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One of the Good Ones

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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.


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.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published January 5, 2021

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Maika Moulite

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,006 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
603 reviews87.3k followers
February 20, 2021
Once I got what was going on in this book I was really impressed with the writing and how it all pieced together. These sisters have such a unique and distinct writing style, and in this case they took on the task of jumping around in history and to different characters. For a bit I was kind of like why for some of the perspectives, but when it comes together it turns the story into something totally different than what I had expected and it was really fascinating. I don't want to say much more on that because I think it's best to go in to not knowing a lot, but just know it isn't your typical contemporary. I enjoyed the historical information that was scattered through the story, it fit into the narrative really well. The sisters were a pleasure to follow as they try and navigate life after losing their sister in a tragic incident. You get the perspective of the late sister before her death, and of the youngest sister, and I do kind of wish we had the perspective of Genny as well, but that didn't take that much away from enjoying the book. There were a lot of perspectives so I get why it was left out. Not at all what I was expecting to read, but not in a bad way! I'm really eager to see what these sisters come out with next.
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
623 reviews1,925 followers
December 12, 2022
*Thank you to the publisher -Inkyard Press- for sending me an ARC for their Winter 2021 blog tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

✧ you can read an excerpt of this book on my blog

To be honest, I am not much of a contemporary reader but when I am in the mood, this is the writing style that my brain mechanisms thrive in. It’s an understatement to say that I was touched.

I love that it was told in multiple perspectives with timelines switching before, during, and after the looming arrest that served as the catalyst for the plot. It created layers to the story and did a lot to build the relationships between the characters.

I am completely soft for stories centered around a family/community and this book about sisters, written by sisters, encapsulates all the emotions that I wanted it to bring.

— overall thoughts: 4.5 —
trigger warnings//

An equally strong plot and character driven story that will get you lost in the writing.

If I were to describe the story telling style, I would say it’s closest to Daisy Jones & The Six wherein you go through the process of piecing together the details of the story as the narration goes on. Clearly, I have a type since I have read Daisy Jones four times now. I just find that kind of writing style to be highly thought provoking as a reader. With the fact that it managed to turn a usually-contemporary-plot into a mystery/thriller… I stan.

Truthfully, my favorite aspect of it boils down to the fact that you see the way everything builds up to the twist in the end. Then when it drops, you’re left wondering why you didn’t see it from the very beginning.

“But as I sit here and contemplate all of these things I know as confidently as my own name, I realize you probably have no idea why I want to pursue this degree in the first place. Well, it’s because I’ll be able to dig into our stories. I can do my part to help pull together the threads of our past to form a better view of our historical tapestry.”

PLEASE. Do you see this writing?? T_T

There were discussions on teen activism and exploration on socio-political themes embedded all throughout the plot of the story… while still being a, well, thrilling thriller that is borderline coming-of-age. And really, I am always enamored by well-written sibling/family dynamics.

There are times when I find characters in YA contemporary novels to be unbelievable because of how they interact with people their age… but this was not that. It’s so cleverly written and executed while still being relatable to young adults of this generation. You’re given the chance to be able to get attached to each of the sisters between everything that is going on (including side characters wink wink).

This was truly a timely book when I read this with what went down in the US. It's truly disheartening to see how differently you can be treated simply based on your skin color and this book explores all of that.

↣ Fast-paced, exciting, and emotional mystery/thriller with characters that feel like you’ve known them forever.

This might turn into one of my most recommended books.

12/02/20: I have decided to make this the first book I'm going to read for 2021 to celebrate me getting an ARC for one of my most anticipated releases of the next year.


9/25/20: fingers crossed that my favorite people from inkyard press pull through for the arc of this one or i might get broken hearted

chat with me on ⤳ instagram
Profile Image for ScrappyMags.
597 reviews243 followers
January 29, 2021
January 2021 reading starts with an INCREDIBLE read!

Shortest Summary Ever: Kezi Smith, a popular YouTube teen influencer, dies mysteriously and becomes a rallying case for a BLM-type movement. Kezi left behind a legacy and a family that wishes to preserve it, so sister Happi (who is anything BUT), older sister Genny , and Kezi’s bestie embark on a trip Kezi had planned out using the segregation-era Greenbook for Negro Motorists as a map. And then a crazy, life-altering ride begins.

