shown to those who are classified as not being "normal" and that are limited by their illness or disability. This book highlights the often daily torture that disabled people have to endure for something that is no fault of their own. If you are looking for a book that explores topics that are relevant in today's society then this is a perfect fit. It will appeal to those who enjoy reading intelligent stories that have meaning that can be transferred to everyday life. I felt connected to the characters and they were both relatable and believable. Be warned - if you're thinking of picking this up prepare for a very emotional and heartbreaking rollercoaster ride. Kudos to the author for creating a story that centres around those with disabilities. We need so many more books that are inclusive but this is a great start. Publishing Date - 19th July Many thanks to Orbit for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Wol

    Full review below. Review plus custom cocktail available at The Tome & Tankard Inn Once in a while, I have a moment of realization that what I am currently reading is not just good, it’s important. It teaches us something about ourselves, and human nature. It puts us inside the minds of people whose minds we don’t necessarily want to understand. It holds up a mirror to our society, and some of us will not like what we see. People will react to it strongly, both positively and negatively. Some Full review below. Review plus custom cocktail available at The Tome & Tankard Inn Once in a while, I have a moment of realization that what I am currently reading is not just good, it’s important. It teaches us something about ourselves, and human nature. It puts us inside the minds of people whose minds we don’t necessarily want to understand. It holds up a mirror to our society, and some of us will not like what we see. People will react to it strongly, both positively and negatively. Some people will want to see it banned from schools, because they fear what it has to say. One of Us by Craig DiLouie is that kind of important. Set in a run-down alternate Huntsville, GA, One of Us shows us an America where, in addition to racial tensions and a failing economy, something else is horribly amiss. The “Summer of Love” has given rise to a powerful sexually-transmitted disease that has created a generation of horrifically deformed and mutated children. Most are taken from their parents at birth and placed in poorly managed, barely funded orphanages run by degenerates and dirty cops who can’t find work elsewhere. They are little more than prisons. The year is 1984, and the first “plague children” are reaching adolescence. Sex education is largely focused on avoiding the virus, and the local “normal” children are dealing with mixed messages from their teachers, parents and authority figures regarding the mutant children and the dangers they pose. Their educators urge them to have empathy, drawing parallels between them and pointing to their similarities rather than their differences. However, their parents and authority figures urge caution and largely prefer segregation, some out of fear, and others from sheer malignant hatred. The situation has led to the uglier side of human nature rising to the surface – there are members of the community who think that the best way to avoid the virus is to pursue only virgins – the younger, the better. Meanwhile, the plague children are beginning to realize that their hopes for the future will be forever out of reach, just as they are also discovering that they have superpowers. They are shipped out to work on local farms as slave labor, treated as second-class citizens by most of the “normals” they encounter, with moments of kindness here and there. Sally, the farmer’s eldest daughter, is a kind girl who brings the mutant children refreshments as they work. Jake, a local boy, believes strongly that they should be treated as equals and integrated into society, and he campaigns on their behalf. Dog, our main character (covered in fur and with the head of a dog), keeps hope alive. He believes that in living life well, working hard and showing themselves to be kind and trustworthy, the normals will realize that they are valuable to society. His best friend Brain begs to differ. Brain has been born a genius with a photographic memory. He talks of revolution – dangerous talk. One of Us is an unflinching and at times, harrowing look at the nature of hatred. How it manifests, how it grows, and how it fizzes over into outright war. It instills a sense of dread from the beginning and doesn’t let up until the inevitable tragedy comes crashing down around everyone’s ears. The “plague children” can be replaced with any oppressed minority and it would ring just as true. It is not a fun read, and it’s not always an easy one, and more than once it hurt my heart. It includes scenes of rape, torture, and violence, and even goes so far as to place us inside the mind of a pedophile and a stalker. Yet the vast majority these scenes are not gratuitous, but a necessary part of the larger narrative. I devoured it in one day. If I had teenagers in my life, I would urge them to read it and have some serious discussions with them about it. There is no indication that this is an ongoing series, and personally I hope it remains a standalone. Not because I don’t want more, but because to continue could diminish its powerful message. I have few criticisms – some of the peripheral characters are somewhat archetypal, and towards the end there is a scene or two that felt unnecessary, as if DiLouie wasn’t quite sure how to tie up the loose ends. Minor stuff. It isn’t perfect. But it is important, and it will stay with me for a long time. Score: 9/10 My sincere thanks to Nazia at Orbit Books for the ARC of One of Us.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charlie - A Reading Machine

