In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.
In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.
She has an identical twin sister, Mira.
For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.
Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.
Twin sisters Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are the authors of The Rule of One dystopian series and the forthcoming Exiles duology. The sisters honed their love of storytelling in film school at the University of Texas at Austin. After just under a decade penning screenplays and directing commercials, the sisters deliberately stumbled into the world of novel writing. They vow to never leave it. The duo can be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba maté.
The Rule of One by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders is the first book in the young adult science fiction dystopian series by the same name. The story is told by alternating the point of view between the two twin main characters and is set in the not so far off future of the US.
Due to the shortage of food and supplies in the United States the government began enforcing the Rule of One, that no family shall have more than one child to curb the population. Everyone has followed that rule for decades with the exception of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division.
One of the most powerful men in Texas and in charge of enforcing the Rule of One has held a secret in his own household, one that his wife died for. Eighteen years ago Ava and Mira were born in secret and have shared their life switching back and forth to avoid detection but the twins live in fear of discovery.
The Rule of One by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders is a fast paced dystopian that takes off right away and doesn’t slow down. If anything I thought the majority of the story was well done in this dystopian tale but I did leave with a few questions that could have been answered with a bit deeper world building. However, that aside Ava and Mira’s predicament certainly grabbed my attention and made me want to know what would happen next.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
As the daughter of a twin who shouldn't have been born
I usually do much lengthier reviews, and I'll end up coming back and adding more to this, BUT... let me just say, that my mom and her twin sister were both born in China during WWII. In a small village in Manchuria, twins were still uncommon. Their mother was called every manner of insults, most notably animal names that denoted the kinds that bear litters. Women in their village did not have twins. If multiple pregnancies were suspected, the mothers took measures to have only one baby. Meaning, my mom, the second born, wasn't supposed to be here. But, my grandmother's love and tenacity put the wheels in motion that eventually brought me here. My mother has told me stories of walking to school when she was older and they'd moved to Hong Kong, and seeing orphaned children in the streets, and worse, dead babies thrown away in dumpsters... products of China's One Child Law. The reality and terror these two brilliant authors captured was mesmerizing and had me blow through this book in a couple hours. From the beginning the story that alternates between Ava and Mira's POV, moves fast and doesn't stop. These ladies took the idea of making your characters really go through it, to heart. While some slight details of the future are iffy, they are completely plausible seeing where we are already heading technology, government, fertility laws-wise, etc... And only near the last quarter did I feel the timeline might have a small error; but that doesn't affect the overall story, IMO. I absolutely lived this story, I only put it down to potty twice and take the dogs out, twice. I couldn't wait to jump back in. As a sister, I'm so thankful that these ladies didn't sugarcoat the deep seeded loathing that we sisters go through for one another. I felt their emotions... the resentment, the love, the guilt... this story resonated on so many levels for me, I just wanna say thank you, to the Saunders Sisters for an excellent read!
I usually don’t choose to read YA books, but the premise of “The Rule of One” sounded promising. Early on, I had mixed feelings about the book, though those changed as I kept reading.
I am not sure why some authors of YA books insert plot developments that don’t make sense. Older readers would probably question these flaws, and sometimes it almost feels like younger readers are treated differently, as if they won’t catch on to the obvious problems with the story. Beginning chapters describe tunnel systems that the twins use, some of them connecting public areas to their home. False fingerprints are available to keep up the charade. How could these tunnels or false fingerprints have been created without anyone else knowing or questioning the reasons for each?
The America we know today is gone, and the desolation between major cities (including the non-inhabited neighborhoods) points to a world where a strong federal government should not exist. With all the problems a city would face (overcrowding, a scarcity of food and water) it would seem the guards (police) would have better things to do than worry about finding one girl accused of treason. However, the manhunt follows the twins wherever they go. With dissatisfaction and unrest obviously present in the civilian population, you would think the guards would have more pressing duties to keep them occupied. As the effort to stay alive is a major part of the plot, I felt it wasn’t developed enough to cover some of the holes in the worldbuilding.
So what kept me reading?