Thoughts: There’s so much I need to discuss without giving spoilers. The book is amazing and completely unexpected. I loved it, I highly recommend it, and it’s honestly a mystery (if I wanted to define the genre) mixed with a deep social issue. The sister dynamic was explored exquisitely through Happi, who feels so much of what grief brings - guilt, sadness, worry, incredulity, while battling through a black-sheep-strained relationship with her pastor parents. This struck home with me as I had 12 years of parochial schooling jammed into me. Happi is pure rebellion - questioning, asking, wondering - all of it related to so much of my personal journey. With sharp writing and these intricate characters, the Moulites weave a tale that’s a patchwork of pure genius.

The issue is that (for me) the twist changed the focus and I think it missed a chance to be truly POIGNANT. That twist, in my opinion made this less about treatment by police because it went to a place that was rare and isolated and not likely. Had it kept with the narrative? Like I said - poignant, the book I want to teach my middle schoolers. I respect the angle - it’s different than anything I saw coming and I enjoyed the book IMMENSELY, but that twist - I’d like to take that part out and keep it grounded in reality delving into the whole “good ones “ mentality where if you are black you are either a “good one” - good student, kind, no issues or a “thug” - in trouble, okay for society to ignore.

You have to read it so we can talk!

All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication.

Genre: Mystery/Contemporary Fiction

Recommend to: All my middle schoolers, those looking for something new and different.

Not recommended to: If you’re burned out on current issues like BLM, LGBTQ issues, or particularly religiously sensitive.

Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Inkyard Press for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review and for days and days of pondering an thinking over this one. Well done.
Profile Image for BookOfCinz.
1,390 reviews2,277 followers
October 16, 2020
THE HATE U GIVE meets GET OUT perfectly captures this book…. And more!

The book seeks to answer, who is one of the “good” ones and what exactly makes them a “good” one. Why are some considered good and others considered bad? As the blurb said, “Isn’t being human enough?”

In One Of The Good Ones we meet three sisters, Kezi, Happi and Genny. Kezi Smith is Social Activist with a strong YouTube following. On her channel she talks history and advocate for Black Lives. Off YouTube she has perfect grades and is on track to attending a great University. While she’s got everything going for her, her sister Happi cannot seem to stand her and while she’s got a very public life, she’s got a secret she doesn’t want anyone finding out. In an effort to take her activism offline Kezi attends her very first social justice rally, ends up getting arrested and killed under mysterious circumstances.

Kezi’s death ends up being a catalyst for “change”, she is made into someone as a martyr and everyone once again is holding up Kezi as one of the good ones who did not need to die. With her death everyone is an activist who all of sudden sees the need for change. Kezi’s sister Happi is annoyed by this but does not know exactly what to do, especially seeing that they didn’t have a great relationship and on their last interaction Happi told her sister to leave her alone.

A few months after the death of Kezi, Genny, the oldest sister thought it would be a great idea to go on a road trip that Kezi was planning. Before her death Kezi, using The Negro Motorist Green Book as a guide planned an entire trip to see places that were haven for black people back in the day. While on this road trip Genny and Happi, along with Dwight and Ximena ends up learning way more than they bargained for.

When I finished this book I had to go right to bed because my mind was blown. I had to sleep off the bookish hangover and I recommend you do the same once you finish this book. There is a whole lot going on in this book, and when I say whole lot, I mean it, you’ve got:

Unlawful killing of a Black girl
Social Activist
Black History
Generation sins and curses
Coming out with Christian parents
Unrealistic expectation
How to be an ally

Yes, a lot is happening, but it all comes together expectably and surprisingly well. I love how the Moulite sisters came together and wrote a stellar sophomore novel that highlights so many necessary topics that we need to keep reading about.

As with their debut novel which was rich with history, in this book we get a deep look behind how The Negro Motorist Green Book guide came about and why there was a need for it. How Maika and Maritza are able to seamlessly teach us through their writing is something that I always admire. I learned about Black Cowboys, Sundown Towns and what they are and Claudette Colvin. I think what stood out most for me was how the story of Claudette Colvin tied into what it means to be a “Good one”. You will learn once you pick up this book.
While I don’t have a sister, I get the feeling that they wrote sisterhood and family really well. I really enjoyed how they wrote relationships, history and how grief differs for everyone else. I also loved that there was a major twist that I did not see coming.