    About 80 pages in and I'm not going to finish this one. There was just an icky moment with a dude justifying why him and a child should be a romantic couple that is going to lead to something nasty. I've just noticed a promo quote that says it's To Kill a Mockingbird meets something which tells me someone is going to be killed and someone innocent unfairly blamed. I'm getting a grasp on the characters and basically I feel like I have a fair idea of whats going to happen and I just don't want to About 80 pages in and I'm not going to finish this one. There was just an icky moment with a dude justifying why him and a child should be a romantic couple that is going to lead to something nasty. I've just noticed a promo quote that says it's To Kill a Mockingbird meets something which tells me someone is going to be killed and someone innocent unfairly blamed. I'm getting a grasp on the characters and basically I feel like I have a fair idea of whats going to happen and I just don't want to do it to myself. Maybe that's a sign of effective writing...I might well pick it up again in the future but right now I'm just not feeling it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... Well, damn, I’m torn over this book! Tattered, torn and honestly, I haven’t a clue how I’m going to review it! So, yeah, apologies for the following ramble! One of Us is not an easy read, which, thinking about it is perhaps an understatement on my part as in places it can be a very hard, uncomfortable and unflinching read. The book isn’t light and full of sunshine and rainbows, far f As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... Well, damn, I’m torn over this book! Tattered, torn and honestly, I haven’t a clue how I’m going to review it! So, yeah, apologies for the following ramble! One of Us is not an easy read, which, thinking about it is perhaps an understatement on my part as in places it can be a very hard, uncomfortable and unflinching read. The book isn’t light and full of sunshine and rainbows, far from it. This is a harsh, bleak and brutal book that doesn’t shy away from and isn’t scared to look at tough topics and it will make you flinch. Set in an alternate 1984 One of Us tells the story of a group of plague children and a group of normals in Huntsville, Georgia. The plague children are the result of a sexually transmitted disease that created a generation of children born with monstrous deformities (head of a dog, face upside down, roots instead of appendages). Many died but those who survived were shunned by their parents (after all, who could love a monster) deemed as outcasts, they are an abused minority who were sent to live away from the ‘normal‘ humans in harsh conditions at homes (similar to orphanages) where they are used as slave labour. In One of Us, the majority of the normals class the plague children as a stain on God’s earth, a mistake, an error, a blight and a burden on society who leech on resources and would be better of dead (I tell you it’s a harsh book). Unless they show ‘special‘ abilities the plague children are used solely as slaves for farm work and menial tasks. If a plague child exhibits and shows a special ability they are then removed from their home and taken to the Special Facility which is part of the Bureau of Teratological Affairs to ‘work‘ for the government which is just slavery of a different kind. The plague children have enough of their mistreatment and the oppression that they suffer and along with events that transpire in the book a revolution takes place where they rise up to fight for themselves and their rights. I would often find myself turning the pages of One of Us with a trepidation awaiting the violence to erupt as I knew that something bad was on the horizon and that terrible things would happen to those poor plague children who had been treated as less than human, lower than nothing and for some, like Dog (one of the main characters) who simply wanted to find their place in this world, belong and be. One of Us is a very character driven read and it’s those characters that drive the story forward. Some of the secondary characters, those on the periphery aren’t that well developed and for some of the humans they do come across as quite stereotypical with their love of booze and guns. For the main characters though, we get to see the story unfold through both sides of the divide (plague children/normals) and DiLouie does a great job of giving the main players all individual voices and personalities and allows you to become invested in his story thanks to his (often) unique characters. Huntsville and its surrounding area as the setting for One of Us are well realised by DiLouie brimming with atmosphere and tension like a cauldron of simmering tension that you are waiting to boil over. One of Us will make you ask how much stock do you put in someone’s outer appearance? Do you ostracize them simply because they are different to you? You will ponder that if you are constantly called a monster how long until you live up to that label as it is all you’ve ever known and start believing it? You will see that it is what is on the inside that counts, that looks can be deceptive and that just because someone looks like a monster it doesn’t mean that they are actually monstrous. One of Us shows that monsters come in all guises and come to the end you will see that the real monsters in DiLouie’s work aren’t the persecuted plague children, they are the ignorance of, the intolerance of, the prejudice of and the fear of those who are different. For the most part, the brutality of the world fits in with the story that DiLouie is telling, it all has its place and it is never overly gratuitous. However, there’s a bit late on in the book that just seems out of character for the character involved and as though it was only added for the shock value. Personally, I’d have liked the ending to One of Us to have been more closed off and resolved rather than the open-ended ending that DiLouie has gone for but, on a positive with the ending being how it is, it gives DiLouie (should he choose to) the chance to revisit with the characters later down the road. It feels wrong to say that I enjoyed my time spent reading One of Us. Now, don’t get me wrong the book gripped me, I was pulled into the story DiLouie was telling and I felt compelled to carry on reading but if asked did I actually ‘enjoy‘ it, then, no, I’d have to answer no I didn’t enjoy it as that word ‘enjoy‘ is definitely the wrong one as One of Us isn’t an entertaining and fun read to ‘enjoy‘. Instead, it is a harrowing (though there are sprinklings of hope from both sides) tale that feels important, is unsettling, is serious, will make you question actions and ultimately, it is a thought-provoking story to be experienced.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Brutal and thought-provoking, One of Us is Southern Gothic with a touch of the fantastical. I went into One of Us not knowing much about it, and it turned out to be one of those stories that caught me completely off guard. This is not an easy book to read, in the respect that it deals with triggers that might scare some read I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Brutal and thought-provoking, One of Us is Southern Gothic with a touch of the fantastical. I went into One of Us not knowing much about it, and it turned out to be one of those stories that caught me completely off guard. This is not an easy book to read, in the respect that it deals with triggers that might scare some readers off. But I couldn’t stop reading. DiLouie’s story was uncomfortable probably because it mirrors our own past, and also makes us hyper aware of social injustices that we’re still dealing with in the present day. Take away the monsters and replace them with any marginalized group of people and you’ve wandered into non fiction territory. One of Us is set in the deep South and takes places in an alternate 1984. Huntsville, Georgia is still plagued by segregation, and fall-out from the Vietnam War continues to affect the town’s economy. It’s been fourteen years since the emergence of a viral disease called teratogenisis, a sexually transmitted “germ” that causes monstrous birth defects in children born to the infected. These “plague children” were whisked away from their families at birth and taken to special orphanages throughout the country called “Homes,” to be raised with only the bare necessities in near squalid conditions. These days children are taught stringent sexual practices to avoid catching the germ and creating more plague children, but those unfortunate enough to be born the year the virus broke out have very little freedoms and are really nothing more than prisoners. But the plague children have reached the age of puberty, and they’re starting to change. Some can read minds, others find they have super strength, and still others can actually sprout wings and fly. And with these powers comes the realization that they are now strong enough to escape their prisons. Amidst the backdrop of a town full of trigger-happy citizens who want nothing more than to rid their town of monsters, the children plan their uprising. Based on the cover, I really thought this was going to be a lighthearted fantasy, maybe more of a humorous adventure tale, but it turned out to be neither of those things. DeLouie’s latest is a serious story. It takes the idea of prejudice and cranks it up several notches, and the events play out like a Shakespearean tragedy. As far as the fantasy elements go, they are really more of an afterthought. Most of the story is grounded in reality, and most of the time I forgot that Dog actually has the head of a dog, or that Goof has an upside down face. They spoke and acted like regular kids, so when the fantasy elements did kick in, it was almost shocking. DiLouie does a fantastic job creating an atmospheric tale, steeped in tension and just-under-the-surface violence waiting for an excuse to break free. I’ve always loved stories set in small towns with rough characters and lots of buried secrets, and this story delivers those elements in spades. But this town is also still stuck in the past, and nearly everyone looks down on the plague children as something less than human. The humans come across as almost caricatures. You’ve got the bigoted, uneducated men and women who turn a blind eye to the atrocities that are going on at the Home, the gun-toting farm boys who shoot first and ask questions later, the sensitive teenager who wants everyone to accept the plague children just the way they are, the tortured sheriff who is trying to fairly uphold the law but can’t seem to escape his personal demons, the mother who fiercely protects her daughter’s secret. I actually found the monsters more interesting than the humans and of course I found myself rooting for them. My favorite character was a boy nicknamed Brain, a genius who looks like “a lion fucked a gorilla” and is not only the smartest kid in the Home but the most self-aware. He knows exactly what the monsters are facing, but he’s also the first to realize that the kids are starting to change into something else, something potentially powerful. I also loved Dog, who you guessed it, has the head and sharp claws of a dog. And then there is Mary, an unassuming girl who appears mentally handicapped, but she surprised me at the end. DiLouie doesn’t really focus on the physical descriptions of the monsters, and I did have a hard time imagining what some of them looked like. But ultimately it didn’t matter that much. This story is more about the idea of ostracizing anyone who is different. Take away the fur, deformities, tails and wings and give them a skin color other than white and you still have the same story. For readers who are bothered by violence, rape, and torture, be warned because One of Us does not shy away from these things. For the most part, the violent acts fit the story that DiLouie is telling. But there was a moment at the end where I felt like he went too far, as if he just wanted to squeeze in one more shocking scene, and it just didn’t work for me. But it’s not all bleakness and depression. Despite the heavy subject matter, there are glimmers of hope and love in this story. Jake never waivers in his belief that everyone should be able to get along, and I loved the upbeat attitude of Dog, Brain and some of the other monsters who are determined to make a better life for themselves and their fellow monsters. There are lots of examples of fierce love in this story, hidden among the hatred, and it’s those moments that kept me going. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