First, the book is well-written. The descriptions are vivid, and the dialogue carries a feeling of reality. I wondered if the authors would be able to define the characters and separate their personalities (Ava and Myra split the storytelling, alternating chapters as the book progresses), and I am happy to report their success. While the differences are slight, I received a different impression from whoever was telling the story at the moment. Despite some of the issues mentioned above, it was the writing itself that convinced me to keep turning pages.
Second, I really liked the interplay between the two sisters, and the way their initial personalities blossomed during each crisis. The authors stayed strictly within the characters they had developed, and the discussions between Ava and Mira were engaging. This helped increase the tension as the story unfolded.
Lastly, near the end the plot takes a sudden twist and travels down a path I never expected. After this happened, I couldn’t read fast enough.
Bottom line: An engaging book with defined characters, very well-written with a slightly better than average plot. Some hiccups with the worldbuilding, but not enough to overwhelm the writing and storyline and cause me to stop reading. While I questioned the climax, I am sure there are others who will embrace it. Three stars.
First, the good: the writing was okay and the sisters' bond was emotional. I liked that there was no romantic subplot (especially not two sisters fighting over one boy), and some of the action was okay.
Now, the copious bad: This is a ripoff of a bunch of far better written and conceived dystopian fiction. The authors clearly read a bunch and decided to try their hands at it, but they needed way more editing and time to actually consider their story. Things are rushed and scattered, and some of the drama is pretty contrived, made moreso by the mediocre dialogue. Neither twin is particularly interesting; these are just your standard dystopian heroines.
The premise made virtually no sense. It's as if the authors did no research and made no attempts to follow the logic of their own imaginings. Apparently the one-child policy makes no allowances for twins, which...I can't follow the logic of that from a policy standpoint, but sure, I'll loosely accept it. But then grand claims are made about how enforced family planning is the root of all evil and the scourge of Freedom, capital F. Which is really kind of creepy as a message. There's a lot of talk about global politics, but the authors really are out of their depth, and nothing they say really makes sense on close examination. They want to make grand claims about the surveillance state and global warming, but they just don't know much about either.
This story only really works on the surface level of action and quest narrative. Don't try to find any deeper meaning in it, it's not any kind of sophisticated takedown of current affairs. It's beach fluff.
The humble umbrella. In a world where everyone is microchipped and food comes via a 3d printer, who’d have thought the umbrella would have endured as protection from the elements, privacy screen and even, weapon? This is the story of identical twins. They’re given alternating chapters but, as I couldn’t tell the difference between them , this was pretty pointless. The setting is a futuristic America, where climate change has done its damage and where the population is controlled by a mixture of Big Brother-style surveillance and a China-style one child policy. While the first part (with some interesting ‘world-building’ and identity-sharing scenarios) would have made a good short story, I found all the tramping through desolate landscapes quite boring, with just the occasional more exciting incident to drag me back. Now, where did I leave my umbrella…?
I received this from Netgalley for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.
Honestly, this book was SUCH a drag for me. I figured I should try some YA dystopia again since that was literally my shit before and I freaking loved it. This story offers nothing new, it's boring, it's predictable and the writing is was okay-ish. The two sisters we are shown are likeable (no, not all characters need to be likeable but it doesn't hurt when you feel like you've read a novel like 200 times before.)
Honestly, as far as the story comes - I'm not a fan and I think the authors would have done better with something else. The writing comes off at times at chopped but it isn't bad. The writing isn't lyrical or what I'd consider beautiful but it gets the message across and it wasn't hard to keep up. The book has two POVs, and honestly this threw me off. Separating between the twins is impossible, and to be honest made the reading experience worse.
However, I wouldn't recommend this further. There are better books out there, written better and with a story that engages and keeps you thinking about it after you've finished. This was not it for me.
Z klasyfikacją tej powieści nie mam problemu. Regał z fantastyką młodzieżową to właściwe dla niej miejsce. I chociaż autorki podążają szlakiem utartych schematów, to podziękowałbym im za brak wątku miłosnego. Tak. W tej książce nie znajdziecie infantylnego umizgiwania się nastolatków. Jest za to miłość ojca do córek. Bliźniaczek, które w państwie z zasadą jednego nie mogę legalnie funkcjonować. Bynajmniej nie obie jednocześnie. Powieść nabiera rozpędu w momencie, kiedy tajemnica wychodzi na jaw.