There were a few things that didn’t work for me, I felt the writing was very heavy handed in driving the point of “one of the good ones” home. At one point I wanted to scream… “I GET IT!” but maybe it is a reminder for people who don’t get it. I also felt that the end wrapped up a bit too quickly, seriously too quickly and more time could have been spend fleshing it out. I also felt some plot points were very predictable. I received an arc so the family tree was not included but I see the finished version will have so that will help people like me who would not be able to keep track.

Overall, I can see a lot of persons reading this book and falling in love with it. I hope they won’t forget the message the author wants to drive home.

Definitely add this to your watch list!
Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,295 followers
June 9, 2021
This was my first read by author and sister duo Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite, and I’m sure it won’t be my last! After the success of their debut Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, I was excited to see what their sophomore novel would include.

Written through the roving perspectives of four young women: Kezi, Happi, Shaqueria and Evelyn, we are told about America through the eyes of those who are most dismissed by it. The story picks up following the untimely death of Kezi Smith, who died suddenly after being arrested at a social justice rally. We are given flashbacks to Kezi’s days before that arrest as well as her sister Happi’s struggle to come to terms with it in present day. Happi and their sister Genny take off on a trip across the US using the Motorist Green Book as their guide—the exact trip Kezi was planning to take when she was alive.

I read this one as well as listened to it, so I also want to take a moment to shout out the narrators: Bahni Turpin, Jordan Cobb and Carolyn Smith. They did an excellent job capturing the voices of these complex and distinct characters and brought so much of the story to life. I can’t recommend the audiobook enough, which is currently available on Hoopla for free with no wait time!

I try to write my reviews sans spoilers, but I don’t think I can do this full one without including some this time. If you haven’t read the book skip what is under the tags here because it will ruin a major twist near the end. The short of it is that I did NOT like this twist.

I was disappointed with the last third of this book. But I’m not going to mark it down too much because of that since I still really enjoyed their writing and the rest of the story. I just wish that the authors decided to go in another direction with this one, though based off of the other reviews I’m clearly in the minority. I’d still like to read more from them going forward, but maybe I’ll just stick to ones that don’t feature “mysterious deaths”.

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
January 21, 2021
"But we are more than the good ones. We are the bad ones. We are the okay ones. We are the amazing ones. We are the nothing-to-write-home-about ones. We are the beautiful ones. We are just...ones."

What a great book! Kezi is a popular YouTuber, a straight a student, a social activist, and the apple of her parents eye - she is “one of the good ones“. On Kezi‘s 18th birthday she goes against the wishes of her parents and attends a protest for a man who was recently killed by the police. Never expecting that after that day people would be marching for justice for her. Three months after Kezi‘s death her sisters jenny and Happi embark on a road trip that Kezi had previously planned out. The road trip is a journey down the famous route 66 using the Negro Motorist Green book. A Book 1st published in 1936 that gave the traveler information as to places that black people were welcome to Lodge, get gas, and eat. I fell down a little bit of a Google rabbit hole when I was doing some research on this book and it was so informative, I truly am quite uneducated when it comes to some of these things that were going on. For example there were towns that were called “sundown towns” where the black people in the town we’re not allowed out after dark or the unthinkable.

The story is told by both Kezi and her sister Happi. We get Kezi’s story leading up two her death. We also get Happi’s story starting three months after her perfect sister is killed. Both these characters had such big bold vibrant personalities that jumped off the pages. Kezi really wanted to leave her mark on the world, but she had her own flaws and secrets. Happi was struggling with the fact that she didn’t get to know her big sister Kezi when she had an opportunity to. The theme of “one of the good ones“ was touched on throughout the story. What makes somebody good or not? There upbringing? Their education? Their past? Their wealth? and if everyone knew all of Kezi’s secrets would they still think she was good? I really loved the road trip in the story and the places they stopped along the way - especially the big car circle ( I don’t know what it’s really called) and the black rodeo. There is also a thriller element to the story and a bit of a twist. I’m going to be honest I still am not 100% certain how I feel about that? for that reason I’m going to give this book 4.5 and round it up, so close to perfect. and the audio was exceptional!

This book in emojis 📱 📸 🚗 🎭 🐎 🌵 🏕

*** Big thank you to Ink Yard Press for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for eli ♡ .
160 reviews140 followers
July 20, 2021
(ar: 3.7/5)

note: there is a major spoiler included here, but it's in the spoiler tag.