  7. 3 out of 5

    Books, Vertigo and Tea (Danielle)

    You may also find this review on Books, Vertigo & Tea. My Thoughts One of Us offers readers an alternate reality that unfolds in Georgia, 1984. Most of the world is much like you may remember or have heard of, however, a sexually transmitted disease has caused mutations in many unborn children. These children have been cast out by society, deemed inhuman and sent at birth to live in homes where they are raised under harsh conditions and used as labor on local farms. They are monsters. But Enoch You may also find this review on Books, Vertigo & Tea. My Thoughts One of Us offers readers an alternate reality that unfolds in Georgia, 1984. Most of the world is much like you may remember or have heard of, however, a sexually transmitted disease has caused mutations in many unborn children. These children have been cast out by society, deemed inhuman and sent at birth to live in homes where they are raised under harsh conditions and used as labor on local farms. They are monsters. But Enoch, also known as Dog, dreams of a better life. One where the children will live in society among the normals and grow to earn respected jobs and possibly even love one day. When Enoch and his friends have a chance encounter with the local normal kids and a friendship begins to develop, this life feels even closer than he had hoped. Then a body is discovered and a grisly accident occurs and the town is looking for someone to blame. What unfolds could very well be the events that begin a revolution. Will Enoch and his friends find their rightful place among mankind or will they claim it? “Enoch was the name the teachers at the Home used. Brain said it was his slave name. Dog liked hearing it, though. He felt lucky to have one. His mama loved him enough to at least do that for him.” One of Us is not a fun or easy ready. At times, I found myself taking small breaks to digest what was happening and to even recover from a few graphic moments. I am not quite sure what I had in mind when I picked it up, but I think it was something along the lines of a light, fast-paced science fiction story with a few memorable characters at best. What I received was a heavier, unexpected exploration of humanity that tackled themes of discrimination, hate, and intolerance in the most unlikely but ultimately rewarding manner. Dilouie crafts a world and cast that perhaps rely on their own familiarities for their true success. Once we strip away the mutation, we are left with a setting and group of characters we can relate to with incredible ease. Enoch and his friends are just teenagers trying to find a small slice of happiness in a life that has dealt them a shit hand. It is 1984 and prejudices and bigotry are common problems in many towns, and here is no exception. The mutation is simply another example, albeit a very extreme one. The fact that One of Us utilizes children to deliver its theme cleverly amplifies it. “Again, my goal for you kids this year is two things. One is to get used to the plague kids. Distinguishing between a book and its cover. The other is to learn how to avoid making more of them.” A tale of caution, One of Us exposes us to the real horrors and challenges us to face actual monsters in the form of intolerance and hate. Dilouie offers something truly unexpected, a cleverly written, beautifully executed story with an unbelievable amount of heart masquerading as your typical science fiction but ultimately proving to be something much greater. Contains graphic, violent & sexual content with a heavy theme of intolerance and hate. *I would like to thank Orbit for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion. ☕Serves well with earthy blends such as your favorite pu-erh.☕

  8. 5 out of 5

    ~Dani~ LazyTurtle's Books

    Read more reviews at Book Geeks Uncompromised! Trigger warnings for: sexual assault, violence, extreme racial prejudice, character death In One of Us, the 1960s saw the rise of a virus of which the origins are terribly well known but are likely a combination of many things (radioactivity, AIDS, etc.). What is known is that if a person that has "the germ" has a child, that child will be born mutated. Their face may be upside-down, they may grow fungus on their skin, they may bear a strong resemblan Read more reviews at Book Geeks Uncompromised! Trigger warnings for: sexual assault, violence, extreme racial prejudice, character death In One of Us, the 1960s saw the rise of a virus of which the origins are terribly well known but are likely a combination of many things (radioactivity, AIDS, etc.). What is known is that if a person that has "the germ" has a child, that child will be born mutated. Their face may be upside-down, they may grow fungus on their skin, they may bear a strong resemblance to a dog or a gorilla. In a panic as to how to handle this crisis, all plague-kids were taken from their families (usually without much of a fuss from said family) and put in a home where they were brought up and taught separately from the normals. This book is about those children reaching their teenage years and realizing that not only were they dealt a bad hand in life to begin with, but they have been beaten down and ostracized for no real reason. Thus, tensions between them and the normals that feel smug in their superiority over the plague kids rise drastically to the point of bloodshed. One of Us examines why prejudice in any form toward other humans is a thing and how it continues to live. How in this day and age can we possibly be dealing with some people treating others as if they are less? The answer, unsurprisingly, comes down to fear. Fear of what one is not familiar with but also fear of accepting responsibility for what a person has allowed to continue on or has contributed to. Every action that drove the plot of this story onward came from a place of fear and (often) willful misunderstanding. Which leads to danger actions which are of course misunderstood which means more fear, etc. And all of it inching closer to violence. This book is very much character driven and as such it didn't really have a defined plot and was more of a "follow the events" kind of thing even going into the ending. Because the problem is that some people are assholes to other people and will continue to hold prejudice because of their own fear despite not having a good reason to. One of Us does not end with everything tied up in a neat little bow because there is no easy solution to prejudice that that a 400 page novel can provide. It requires continuous, ongoing effort. The only thing that I was not crazy about was how brief the discussion was on sexual harassment and assault in the story. Nothing that was presented was wrong but it also didn't dive into the topic with the same depth that prejudice received. It felt like the discussion was only there to lead up to a particular plot event and then was dropped entirely. Personally, I think that plot event would have been just as impactful without a one-off sex-ed style lecture on consent. Other than that though, One of Us is a beautiful constructed tragic tale of prejudice and where it leads. Several times through the course of listening to this audiobook, my heart broke into tiny pieces for things that happened. I cannot recommend this book enough.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen (QueenKatieMae)