I tutaj uwydatniają się minusy. Dziewczyny w świecie, z którym przychodzi im zmierzyć się po raz pierwszy, radzą sobie wyjątkowo dobrze. Za dobrze. Do tego zmiana narracji z jednej na drugą siostrę, w zasadzie nie wnosi niczego, ponieważ obie mówią i myślą niemalże identycznie. Do tego stopnia, że pewnym momencie przestałem je od siebie odróżniać. I mimo że czyta się szybko i przyjemnie, to towarzyszy nieodparte "skądś już to znam". Jeżeli ktoś oglądał "What Happened to Monday", może nawet poczuć się jakby czytał prequel do tego filmu.
Debiut udany i jest potencjał na kolejne tomy, ale potrzeba autorkom pracy z dobrym redaktorem.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.
I was immediately intrigued by the concept of this book: identical twin sisters written by identical twin sisters. Ava and Mira are closer than most twins are, though not entirely by choice. The one child rule in this dystopian, near-future America means that they take turns going out into the world each day, and their struggle to maintain the facade of being a single person requires that they keep each other informed about every detail of their lives.
The lack of an ability to obtain a sense of individuality takes a toll on each of them, and the mixture of love and resentment between the sisters was a highlight of the novel. What must it be like when the person you love the most is also the reason you're unable to live a full live, the reason you're in constant danger? The Saunders sisters explore that ambivalence in this novel. On a similar note, I loved that this was a YA dystopian novel with no romance or (God forbid) a love triangle shoe-horned in for no discernible reason. The primary relationship in this book was between two sisters, which I found really refreshing.
That being said, some of the plot twists felt a bit too predictable, though maybe this is a product of reading a young adult novel as an adult. A lot of YA novels feel like they have the ability to appeal to a broader audience, but this one felt very YA. Teenagers will probably find this super compelling; older readers who have read more than a few dystopian novels will recognize the tropes and perhaps wish for something a bit more original.
The Rule of One was good for what it was: a novel that will hold a lot of appeal for teens. It was fast-paced with just enough twists to keep the reader engaged. I loved the concept of identical twins living as one person by necessity and the emotional consequences of that. The parts of the novel that addressed this issue were very strong, but I do wish there was more time devoted to it. Although it looks like there will be a book two; perhaps there will be more time to reflect on this in the second installment.
The Rule of One is about twin sisters sharing a single identity in an America that is full of propaganda and surveillance and has a one child rule. A story told about twins by twins as only they can tell what it must really be like. An own voices novel in a dystopian world filled with oppression, surveillance and rebellion stands out as these twin sisters fight for their right to live.
The Rule of One was a short fast paced read that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I found myself yelling at the book and the characters as the plot surprised me with twist after twist. This is quite the suspenseful read and I warn you now that you might have a hard time setting it down.
Told in alternating first person chapters Mira and Ava begin the novel sharing Ava's identity, but slowly carve out their own voices, becoming individuals. Mira has an especially hard time with this as she is the second born, and thus, the one that shouldn't have been born. Though the twins appear very similar in the beginning, as the novel goes on their differences become more apparent. Ava is the calm one who is meticulous about details. Mira is a bit more bold and emotional. Both their relationship and survival are challenged throughout this novel and it is interesting to watch these characters grow.
I have read some novels recently with similar ideas, Mirage and Impostors, but The Rule of One still manages to stand out with it's non-stop action and message of rebellion against oppression. I love that this story about twins is written by twins Ashley and Leslie Saunders. I would recommend this suspenseful dystopian to everyone, this book blew me away.
3.5-4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ I thought this was inventive and definitely showed the bond of twins as well as the individuality and differences between them. The story was tense and rugged because of the conditions the twins were in, and at the end, you only find the beginning. There is a lot to be said here about family and keeping hope, & focusing and just going forward. I could definitely see the marked differences as well as sometimes having to remind myself which twin was speaking. I also think it is awesome that they both wrote this. I want to see what happens here. I have to say though that it reminds me a bit of The Hunger Games.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Advance Review Copy of this book. Normally it would have taken me a while to get through it -- I don't have that much time to read -- but this one I finished in less than a week. It was a compelling and taughtly told adventure story which kept me reading long past when I should've gone to bed.