"One of The Good Ones" is an adequate novel with somewhat-developed characters, interesting stories, and average storytelling. It's a book full of history, culture, advocacy, and a sprinkle of crazy. This book had a similar theme when compared to "The Hate U Give", but took a completely different turn that I wouldn't have thought about. Though, whether that turn was good or not may be subjective to the reader.

≻───── ⋆✩⋆ ─────≺≻───── ⋆✩⋆ ─────≺


Happi, Genni, and Kezi are sisters, but they don't act like it. Genni and Kezi always talk to each other, confide in each other, and depend on one another. But Happi doesn't have that same relationship with the two. Happi is nearly 10 years apart from Genni, and Happi always feels like Kezi is in her business. So when it's Kezi's 18'th birthday and she decides to go to a protest, Happi has an argument with Kezi at school about Kezi always being in her business. But Happi didn't realize that this would be the last time she would ever talk to Kezi again after Kezi dies while in a jail cell. As Genni, Happi, and their parents grieve Kezi's death, Genni decides to organize a 2-week trip with Ximena, Derek, and Happi that will commemorate Kezi's life. While on the trip, Happi tries to come closer with Genni and Ximena, and hopefully mend her friendship with Derek. But things don't always go as planned.

≻───── ⋆✩⋆ ─────≺≻───── ⋆✩⋆ ─────≺

This story is told in first person and third person, which I found very interesting. We switch from Kezi's POV, to Happi's POV, to Shaqueria's POV, and a third-person story of Evelyn, who was Happi's grandmother. Shaqueria is an 18-year-old orphan who is in some bad business. Or more specifically, she's a Black girl who sells drugs. Shaqueria went to an audition in L.A. to try and get out of the bad business and start over, but that isn't how things go. One thing leads to another at a bad transaction, and Shaqueria's in a police car with Kezi during the protest.

I really enjoyed how this story is written. When I'm reading the story, the chapters are titled based on how early or how long after Kezi's arrest, which is what this whole story is centered around. It was interesting to read how all the characters history and decisions intertwine with one another because it added a lot of depth to the story. I really didn't expect this book to have so much depth and meaning, to be honest.

The main characters had a lot of development and were really realistic. Happi's grief is really devastating to read about because the last words she said to her sister were words of hate and she had an unappreciative attitude for her sister. This really weighs down Happi as she reflects on her relationship with Kezi, and I liked how we were shown a raw version of her grief. As for Kezi, she developed as well, and this can be seen in the end of the book. But we'll get into that soon. Genni didn't have as much development in the story, but she most definitely developed a relationship with Happi after Kezi's death.

But one of the things I didn't like about this book was the ending. I had to talk about this because this was the reason that this book isn't rated higher. That whole mess was unnecessary, but I guess they did it to show that we only care about Black people who died if they were "a good person" or if they had "a promising future". But any other Black person who died the same way who might've been a drug dealer, grew up in the ghetto, or just "didn't contribute to society" didn't matter. I liked that the authors made that point, I just wish they didn't have to do it in such a dramatic way.

To be honest, my thoughts about "One Of The Good Ones" are all over the place. But I guess that's because this book was great in some aspects, and wild in others. I still enjoyed the read a lot because of the development and the message that's told throughout the story, but I strongly disliked the unnecessary parts of this story. I loved seeing the LGBTQIA+ representation with Kezi and Ximena's relationship, and I loved the Black history that the authors so easily involved in the story. But I don't think I can read this again because it would be too much.

⊱ ──────ஓ๑♡๑ஓ ────── ⊰⊱ ──────ஓ๑♡๑ஓ ────── ⊰⊱

a quote from this book I liked:
I know that existing as a human on this Earth should be enough to deserve respect and justice. But it isn't. Instead, we focus on those who we deem worthy, for whom we allow ourselves to feel the weight of their loss. We mention potential not reached or promise of greatness gone unfulfilled, while others are erased from existence all together.
But we are more than the good ones.
We are the bad ones.
We are the okay ones.
We are the amazing ones.
We are the nothing-to-write-home-about-ones.
We are the beautiful ones.
We are just...ones.
Profile Image for Toya (the reading chemist).
1,099 reviews95 followers
February 26, 2021

I am honestly still trying to process what I just read. I literally got hit with a mixture of Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, and Tiffany D. Jackson all at once with the dynamic sister duo of Maika and Maritza Moulite.