    Do not let the simple cover of this book fool you. Do not let the synopsis sway you. Do not assume because the main characters are teenagers that this is a book for middle-grade readers. This not a book for everyone. This is the most intense book I have read in a very long time. It is dark and heartbreaking, full of violence, and leaves you absolutely wiped out when you turn the last page. In the alternate reality narrative of One Of Us, a sexually-transmitted disease from the summer of love has Do not let the simple cover of this book fool you. Do not let the synopsis sway you. Do not assume because the main characters are teenagers that this is a book for middle-grade readers. This not a book for everyone. This is the most intense book I have read in a very long time. It is dark and heartbreaking, full of violence, and leaves you absolutely wiped out when you turn the last page. In the alternate reality narrative of One Of Us, a sexually-transmitted disease from the summer of love has created an entire generation of monsters: babies born with wings, missing arms but with tentacles for legs, upside down faces, and those that look like dogs or apes. The world is horrified, and scared. What caused this horrific plague? In a move based on fear and revulsion, the children are taken away at birth, most are given away, and housed in decrepit, and unmonitored, orphan homes where they are subjected to flea-ridden beds and abuse. The babies, called plague children, or creepers, grow up in a society that despises them and treats them as slaves. Adults are tested for “the germ” before they engage in any sexual contact. And the horrors of teratogenesis are a mandatory part of all school curriculums. It’s a horror story full of metaphors, blatantly symbolic of the hatred and bigotry that infests our society. Set in a small Georgia town in 1984, the plague children are coming into their teenage years with the older ones realizing they are more than just hideous creatures. They are developing unusual abilities. And an agent from the Bureau of Teratological Affairs has been visiting what is referred to as the Home interrogating the children, asking if they have "special talents". Four hundred plague children are housed at the home they receive subhuman treatment and are surrounded by felons and miscreants called "teachers".The plague children have Christian names but prefer to call each other by their nicknames: Dog, Tiny, Goof. Only Mary has kept her birth name. When Goof shows off to the agent that he can practically read minds, he disappears in the night. Dog and Brain and Mary are forced to pick cotton at a local farm as slaves provided by the government. Their truly disgusting teacher verbally abuses them as he lusts after the farmer’s daughter, Sally. The man truly thinks she must love him. It’s really a low point in the book. Meanwhile, Amy, a normal girl daydreams about her new boyfriend and the friends she has finally let into her life. She lives with a devastating secret that only she and her hard drinking, Virginia Slim-smoking, bitter-hearted mother know. Mainly told from the perspectives of Amy, Dog, Goof and Sally, the narrative recounts horror after horror after horror that happens to these teens. Rape, child abuse, bigotry, slavery, violence, murder, suicide, dismemberment; every trigger you can imagine is in this book. It’s painful to read and even more painful to realize these acts are based on what our society is capable of or has been in the past. Thank god for the small moments of happiness sparsely scattered throughout the children’s lives. Thank god for the moments of humor sprinkled throughout the book. I would not have survived otherwise. It’s well written but with some passages of wandering narrative and an ending that still haunts me. There is no easy answer in the end. It’s dark and gritty and nightmarish. It makes the reader question who is the real monster: the children that are unfortunate to have been born with a genetic malformation or the normals that abuse and despise them. It’s not a book for everyone and it’s impossible to say I enjoyed it but I will say it is a powerful book I will recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nico Tangorra

    One of Us is a cautionary tale. And WOW, is it an important one! Despite being set in the American south of the 1980s, the book highlights the social issues that are still relevant today in 2018. They are issues that are still being fought for, and issues that could lead to explosive consequences should change continue to be avoided. I was immediately absorbed into the world of this alternate-80s small town and found myself not only rooting for each character but identifying in more ways than one One of Us is a cautionary tale. And WOW, is it an important one! Despite being set in the American south of the 1980s, the book highlights the social issues that are still relevant today in 2018. They are issues that are still being fought for, and issues that could lead to explosive consequences should change continue to be avoided. I was immediately absorbed into the world of this alternate-80s small town and found myself not only rooting for each character but identifying in more ways than one to each of them. I was empowered and angry and crying (so many tears). Craig DiLouie has managed to emphasize so many current injustices as it compares to the injustices of the past with his book, and in my opinion, that deserves the ultimate praise. For anyone who knows what it feels like to be ostracized, oppressed, abused, and/or discriminated for being exactly who you are – this book is for you. For anyone who considers themselves allies in the fight for social justice – this book is for you. For anyone who just doesn’t get all of the hubbub of the current political and social climate – this book is for you. One of Us is a revolutionary tale “for the people in the back!” Many thanks to the BOTM Readers Committee for sending me an advance copy for review. This book club is seriously the best investment I've ever made and I am #blessed to have them in my life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    I went into this book expecting it to be a dark tale, but also fearing that it would shy away from getting "too dark". I like being punched in the gut when I read a book, and unambiguously happy endings rarely do anything for me. One of Us did not disappoint me. Craig DiLouie really, REALLY went there. My gut was definitely punched. Several times. Sometimes, despite my love of darkness and fictional despair, I actually kind of wished DiLouie HADN'T gone there, because I got invested in certain cha I went into this book expecting it to be a dark tale, but also fearing that it would shy away from getting "too dark". I like being punched in the gut when I read a book, and unambiguously happy endings rarely do anything for me. One of Us did not disappoint me. Craig DiLouie really, REALLY went there. My gut was definitely punched. Several times. Sometimes, despite my love of darkness and fictional despair, I actually kind of wished DiLouie HADN'T gone there, because I got invested in certain characters and some part of me just wanted them to fare better, I guess. Nevertheless, this book was everything I hoped it would be, possibly more. I loved the references to real world history, the comparisons between historical scenarios and the book's reality - it added to the world-building, and it didn't feel forced. As previously mentioned, I loved some of the characters... and I loved to hate some of them, as well. The only reason why this is not a 5 star read for me is I had some hopes for the ending that weren't realized. The book could have been a bit longer, as I would have liked to have seen some plotlines play out a bit further. On the other hand, ending it like DiLouie did certainly has its merits; it is still effective, and it doesn't ruin my enjoyment of the story as a whole. In conclusion, if you're thinking of picking this up, you should. Just be prepared to have your gut punched, and possibly your heart broken, by the end of it.