The basic premise of The Rule of One is that in a near-future United States, overpopulation and climate change have led to the rise of a fascistic state which controls the most intimate parts of the lives of the populace, including the number of children allowed per family: One. The problem for the Goodwin family? They have twin girls who, after 18 years of pretending to be one person, are exposed and forced to run for their lives.
One of the most fascinating elements of the book is that it is told in an alternating PoV, switching between the twins, allowing us to get to know each of them, their differences, their desires, and eventually their resentments towards each other. The authors are themselves identical twins and each took on the task of voicing one of the sisters in the book which creates a truthfulness inherent in the voices which would have been hard for an individual to accomplish.
While I am fully an adult, finding a good YA novel that sweeps you into another world, but tells you more about yourself, is my favorite kind of not-so-guilty pleasure! This is a hold-your-breath, while you turn-the-pages kind of series. You want to hear every word more clearly. Ava and Mira are exactly the kind of main characters you want to keep hanging out with. You want them to be your best friends, Your sisters, and mainly to march alongside them on every page bc they carry all the right kind of revolution in their dna. It’s hard to decide what to do with a dangerous secret in a dystopian world, but Ava and Mira are bringing the Me Too to the 1984 in a very well-balanced, fast paced narrative book that asks a lot of questions about not only a future world, but the world we live in. These are not your average protagonists. And this is a killer book.
With a 1984(George Orwell) vibe to it - we enter a dystopian future where you can only have one child- Insert the "Rule of One." The MCs are twin sisters who have hidden the fact that the two of them exist. When their existence is discovered, they must go on the run.
This book had a lot of potential but for me it was a little bland. It was a journey book, and they were always moving but it felt a little repetitive. We follow a duel POV of the twins. It was hard to remember which sister I was reading for most of the book because they literally were like the same person. Something about this was intriguing but it also lacked a solid plot. I am invested now and plan to read the next one but honestly- Not a whole lot happens in this one and I can not put my finger on what makes me want to continue with it.... Maybe I see where it COULD go?!?! I guess ....we shall see.
I was really looking forward to this book, sadly it was a high disappointment, and unusually for me, I gave up having only read a third of the book.
Teen literature at the moment is swamped with books set in a dystopian future, and this is no exception. However, what the authors failed to do was to fully realise their world. World-Building is essential in setting yourself apart from other books, the reader must be able to actualise and visualise the works you have created in their head. Sadly, the world kept morphing in mine. I'm sure that if I'd read on there would have been more exposition, but there were no solid foundations, and it just became too difficult to imagine coherently.
Added to which, there were also times when decisions were made by characters where I as the reader got no insight as to why they made that decisions. The book is seen and told in first person from the pov of the twins at the centre of the story. For some reason, despite the first person narrative, the characters were wholly underdeveloped. I felt I knew them from a sociological standpoint, but not a personal one.
Ultimately I felt this read more like a screenplay than a novel - which of course are two very different ways of telling a story. It doesn't surprise me then, that the authors of this book are filmmakers, writing their first novel.
I've wanted to read The Rule of One since I read the synopsis months ago. Thanks to NetGalley I received a copy to review. It only took me a few hours to finish the entire book.
Twins Ava & Mira Goodwin are the main 18 year old characters in a dystopian future where the government decrees each family can only have one child, everyone is microchipped & only government Guards have guns. Definitely not a world I'd like to live in.
Born in the future when only one child is allowed per family (aka "the Rule of One"), twins Ava and Mira have avoided detection for 18 years. But, what happens when the government is alerted to their illegal existence? Run, girls, run!
“The government may always be watching, but they do not always see.”
Well wow. Despite the plot being fairly simple and predictable, I was quickly drawn in by the sister's dilemma and the short chapters. I haven't read a dystopian novel in quite awhile, and my interest was piqued throughout as I followed Ava and Mira on their harrowing journey. Will they outrun the government intent on catching them? And, more importantly, will they be able to inspire a much-needed uprising?