This book is INCREDIBLE. It is a poignant and timely story that tackles tough themes such as police brutality, systemic racism, grief, coming out to religious parents, historical Black trauma, and internalized racism.

One of the Good Ones seeks to dismantle the abhorrent ideology that Black lives do not deserve to be loved or treated with respect. This book beautifully humanizes Black people and shows the importance of our stories and honestly, our overall presence.

Amongst the heavy topics, there are moments of joy and reconnection with family and friends that I absolutely lived for.

I want to also note that this book is a mystery/thriller, so in addition to the incredibly important social themes, the thriller aspect of this story was equally riveting.

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,372 reviews1,835 followers
April 10, 2021
I had glimpsed a mention of a "twist" on the back of this book but had no idea what to expect for said twist. In fact I thought it was supposed to be something we learned fairly early on in the story, but just revealed on a bigger scale to other characters, but.. wow. I was so so wrong. I was so unprepared.

Right off the bat I'm going to recommend you check out any #ownvoices reviews for this one before reading mine because those opinions should definitely be ampified over my own. But also I think you should absolutely make an effort to pick up this book.

While most of the plot of ONE OF THE GOOD ONES is painfully familiar to anyone who watches the news these days (an especially to those who have been living through it for years), the discussion surrounding what it means to be "one of the good ones" is equally heartbreaking. And brutally real. How the value of one's loss is based on how they behaved or carried themselves or what they had overcome, what they might have been or gone on to do. How one has to be deemed worthy instead of just having the very basic right to exist; how not everyone is deserving of that much. This touches on all of that and more. It will anger you, frustrated you, and hurt you. As it should.

While I did enjoy (well.. you know what I mean..) so much of this, I'll admit I did think maybe we had a POV or two too many. Some we only saw once, maybe twice, and ultimately they either didn't add much to the story or were just a "real time" moment of an event or history we had already been somewhat aware of via the main characters. It seems an odd criticism but it did make the pacing a little strange as we had such a slowburn build and the end felt like a race to the finish line. But what made those added bits just felt really out of place was because of how strong and captivating the main three POVs were. And, having finished, and seeing where all the pieces fit, I don't think they did much to add to the whole picture.

This was not an easy read but it's definitely an important one. Filled with history, tragedy, twists, and a shock or two. That said, the reason I've not said much about any specifics about the plot is because half the journey is watching how it unfolds. I can only, again, encourage you to put this on your tbr and, more importantly, read it.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Michelle.
651 reviews184 followers
January 4, 2021
The premise behind the book is about how we judge people and their worth. Are they good students? Star athletes? Involved in community service? Are they beautiful? Talented? Are they considered "special" enough for their lives to matter and for us to fight for them when they encounter injustice? The Moulite sisters show how dangerous the well intentioned term "one of the good ones" can be.

For the vast majority of the book the Moulite sisters do a great job of fulfilling this purpose. They even include a road trip with The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. This allows them to incorporate the Smith family's history with violence while at the same time giving the reader a snapshot of America during Jim Crow. The stark reality is that we have not journeyed far enough from this time period. At about the 70% mark the Moulite sisters introduce a plot twist that I absolutely did not see coming. Normally, when reading a mystery a plot twist spices things up, livens up the action. In this case though I found it to be a distraction from the heart of the novel and feel like it took away from the heart and the realism of the book.
February 8, 2021
Wow another good book I read this month! I'm writing a reivew for this one later aka tonight. I have so much thoughts that it's hard to say how I felt about this book but just know that I loved this one! I finished it this morning at 6;30am and haven't read anything till now... What an amazing book!!!(:
Profile Image for Sheena.
577 reviews256 followers
March 10, 2021
It took me awhile to get into this one and I was worried I would end up giving this 2 or 3 stars. It ended up being not at all what I expected and takes you through a wild ride. There’s multiple POV’s and I thought it worked well with the book. The book gave me goosebumps and anxiety and it is so heart breaking too.

I realized there are a lot of contemporary-thrillers coming out this last year and I think it’s an interesting mix of genres. It works well in this case. The comparison to The Hate U Give and Get Out is 100% accurate but I won’t lie, I didn’t see it much at first. There are also a lot of issues and themes that are tackles such as racism, police brutality, lqbtq+, and family. One of the Good Ones takes you through a wild ride. The last thing I want to note is that I love that two sisters wrote this book together, I find that so lovely.