  12. 3 out of 5

    Cheryl

    "Being different in this world is appreciated if somebody can profit from it, but even that has limits." It is an alternate 1984. Fourteen years ago a new sexually transmitted disease appeared and caused mutations in unborn children all over the world. Once born, these children were declared monsters and placed in abusive, government run homes. I was expecting a different type book. I guess I'm a shallow person because what I expected and wanted was an X-MEN type tale with mutated children with sp "Being different in this world is appreciated if somebody can profit from it, but even that has limits." It is an alternate 1984. Fourteen years ago a new sexually transmitted disease appeared and caused mutations in unborn children all over the world. Once born, these children were declared monsters and placed in abusive, government run homes. I was expecting a different type book. I guess I'm a shallow person because what I expected and wanted was an X-MEN type tale with mutated children with special abilities. Instead this is a denunciation of bigotry, hate, being different, non-tolerance. Parts of the book were what I expected but probably three-quarters of it was a serious discourse. Now that's not a bad thing and I agreed with what was written. It just wasn't the light entertainment I expected. I received this book from Orbit Books through the Amazon VINE program in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bracken

    [Review coming]

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Joy

    I didn't really enjoy this, to be honest. The premise was interesting enough -- a mutated gene giving "plague children" special powers -- but I didn't like the writing style, and the narration gave too much attention to the thoughts of creepy men. While it attempts to end on a vaguely hopeful note, it's extremely violent and unpleasant, which is at odds with the sometimes childish prose.

  15. 3 out of 5

    Bethan Hindmarch

    Set in the '80s, in the deep south of the United States of America, One of Us features a world in which teenagers born with a genetic mutation are kept separate from society in "homes". We follow a cast of very different characters as tensions between "the creepers" and "the normals" hit boiling point. I'm trying hard to assemble my opinions into some kind of cohesion so I can give this book the review it deserves... but I desperately want to gush and squeal and make demands that you read this bo Set in the '80s, in the deep south of the United States of America, One of Us features a world in which teenagers born with a genetic mutation are kept separate from society in "homes". We follow a cast of very different characters as tensions between "the creepers" and "the normals" hit boiling point. I'm trying hard to assemble my opinions into some kind of cohesion so I can give this book the review it deserves... but I desperately want to gush and squeal and make demands that you read this book right now. Rein it in Beth, you can do this. This book was so incredibly thought provoking; its core theme was this idea of "us" and "them", the fear this stimulates in the ignorant and the things this in turn can lead on to. The ripples into other issues left me reeling; this book tackles dehumanisation, abuse, race, sexuality, religion, politics, philosophy...  And yet, this book is not just All About The Message. I didn't feel like I was wading through sociological hypotheses and drowning in a moralistic flood; DiLouie wove all these fantastic messages and ideas into a story that is addictive, and wrenching, and so utterly readable.  "I don't want things to be bad for them," Amy said "I really don't. I just don't want them around me. Why does that make me a bad person?" There were moments throughout the book where I just had to stop and take a breather; whether it was from the profundity, or out of fear for a character. It left me frustrated and raging about the truth of the world we live in. It may be set thirty years ago (yes, the '80s were thirty years ago, I am just as upset about this as you) but it is (depressingly) so relevant to our society today. And not just American society; I could also hear the voices of Brexiteers demanding to have our country back.  The characters have broken my heart a little bit. Some of them were absolute arseholes, but some of them were beautiful in their innocence. Innocence that gets betrayed, or manipulated, or evolves and twists the character into the thing they never wanted to become. This is such an important book. But it's also an enjoyable and an emotionally charged book. I'll be keeping a close eye on DiLouie, I can't wait to see where he goes from here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mariana Calderon

    Dark, gritty, and full of heart, despite -- or maybe because of -- a can't-look-away gruesomeness. At its core, One of Us is a treatise on morality and intolerance and the horrors that come with labeling people as "other." It doesn't pull its punches, whether they come as depictions of the casually awful treatment of the plague children, or as the nauseating internal monologues of a man obsessed with a young girl. A great handsell for the speculative and SFF reader looking for something reflecti Dark, gritty, and full of heart, despite -- or maybe because of -- a can't-look-away gruesomeness. At its core, One of Us is a treatise on morality and intolerance and the horrors that come with labeling people as "other." It doesn't pull its punches, whether they come as depictions of the casually awful treatment of the plague children, or as the nauseating internal monologues of a man obsessed with a young girl. A great handsell for the speculative and SFF reader looking for something reflective of the times. -Mariana Calderon

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margit

    A sign of the times Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review. This book was a difficult read for me. It is about hate and intolerance and fear and using god as an excuse to perpetuate and justify everything that is vile in human nature. Unfortunately, it is a grim reminder of the ills the U.S. is suffering under the current regime.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sean Blevins