"All [the US] needs is one spark, and change can spread like wildfire."
Bring on #2! ... welp never mind because a trusted friend shared that she didn't care for it.
The Rule of One is set in future America were climate change and overpopulation has changed everything. Water is in short supply, all food is 3D printed or otherwise lab grown, each citizen has a microchip in their wrist in which all information about them is stored. There are cameras everywhere and the government is in complete control of its citizens, including their reproductive rights. Each family is only allowed one child. 18-year-old Ava Goodwin’s father is head of Texas’ Family Planning Department, which gives them certain luxuries that others do not have. They live in a nicer part of town and Ava is able to attend a prestigious college where she has earned top ranks.
The only thing is, Ava has an identical twin sister named Mira. Mira and Ava have been pretending to be the one person for years. They have a secret area under their house where one twin spends her day while the other is above ground being Ava by going to college and living her life. At the end of each day, they spend the evening together, sharing everything that happened that day and working on homework, preparing for the next day. There is no room for mistakes in their life and their father has raised them to perfectly pull off this charade of a one-child family.
Even as flawlessly as they have convinced everyone Ava is an only child, Mira cannot stay hidden forever. Their secret is revealed and in the chaos that ensues, their father gives them a box and tells them to get out of the city. He has prepared a kit for them to escape to safety. But nowhere is safe anymore and Ava and Mira must travel as fugitives trying to stay alive while their father is punished for the crime.
This book was super fast paced with the first few chapters showing Mira and Ava in their everyday routine, but things quickly change and we are thrown into their life on the run. They encounter lots of interesting characters along the way and situations that leave you on the edge of your seat. The descriptions of everything are incredibly vivid and make you feel as if you are running for your life right alongside Ava and Mira.
The story is told in alternating chapter perspectives. It is interesting to see how even though these girls have been raised so closely and to act as one person, they are complete individuals. They each react to situations differently and eventually have very different ideas about the world and how they will continue to survive. We get to be inside each girls mind and learn the resentments they ultimately have toward each other and the life they lead.
Another thing to note, the authors of The Rule of One are identical twin sisters, Ashley and Leslie Saunders. I think this brings such an interesting perspective to the entire story as we get an authentic look into how close twins really are with each other as well as how painful it can be when the closeness fades.
Overall, this story was completely compelling. I think one of the reasons dystopian novels appeal to readers now is because of things happening in the world today. These types of situations don’t seem that far off from where we are; we can see a future where things like The Rule of One are possible. It’s terrifying because it hits so close to home.
Twin sisters illegally born in a not too distance future where, due to overpopulation, the United States has adopted a strict one child policy... what a premise! I was lucky enough to grab an advanced reader's edition of The Rule of One. It's so refreshing to find a novel in the YA genre that doesn't rely on a romantic relationship (or two!) to carry the narrative. The true fabric of The Rule of One relies on the bond between twin sisters Ava and Mira. Part coming of age, part dystopia, what impressed me the most was the ease at which the authors weave both nature and humanity throughout that would make Steinbeck proud. This story is unique to twins, but universally felt by anyone with a strong connection to family. I definitely recommend this book and I can't wait for the sequel!
Note: I am currently on a hiatus from reviewing. I need a bit of a break from the pressures of reading, so I'm just going with the flow this year. I'll obviously still be reading, but at my own pace and when I feel like it. Thank you for understanding!
Thank you to amazon publishing for my copy I won in a giveaway. All opinions are my own. I'm not usually a fan of dystopian but I thought this book sounded really good. I enjoyed the writing and the plot but there were parts that were slow for me. There were enough things going on to keep the pages turning. I would recommend this book if you're a fan of dystopian.
Thank you NetGalley and Skycrape for the eGalley in exchange for an honest review!
I originally started The Rule of One back when I was first approved for it at the beginning of fall but I just was in a weird reading slump and I eventually gave up. From the description of The Rule of One is sounds a lot like the Netflix movie What Happened to Monday which I really enjoyed and had the same concept: the government is controlling population by limiting families to only having one child.