Wow okay I gotta think about this one for a bit
Profile Image for Grace✨.
188 reviews87 followers
March 14, 2021
This was absolutely amazing! It really excellently explored grief and how it affects a family that has suffered such a tragic loss. I love that this book was written by a sister duo because it was obviously very heartfelt and genuine. I loved the different perspectives because they left suspense and let you piece together the story yourself. The messages of this story are so important, I think we all need to read this book.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,360 reviews185 followers
March 1, 2021

I read this for #DrToyasBuddyReads on Instagram!

This book was so freaking good. The ending, the authors' notes and just all the feels throughout this made me cry. Especially that authors' note. One of the Good Ones centers on the Smith family, namely the two youngest sisters: Happi and Kezi. Kezi is a teen activist and history buff who is killed under suspicious circumstances after attending a social justice rally. Happi and her family are left reeling after her death, and Happi doesn't know how to deal with the grief along with the idealized way her sister is remembered.

I loved this story so much. Told in four POVS by Kezi, Happi, Shaqueria and Evelyn we see the events that lead up to Kezi's death along with Happi's attempts to process her grief with her family, and events from the Smith's history. I loved how central the relationship between all three sisters was. While Genny, the oldest sister, doesn't have a POV, she is one of the main characters along with Kezi's two best friends, Jimena and Derek. Genny ropes Happi, Jimena and Derek into taking the road trip Kezi was planning to honor her memory, using The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide.

Between the sister's POVs, we also meet Evelyn who is one of their ancestors and how she traveled from the South to the West. This POV brought so much historical background and shed light on an insidious part of the US's history: sundown towns. I learned a lot from this and just how many more obstacles racism has put into the path of Black people just trying to live.

The discussion of being "one of the good ones" was so well done. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time.
Profile Image for K.
186 reviews711 followers
August 25, 2021
Um excuse me?! This is so fucking wild and good. The authors took a huge risk and it paid off. Read this!!!
Profile Image for ATheReader- check my bio.
199 reviews60 followers
March 22, 2021
The weight of this book is astonishing. It is what I imagine Black people feel when they see another person who looks like them killed because they are. (But don't take my word for it because I am not Black.)

It feels like a palpable accumulation of grief pushing on my soul.

How can one exist with a constant fear that their life is going to be taken because of the color of their skin? Because of their existence? All I know is that it takes a tremendous amount of strength .

I was going to recommend that you not read this as night, as it was terrifying to me, but Black people don't get that privilege. They don't get to choose when to fear for their lives when they are constantly under threat. Read this book at night, experience a very small portion of their fear.

That is what this book is able to do. It channels the fear of existing as a person who's very existence is threatened. To be honest when I read this I felt like screaming, crying and feeling overall devastated. Terror pent up in my lungs has been begging on being released since I started this book.

The writing was amazing, the characters were extremely unique, the storyline was engaging and interesting and the overall book was fantastic. The dual timelines and the connections to the families ancestors was also extremely interesting. I get why people don't like the ending, and have some concerns for credibility but I can overlook the weird timeline in that certain scene when I look at the entire book. It was beautiful. I really don't have much else to say unless I decide to write the poems that this book had me drafting in my mind.

Oh and remember to check the trigger warnings. I didn't include them because they have spoilers, but if you are sensitive I would recommend that you look them over.

Some are the quotes that I collected while I was reading:

"I knew that being your authentic self, no matter where you were or who you were with, wasn't just an act of rebellion. It was an act of self-love." (pg. 34)

"I am always thinking about if something Happens. In the back of your mind, you know that anytime you leave your house, get in a car, stand outside for some fresh air, think too much.. something can Happen." (pg. 109)

"They made plans for their futures, even though they knew there might come a day when they would be expected to lay down their lives for their country. A country that tried its hardest to prevent them from feeling like they belonged." (pg. 114)

"A trending topic is easy for us all to hop on. But organizing, making signs, petitioning for changes in legislation, marching? That takes dedication. And it shows we're willing to come together when it counts." (pg. 119)

[Pertaining to not being Ong of the Good Ones:] "should those facts have any bearing on whether the world was livid at the injustice of my death or mourned for me?" (pg. 142)

