One of the Good Ones
by Maika & Maritza Moulite
Released on January 5th, 2021
Published by Inkyard Press
Young Adult Fiction—Contemporary, Mystery
The Hate U Give meets Get Out in this honest and powerful exploration of prejudice in the stunning novel from sister-writer duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.
ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?
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.
Disclaimer: I was provided a digital galley via Edelweiss+ and my employer in return for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion.
One of the Good Ones is a heartbreaking and thought-evoking story about the bond between sisters and the grief and trauma one can experience when put in difficult and inhumane situations.
Maika and Maritza Moulite are brilliant storytellers who are easily capable of making one clutch the book as they read each word. Their writing style is easy to grasp, and it became hooking as the book progressed. The Moulites make it to where one can slip into the story and feel the emotion and feelings of each of the characters. They wove their words in such intricate ways that made it possible for it to feel as though you were watching the actions and dialogue and experiences all happen before your eyes instead of within the letters pieced together.
It was a bit difficult to get into One of the Good Ones at first, though. This book is very slow going for the first 40% or so. Pacing-wise, it is not a favorite. It could be felt that the story could have progressed faster, and while liking the drawn-out chapters and different points of view, it was a bit disorienting at times until acclimating toward the halfway point of the book. At the center of the story, it appeared that the pacing got a bit quicker. This was partly due to a major plot twist that had been completely unexpected but anticipatory to see.
The characters were easy to connect with and like. Happi’s character is quite different from that of her sisters. She feels disconnected from her family, and because of that, she is slightly resentful about it and closes herself off from her sisters and parents. On the other hand, you have both Kezi and Genny. Genny is a bit older than her younger sisters and takes on a more guardian-like role while acting as a middle ground between the sisters and their parents. Kezi is the middle child who stood up for what she believed in and laid the ground points for where she felt she was needed and where she wanted to be. Their characters all together were put through a lot of development from beginning to end. It was interesting to see how the Moulites took on their characters and the changes they made as the story progressed. They were noticeably well-written, and it was hard to come to terms that one cannot reach through the page and give a supportive hug or helping hand.
Along with this, the supporting characters were also very interesting to see and hear from. While it could be felt that Ximena and Jared’s characters could have used a bit more foundation than what they were given, the other characters—Shaqueria, Evelyn, Mark—were all very well-attended to in their design and build. It can easily be said that readers could feel disgust and anger towards Mark’s character in particular.
The plot was one that became addicting later on in the story. With the twist that was revealed and the beginning, middle and end of the road trip Genny, Happi, Ximena and Jared partook in, readers were put through a rollercoaster of emotions, anticipating each and every word as desperation to discover what would come next settled in.
Overall, One of the Good Ones was a fantastic, memorable story that will forever have a space in my mind. And for that, I rate it 4.5 stars. I am disappointed I waited so long to read from the Moulite sisters, and I look forward to picking up their previous release, as well as any future titles they have planned.
Maika Moulite is a Miami native and the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She loves writing: books, think pieces, journal entries, neverending lists, you name it. When she’s not scribbling every random thought into her notes app, she’s sharpening her skills as a Howard University PhD student. (That means more writing.) Her research focuses on representation in media and its impact on marginalized groups. She’s the eldest of four sisters and loves audiobooks, fierce female leads, and laughing.
Maritza Moulite graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in women’s studies and the University of Southern California with a master’s in journalism. She’s worked in various capacities for NBC News, CNN, and USA TODAY but her favorite roles were Head Start literacy tutor and pre-k teacher assistant. She loved working with young people so much that she is now a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania exploring ways to improve literacy through children’s media. She clearly couldn’t get enough of school. Her favorite song is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire.