cover image One of Us

One of Us

Jeannie Waudby. Running Press Teens, $16.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7624-5799-1

This provocative thriller, Waudby’s debut, is set in a modern society divided between everyday citizens and the minority Brotherhood, a quasi-religious group that is the target of discrimination and institutionalized oppression. As the two sides move toward Reconciliation, terrorist attacks from the Brotherhood threaten to destabilize such efforts. After narrowly surviving a bombing, 15-year-old orphan K is recruited by the police to go undercover with the Brotherhood in hopes of ferreting out its radical elements. Instead, she finds acceptance and another side to the story, as well as the beginnings of romance. Increasingly distrustful of her handler, K—now known as Verity—tries to break free in order to dictate her own destiny. In making the details of K’s world generic, Waudby draws on universal themes that can speak to almost any “us vs. them” conflict, be it religious, ethnic, or cultural. However, knowing so little about the setting—such as why the conflict exists in the first place or what makes the Brotherhood distinct—also distracts from the story, weakening an otherwise compelling narrative with a strong protagonist, relatable characters, and tense plotline. Ages 13–up. (Nov.)