Ava and Mira are twins in the United States of America and because of that they illegal. "One child, one nation." The phrases that haunts them everyday. Alternating day by day the girls play the role of Ava Goodwin the eighteen year old daughter of the man in charge on the one child policy. After one fateful incident everything Ava and Mira spent eighteen years working on and hiding is unraveling and their only option is to run.
I really enjoyed the idea behind The Rule of One. With climate change at its height and the United States in an uproar the one child act seems like the perfect solution to over population, but really it is just another from of oppressing an already oppressed society. But no body plans what happens in the cases of multiples. I found the world to be interesting and I was eager to learn more. I do wish certain things were more clarified and made clearer but I am hoping that that will change in the following book.
I liked Ava and Mira's characters but I feel like there where times I couldn't decipher which POV I was reading from. It began to bleed together. I am not sure if this was purposely done because they are suppose to be exactly the same person and huge chunk of the book is them discovering what makes them unique and their own person.
I did feel bad for Mira at times because she was the "second twin" which is basically the unwanted one. If their mother was caught by the government while she was pregnant she would have been forced to keep Ava and give up Mira. Giving up Mira would have meant Mira would have lived in a labor camp and lived a short painful life. We watch as Mira's guilt eats at her through out the novel and how they guilt fuels her in different ways. Though I liked Ava there was times that I found her rather cold and not sympathetic to her sister. I found her to be self absorbed at times and not putting herself in Mira's shoes. Ava was the twin who was wanted, she had the microchip that made them Ava Goodwin. She got everything that Mira couldn't.
I did find The Rule of One interesting and I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but there was a 20% chunk of the book where I feel like nothing interesting happened. It felt more like filler then parts needed for the plot. This book was rather short too, less than 300 pages so 20% was a rather decent chunk.
Overall I did enjoy The Rule of One and am looking forward to see how the ending of this book is going to play out in the sequel that releases in May.
This book came to me as an Amazon first read, and I really, really wanted to like it.
The beginning was promising; we follow a set of twins living in a world where only one child is allowed (I spent most of the time I was reading craving an egg roll). They take turns spending days above ground and while one sister attends college, the other hides in a basement bunker.
The POV switches back and forth between the sisters, which is my first problem with this book. The twins (Ava and Mira) do not have distinct voices. I often forgot which twin was supposed to be narrating. I understand that they’ve spent their whole lives living as one person, but what was the point of giving them each a POV if not to explore their individual thoughts and feelings?
A few side characters seemed to have no point whatsoever. I don’t need to know every detail of each supporting character’s background story, but maybe some character development would be nice.
This brings us to the world building - I want to know why only one child per family is allowed (unfortunately, it’s touched on but never truly discussed). I want to know why the country is in the state that it’s in. I want to know how the average person lives in this world. I want to understand the thought process behind the technology - At several points they mention facial recognition software being deceived by makeup, but my iPhone X seems to recognize me with or without makeup, sunglasses, hats, and with various hair colors & still manages to keep out the various family members I’ve tried to trick it with. Is the futuristic software truly less advanced than what’s installed on the phone I mainly use to send my friends ugly snapchats?
Finally, let’s talk plot. I thought that this story would be action packed. It wasn’t. If it wasn’t full of action, I thought it would at least have some character development and world building. It didn’t.
Overall this book was a disappointment & completely packed substance.
The US has deteriorated into a military state where everyone is monitored, controlled, and microchipped. The elite rule and the masses suffer. There is also a rule that every couple is only allowed to have one child (so as not to strain the limited resources). Ava and Mira are identical twins that with the help of their father, have managed to survive by adhering to a complicated schedule that allows each of them to live as Ava for a 24 hour period. It is only a matter of time before they are caught; however, getting caught might be exactly what the country needs to shake up the current government.
I rather liked this one. It gave me a similar feeling as Legend, but with some key differences. 1) There is no romance, which surprisingly I liked. Instead, we have two sisters who are very close. That closeness is threatened once Mira no longer has to live her life as Ava, yet is it still clear they love each other very much. 2) So far, it is a one-sided storyline. We don't have a West Side Story thing going on. Ava and Mira are firmly against the villain and his government and anyone who represents them. There isn't any complicated crush on the other side......yet. Perhaps the author is leaving that for next time. It should be interesting to see where this story takes us now that both girls have independent identities and a clear, united, focus.
