A shockingly powerful exploration of the lasting impact of prejudice and the indomitable spirit of sisterhood that will have readers questioning what it truly means to be an ally, from sister-writer duo Maika Moulite 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.
Having recently read Maika and Maritza Moultie’s debut novel, Dear Haiti, Love Elaine, we were elated to get our hands on a copy of their newest novel, One of the Good Ones. Maika and Maritza are a sister duo that authors Young Adult novels that blend relevant historical events with those of issues of today.
The novel One of the Good Ones follows sisters Genny and Happi on a cross country trip with friends Ximena and Derek to visit and see stops that were once mentioned in the Negro Motorist Green Book. This trip is in commemoration of Genny and Happi’s sister, Kezi (17 years old), who was killed when she went to a protest for the unlawful killing of a Black man. Kezi is a studious and vibrant teen who is passionate about history, culture, and activism. Her death takes everyone by surprise, yet offers them a reflective moment to do better and to be better. This novel although centered on activism and black history in the United States is not without a giant, unexpected plot twist.
We rate this novel a 3.5 out of 5. The premise of the novel is great. It is an excellent introduction to Black History in the United States as it is mostly centered around these historical moments. The development of the story line seemed choppy and it was hard to maintain focus with the many different viewpoints and how often they switched. There were viewpoints of Evelyn from over 80 years ago, viewpoints of Kezi (various different moments), viewpoints of Happi before and after the event, and a few others. They did not flow seamlessly so at times it could seem as if you were reading a completely different novel. We feel that the multiple perspectives interrupted the development of the characters to the point that they seemed very superficial. It was hard to really grasp on to their specific characteristics. Also, the novel attempts to bring attention to several issues: church/religion and the black family, LGBTQ, activism, Black History, familial relationships, teen relationships, teen angst, the child welfare system, drug trafficking, and a few others. Because there are so many issues, most are not mentioned with depth and continuity. This adds to the choppiness of the storyline as most of these issues are skimmed with little resolution.
The Good: A great introduction to historical events in Black History.
The Bad: Too many unresolved or skimmed situations and unnecessary characters.
Is It Worth the Buy? Meh. Depends on the audience.
*Side note* I really, really wanted to fall in love with this one… I just couldn’t. It seemed to drag for me.
As everyone’s experiences are different, I would love to hear your thoughts if and when you read this.