    Powerful reminder that monsters are made, not born. An affirmation of Tupac's T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. acronym that was recently given a much broader audience by Angie Thomas: The Hate You Give Little Infants F#cks Everyone." Also just a fun, fast read. Described to to my wife and she said, "Oh. It's an X-Men novel." Um, yeah. Okay. Maybe. But much darker and with only teenage mutants.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Not really for me this one. Interesting premise and it started out well, an intriguing bit of world building and some engaging characters. But by about half way honestly I realised I just wasn't enjoying it. Some of the detail felt more salacious than relevant and it all got a little bit preachy. It's not a badly written book at all but the way it played out just left me vaguely disconcerted rather than provoking any kind of thought on the underlying themes. I don't mind when a book makes me fee Not really for me this one. Interesting premise and it started out well, an intriguing bit of world building and some engaging characters. But by about half way honestly I realised I just wasn't enjoying it. Some of the detail felt more salacious than relevant and it all got a little bit preachy. It's not a badly written book at all but the way it played out just left me vaguely disconcerted rather than provoking any kind of thought on the underlying themes. I don't mind when a book makes me feel uncomfortable, fiction SHOULD challenge us but it needs to be for the right reasons. This particular narrative was just wrong for this particular reader.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Wow. Engaging, well-developed characters grappling with real world and, sadly, topical issues of prejudice and discrimination. This one grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me stop until I was done. Very, very good.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Guro

    ”Monsters, maybe. But does a monster have to be evil?” Okay, denne boka startet sinnsykt lovende. Bra konsept. Men så ble alt verre. Og irriterende. Og frustrerende. Ja, den var bra, men liksom. Im not happy.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Alicia Smock

    There usually comes a time when readers wish to read a story not just for the entertainment or thrills or romance or any of the other elements found in various genres. They are looking for something deeper, something more philosophical, something that really makes them ponder over current events or issues in the world today. Readers need look no further than author Craig DiLouie’s One of Us. While he focuses on a well-known issue that has been covered numerous times in books as well as in movies There usually comes a time when readers wish to read a story not just for the entertainment or thrills or romance or any of the other elements found in various genres. They are looking for something deeper, something more philosophical, something that really makes them ponder over current events or issues in the world today. Readers need look no further than author Craig DiLouie’s One of Us. While he focuses on a well-known issue that has been covered numerous times in books as well as in movies, DiLouie has taken this common global subject and has put his own unique twist to it. The plague children are looked down upon due to their genetic mutations and are treated like dirt. They are forced to reside in a home that acts more like a prison and are forced to take part in laborious work, told that this exhausting work is all they will be good at and that they will never amount to anything. These children did not ask for their mutations and they did not ask to be called “freaks” and “monsters”. They just want to live like normal people do and to have the freedom to be who they wish to be. However, that tempting “want” over the years has turned into an overpowering “need” and, come 1984, the plague children may just become the monsters society has always deemed them to be. Yes, judging people due to abnormalities or appearances or a number of other reasons is a topic that has been touched upon many times, but it is a very important issue many people, especially in today’s society, seem to forget about. In today’s world, it is all about how someone looks or acts. If one does not look or act a certain way, then they are deemed abnormal. This is absolutely not right and incredibly unfair, yet it gets worse with each passing year. One of Us is a fiction that covers the issue of wanting acceptance and judging others, yet if readers believe they are picking up a story that reads like the X-Men, think again. DiLouie has created a fictional world that is more real than authors have dared to write in quite some time, making it the next book readers should make a point to pick up and read next. How real it reads is what makes One of Us so morbidly alluring and enticingly unique. Unlike popular culture of today, DiLouie gave the children genetic mutations that are more realistic sounding and believable, such as telepathy, intelligence, and strength among many other abilities. As for their appearances, the children were described in a way that could make readers see them as oddities that would be found within one of P.T. Barnum’s freak shows. A very unique spin the story covers is how many plague children there are. While the “freaks” and “monsters” found in other fictional stories and even in Barnum’s real show were few in number, DiLouie made it where one in every three humans born was infected by this genetic plague. Having so many raises many government and societal issues that DiLouie covers rather accurately. Due to these new issues DiLouie speculated would arise, readers should be prepared for the story they are about to enter into will most certainly offer a roller coaster of a ride to read through. There are many ups and downs for the children within the book, both plague and normal, as well as for the adults. Readers will find themselves liking some characters, hating others, sympathizing with most, and not caring what happens to a few. Life is hard for all of the characters and becomes harder with each passing chapter and DiLouie is one of the brave authors out there who allows tragedy to befall any of his characters, thus leading to some fairly dark scenes in the story. Dark, but honest, DiLouie focuses on a question through his characters that has not been written about as well as Mary Shelley wrote in her Frankenstein: Who is the real monster? DiLouie does a phenomenal job arguing both sides of the spectrum and will have readers indecisive on whose side they are on. The readers will have to decide who they sympathize with more, but it most certainly is a tricky choice, just like choosing between Victor Frankenstein and his creation, for here is where One of Us truly makes the reader think and question: What if both parties are equally monstrous? If both sides are the monster, how can one possibly chose a side? Real, honest, even at times heartbreaking, One of Us is the story to read for those who wish for that next deep and philosophical read. DiLouie has impressed by taking a morbid issue that has been touched upon many times and made it into an alluringly realistic fiction. It is a story that will make readers think about how we as human beings view one another and how society has a way of corrupting our perception. It is a story that will take readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It is also a story that will make it difficult for readers to decide which characters they will side with. For those who are looking for a story that offers more than the norm other genres offer, look no further than DiLouie’s latest novel. With its message and insight on a common global issue, One of Us would make an excellent book club choice for it is most certainly a story for readers to discuss upon completion. **Originally published on my blog Roll Out Reviews on August 27, 2018**