I really like the world building by this author. We are (or at least were) in a world with exponential family growth, and one of those ways the government could consider solving the crisis is limiting the births for each family. In this story, each family can only have one child - but one of the leaders of the Texas Division for Family Planning is a twin. Then her family is found out, and they have to go on the run. I look forward to seeing what happens in book two of this series.
Interesting premise, poorly executed. The characters were shallow, there were glaring plot holes, and ridiculous behavior from the protagonists. Some of that might be excused by their adolescence, but still. This could have been engaging but was very disappointing.
This fell short of other dystopian YA novels because the cracks were too easy to see.
1. There is no setting. Novels like Divergent, The Maze Runner or Red Rising start in a confined area, defining the scope of their dystopian world and letting you normalize their dystopia. Only after the first book do they throw you into "the world beyond the walls." This book immediately throws you out of the dystopia and never describes a setting. Are non-urban areas supposed to be ghost-towns, or are these existing small towns ok? What lets these small towns survive? Beyond Dallas, the settings and descriptions are really vague. Oklahoma blends into Colorado blends into Wyoming blends into Montana.
2. The idea of forbidding twins is super extreme. The authors should have looked into how China dealt with twins, or else they should have added in genetic editing and embryo modification. If this dystopia really controlled the existence of twins for generations, it would've been easier to erase the fact that twins are possible, so people don't even know what twins are. It's easier to wipe the existence away then to forbid something. Ignorance is the key to control.
3. The "rebellious nature of teens" aside, the characters of this novel are really unbelievable. They're smart (well yeah, when you have two people doing one person's homework...). They've got socio-economic class. There's no sense of them struggling to prove themselves in the dystopia only to have reality slap them in the face. It's just...reality slaps them in the face and all I can think is "oh boo f***ity hoo." This is exacerbated by the lack of "setting." We see no normalcy in the twins' lives, or how they survived surveillance society from one day to the next. The book starts with them immediately breaking the "rules of the game." Rule after rule is broken within the first few chapters. There's no way they would have managed to survive 18 years playing "the game" if they think it's ok to break twenty different rules in one day. If the surveillance of this dystopia is as the authors try to make it, one detail gone amiss should be enough for them to be alert and on edge. But nope, they're totally fine doing things their way. Every time they appear somewhere they are automatically in control. Even the resistance is just like "oh, our hope, our saviors! Make one decision and we'll throw our manpower and abilities behind what you want to do as if we haven't spent all our lives, for generations, forming plans on how to topple the government." Wait, what?
5. Non-Ava and non-Mira characters don't stick around. I really appreciate the fact that there's no cloying teen love interest (yet?), but there're no other strong characters. Frankly, I have no belief that they can survive entirely on their own, yet they can navigate and survive wilderness for hundreds of miles alone? There is no wariness of strangers () because there's no time to develop relationships. Psh, who needs relationships when the twins have each other. And when it's just the two of them, having opposing narration every other chapter is so, incredibly, frustratingly, pointless. Even in the midst of their "fight" the two voices don't come across as two voices. To me, this lack of supporting characters came off as self-absorption on the part of the authors.
6. Even more incredulous? People have assumed identities and the novel continues along where nobody ever calls a person by their assumed name. Why bother having fake identities if everyone goes around calling each other by the names they should be trying to hide? The lack of research into technology really grows from there. With the fake identity, the authors never explain how personal scents are hidden for extended periods of time, yet Scent Drones are such a big part of the manhunt in this book. And pine scent to hide personal scent? Really? If Scent Drones do surveillance, you'd think they be equipped with something like heat sensors at least and flagging why moving bodies smell like trees. There's absolutely no reason why a government hell-bent on surveillance would keep different sensors separate.
7. Too dramatic. Seriously. The writing style begins to sound rote. It goes something like this: "I verb, like some dramatically unnecessary metaphor. I watch my twin. She verb. I can tell something totally obvious because some phrase that basically means "we're twins"." The authors blatantly force the imagery, because why bother having the girls do something that makes them worthy of being the face of the rebellion when we know it's going to happen. Nope, no time to waste, the twins are the face of the rebellion before they even know it.