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kath

    I picked this book to read as part of my ongoing mission to diversify and read outside my usual comfort zone. There was something in the blurb that piqued my interest but it wasn't until I started that I realised exactly what I had let myself in for. A hard read for sure, hard as in hard hitting I mean, at times even uncomfortable, but I never got to the point of it all being too much both in content and context. It was a story that really touched me, got me completely involved emotionally in wh I picked this book to read as part of my ongoing mission to diversify and read outside my usual comfort zone. There was something in the blurb that piqued my interest but it wasn't until I started that I realised exactly what I had let myself in for. A hard read for sure, hard as in hard hitting I mean, at times even uncomfortable, but I never got to the point of it all being too much both in content and context. It was a story that really touched me, got me completely involved emotionally in what I was reading. Had me really caring about what happened to certain characters. It has a message for sure but it is so much more than just being a bit preachy on tolerance and acceptance. It is a wonderful tale on what can happen when hate starts to feed hate and the gloves come off. Set in an alternative 80s in the US South, there's been a genetic plague that has hit, rendering certain children to be born a little different to what would be considered normal. Children with special talents; physically, mentally and otherwise. Obviously, as with most things that people can't understand to the point of being afraid of, these children have been rounded up and pretty much dumped in homes. They are also being used and abused, treated like animals and slaves. "Normal" children are educated against mixing with them and taught to avoid them. But children aren't always black and white, sometimes they see good in what adults shun. At a chance meeting between a group from the town and a bunch of kids from the home these barriers show signs of coming down. Both groups learning something from each other. Could integration be possible? But then a body is found, home kids are blamed and the whole thing kicks off once again... This is not a light read by no stretch but, and its a big but, it manages to keep itself balanced by the inclusion of some very tender moments. There is a lot to take in but the delivery is such that it never gets too heavy, lighter moments follow the really hard ones. And boy, are there some hard ones to be found. Tears were shed. Based around the fact that we, as humans, have a tendency to avoid things we do not understand. How instead of trying to get to know people who are different from ourselves, we fear them and hide them away for fear of further contamination. Blame them when things go wrong. Even when actually that blame should be closer to home. It's a simple premise but one that is still, in this day and age, oh so prevalent. Frankenstein's monster, burn the witch, you get the point! There are some wonderful characters to be found within the pages of this book too. On both sides of the good/evil line. It is these characters and what they do that really makes this story flow as well as it does. Some show really great compassion, others joke about, some are downright creepy and despicable; all add something to the narrative, the message. I could explain and single a few out here in my review but I think its better if the reader gets to know them as the author intends, especially as I think each character will be further enhanced by the readers' own views and opinions as they go and it wouldn't be right to throw my opinions and ideals into the mix. It's a powerful story with an important message, delivered in a very interesting way. It's a book that I am very glad I read and one that will stay with me for a while. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read it.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Kathy Cunningham

    Craig DiLouie’s ONE OF US is a gripping morality tale about the ultimate results of hatred, prejudice, and inhumanity. The story is set in an alternate version of the year 1984 – Reagan is still president, the Holocaust and the Vietnam War are still part of our history, but something else has happened that has changed this reality irrevocably. A sexually-transmitted bacterial infection has swept through humanity, resulting in millions of genetically mutated offspring. These so-called “plague chi Craig DiLouie’s ONE OF US is a gripping morality tale about the ultimate results of hatred, prejudice, and inhumanity. The story is set in an alternate version of the year 1984 – Reagan is still president, the Holocaust and the Vietnam War are still part of our history, but something else has happened that has changed this reality irrevocably. A sexually-transmitted bacterial infection has swept through humanity, resulting in millions of genetically mutated offspring. These so-called “plague children” have been rejected by their parents and communities and relegated to State-run “Homes” in which they live in squalor, abused by their keepers, and used as slave labor for local farms. These kids are teenagers in 1984, and they’re on the verge of coming into their own. They may look freaky (with odd appendages, fur, misaligned facial features, or fangs and claws), but their hearts and minds are human. And when outsiders are treated like monsters, the monsters just might revolt. At its core, this is a treatise against the horrors of intolerance, past and present. The plague children could be African slaves, treated like animals and denied any rights. They could just as easily be homosexuals and transsexuals, rejected and denied. They could be immigrants, scorned as rapists and murderers, and shot at our borders. They could be Jews, scapegoated, locked up, and gassed, or Muslims, feared and hated as terrorists. In short, the freaky plague children are different, and human beings aren’t too good at accepting those who are different. And we never have been. This novel is dark and deeply disturbing. And nothing is black and white. Some of the “normals” are good guys, trying to help. And some of the plague children have been warped by their bitterness and anger into dangerous villains. But the message is clear – hatred begets hatred, and violence begets violence. In reading this novel, I was reminded of the 1932 Tod Browning film “Freaks,” in which a group of carnival freaks band together to get revenge on their tormentors (one particular scene toward the end of ONE OF US definitely recalls “Freaks”). But the story is actually more like Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” with its sad monster and the human mob bent on destroying it. The ending of this novel is actually brilliantly done. No, the story isn’t neatly wrapped up, and yes, there could be a sequel in the works (although I’m not expecting one). But in the end, DiLouie shows us the only real hope for humanity, and it’s not about protecting our borders and exterminating those who don’t look and think as we do. This is a powerful novel with a lot to say about the world we live in today. I highly recommend it. [Please note: I was provided an Advance Reading Copy of this novel free of charge; the opinions expressed here are my own.]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Avi

    What interested me off the bat was the concept, perhaps something not entirely unique but it seemed to be explored in a different way. I enjoyed how each character was so particular and personal, each having their own development despite there being so many more characters than most books include. Some went through physical changes while others were set on mental and psychological changes, which challenged the reader to think: how could this have been avoided? This is the type of book which sets What interested me off the bat was the concept, perhaps something not entirely unique but it seemed to be explored in a different way. I enjoyed how each character was so particular and personal, each having their own development despite there being so many more characters than most books include. Some went through physical changes while others were set on mental and psychological changes, which challenged the reader to think: how could this have been avoided? This is the type of book which sets your mind on fire and tests your moral judgements, as I found that my original opinion on the matter, although didn’t change dramatically, had a few slips along the way. I loved the way the plot developed, as it explored different points of views constantly, keeping the reader frantic and open to all the different ideas. In regards to characters, Dilouie managed to spur your mind with not only displaying the contrasts between the plague children and the so called normals, but also slipped in many parallels which again, made the reader ask themselves more questions. I especially liked Brain, who although presented with the most intellect and rationality, put forward a solution that most readers would disagree with, but would emphasise and understand coming from his situation. It tested how rationality and empathy would exist together in a character who lives in a constant nightmare. His character development was superb and almost tragic in a sense that he knew he was always “too late”, suggesting a sense of regret and conflict within his mind. Prejudice being the main theme was greatly explored throughout, with parallels to slavery which coincidentally, tied up perfectly with the characters (where they lived and what they did on farms). My favourite scene, actually being the ending was Goofs summary of his hopes and dreams, seemingly fulfilled. It made me question the fairness of this world and what would I do? Which constantly made me squirm as I desperately tried to think of solutions or how the story could of gone. No matter how hard I tried there seemed to be things that were inevitable, characters too stubborn or rotten or events that had to happen. It was baffling, but definitely an enjoyable read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Misty Luminais

    So I feel conflicted about this book. On the one hand, it's a very compelling read. I flew through it in two days despite the fact I only planned on reading it once I finished the two other books I have going right now. On the other hand, the things that drive the plot are sometimes just too predictable. Below are spoilers. . . . . . DON'T READ BELOW IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS. . . I get that a story about a disease that causes mutations that is spread through sexual contact will necessarily involve s So I feel conflicted about this book. On the one hand, it's a very compelling read. I flew through it in two days despite the fact I only planned on reading it once I finished the two other books I have going right now. On the other hand, the things that drive the plot are sometimes just too predictable. Below are spoilers. . . . . . DON'T READ BELOW IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS. . . I get that a story about a disease that causes mutations that is spread through sexual contact will necessarily involve sex and perhaps even violent sex. I was disappointed in the way the rape of girls drives the plot in several instances. One girl, under the threat of being raped (by an adult), ends up dead and another girl only discovers her abilities after being raped. The only character that ends up not really damaged (or dead) and not acting like a psychopath is the "normal" (not Plague) boy, son of the preacher. All the other characters are traumatized in service of him getting to the point of (probably) leading a movement to unify the Plague kids and the normals. Despite a section in the book where the Plague kids reject being a symbol, the author uses them in service of furthering the evolution of the "normal" kid.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Lacey Young

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I absolutely loved this book! It was a little slow to start, and took a few chapters to really get into the story but from there I couldn't put it down. I particularly liked Dog as a character, and Goof. Every character was so well written, sometimes I find books that go from 1 character to another tend to lose some of the personality from its characters, and it can be hard to really get a feel for them, but I feel like I got to know and love every character. It very much feels like X-Men meets To I absolutely loved this book! It was a little slow to start, and took a few chapters to really get into the story but from there I couldn't put it down. I particularly liked Dog as a character, and Goof. Every character was so well written, sometimes I find books that go from 1 character to another tend to lose some of the personality from its characters, and it can be hard to really get a feel for them, but I feel like I got to know and love every character. It very much feels like X-Men meets To Kill a Mockingbird, bringing it together into a story that both the younger generation and older readers can enjoy and appreciate. Sheriff Burton was another favourite, I liked following his journey through all the emotions and how conflicted his thoughts became, although was hoping his character would live to see a better world for his son. I would have loved to have seen Dog escape and finally see the world as he always wanted it to be. A real rollercoaster of a book, with so many twists and turns.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    A quote from a book I finished recently (I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing) seems appropriate in a review of One of Us. "The theme of a book is more than what the book is about, it's about HOW the book is about what it's about.) One of Us is about the "other"; how we as a society, react to those different than we are: be it skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical disabilty or disfigurement, or any other thing than can be seen as different and a threat. I think the reason that this b A quote from a book I finished recently (I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing) seems appropriate in a review of One of Us. "The theme of a book is more than what the book is about, it's about HOW the book is about what it's about.) One of Us is about the "other"; how we as a society, react to those different than we are: be it skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical disabilty or disfigurement, or any other thing than can be seen as different and a threat. I think the reason that this book is so powerful is that the author treats this theme through a lens of dystopic horror, with a touch of zombie apocalypse tossed in for good measure. Horror is not a genre I enjoy, but the fact that Craig DiLouie saw this story as a horror story speaks to a fatal flaw in humanity. "Jake looked at his feet. Figuring out his old math problem. How to make human nature add up to something right." Recommended.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Before you begin reading this, know that I do have a job and a life. I look at some peoples reviews and wish I had the time they did. I’m only writing this because I do believe every person under the sun should read this. Wow. I haven’t read a book like this in a looong time. It took me two days to finish this book because there wasn’t a chance in the world I was putting it down. They’re plenty of times I’ve teared up, but the last couple paragraphs is where I started to really cry. Absolutely as Before you begin reading this, know that I do have a job and a life. I look at some peoples reviews and wish I had the time they did. I’m only writing this because I do believe every person under the sun should read this. Wow. I haven’t read a book like this in a looong time. It took me two days to finish this book because there wasn’t a chance in the world I was putting it down. They’re plenty of times I’ve teared up, but the last couple paragraphs is where I started to really cry. Absolutely astonishing and such a hit close to home, the perfect parallel to the world we live in. Two of my favorite lines... “Funny thing about the young. You think your life will go on forever but never think you have enough time to live it.” AND “For him, the important thing was to try. A single person trying didn’t make a difference. If enough tried, it could make all the difference in the world.”

  30. 3 out of 5

    Pam

    One of Us is a fairly straightforward and predictable tale about exclusionary tactics that create problems later on. It's power comes fromDiLouie's choice to immers readers in multiple points of view that shows the bad and the good are all various shades of gray; neither noble nor savage, pure nor completely tainted. Similar to Frankenstein, DiLouie pushes the theme that we are what we create in an X-Men in the South. Bonus points for the southern town and a heap of "bless your heart" sass Points One of Us is a fairly straightforward and predictable tale about exclusionary tactics that create problems later on. It's power comes fromDiLouie's choice to immers readers in multiple points of view that shows the bad and the good are all various shades of gray; neither noble nor savage, pure nor completely tainted. Similar to Frankenstein, DiLouie pushes the theme that we are what we create in an X-Men in the South. Bonus points for the southern town and a heap of "bless your heart" sass Points deducted for describing the breasts of the dead and having his characters get aroused Points deducted for all adult male POV characters all getting aroused by 14 yr old girls and justifying to themselves why it's ok. Bechdel: p DuVernay: fail PM: big ol' fail

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