"'It was the only way to make sense of signing up to die for a country that hates you and not too long ago saw you as three-fifths of a human.'.....'There was no way he wasn't going to protect what he loved. Who he loved.'"(pg. 205)

"That kind of loss is one that sits with you for an eternity, a heavy blanket that constricts just as it comforts. Because you can't ever truly cast it aside." (pg. 222)

"I don't just hold grudges. I nurse them. Swaddle them lovingly in cloth. Whisper nursery rhymes to them as I rock my resetment gently back and forth against my chest." (pg. 271)

"I know that existing as a human being on this earth should be enough to deserve respect and justice. But it isn't. Instead, we focus on those we deem worthy, for whom we allow ourselves to feel the weight of their loss." (pg. 335)

If you don't get it already: Black Lives Matter. They deserve our respect and our attention. Their voices deserve to be heard and their lives lived.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,245 reviews383 followers
January 31, 2021
This definitely was an experience, an intense journey of emotions. I'm struggling on what to say about this, and I don't want to spoil anything. But that twist! Not gonna say more.
Profile Image for lily ✿.
178 reviews47 followers
May 10, 2022
i cannot emphasize just how brilliant this book was. seriously, go buy a copy or check one out from your local library right now.

i was pulled in by the cover when i saw it displayed at the library (as i often am), so i went into ‘one of the good ones’ with next to no background information other than, “wow! pretty cover.” it had equal potential to be dragging-myself-through-the-mud boring and knock-your-socks-off good. luckily, it was the latter: i didn’t want to put it down.

the main plot follows kezi smith, a black teenager killed by the police after attending a social justice rally. her sisters, happi and genny, are left reeling over her loss. this is a book about mourning: the two sisters embark on the road trip kezi had planned for after graduation, along route 66, rich with black history. reluctant at first, bitter at being forced into the national spotlight and still unwilling to come to terms with the death of her sister, happi eventually agrees. in life, they bickered and had disagreements. she wants to get to know her sister a little better in death.

this is also a story about family: the complex relationship all three sisters shared and the way that it was fractured, and then put back together again, after the loss of one integral piece. it is a story of social activism and the corrupt police system, about the loss of Black lives in america and the justification thereof. kezi was on track to become valedictorian and ran a successful youtube channel. she was an angel child and, therefore, “one of the good ones.” hers was a death willing of mourning and outrage - at least in the eyes of white america. but the truth is, there isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an allotment of who deserves justice and who doesn’t, so this is also a book about justice. this is a book about history: about the fractured families and trauma and generations of racism and mistreatment that is the foundation of where we stand today. multiple points of views are explored, including that of their ancestors, the people who created the people who made the sisters who they are today and the trials they had to bear in order to do so.

the characters were rich and so easy to fall in love with. the plot was complex and intriguing and had me turning each and every page, eager to find out with happened next. there were points that i was gripping the book with fear and anger, so many emotions broiled right up to the surface. it was everything that a book should be: i don’t even have the words to express how much i loved it, how beautifully it was written, and how much i think you should read it, too.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,887 reviews487 followers
February 11, 2021
 Thanks to NetGalley and InkYard Press for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

When middle daughter and straight-A student, Kezi is tragically killed by police, her family is left grasping to accept her death. How could this happen to their daughter and sister? As surviving sisters, Genny and Happi decide to head out on a trip mapped out by Kezi, they examine key relationships, prejudice, and the grief of losing someone that you love.

This YA novel had me hooked from the very beginning and although I haven't read the debut novel by the author sisters, I certainly want to ensure that happens in the future. As the storyline began to accelerate I was fearful that we wouldn't have a resolution but the ending was indeed fantastic.

Goodreads review 11/02/21
Publication Date 05/01/21

#OneOftheGoodOnes #NetGalley
Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
967 reviews497 followers
February 13, 2021
A murder mystery intertwined with the reality of a life being cut short by police brutality and the political activism associated with it. Sounds intriguing right?

After their sister Kezi passes away in a police station after protesting police brutality, her sisters embark on a road trip to honour their sister and uphold her legacy. Parts of the above were incredibly moving and I enjoyed getting to meet the family and Kezi’s friends.

The characters were built up well and I enjoyed the differing POV’s. I also enjoyed the dive into a part of Black history I didn’t know anything about.

Sadly this just missed the mark for me overall. Whilst I enjoyed the story arc overall; the mystery and twists that appears just wasn’t executed well for me. It fell flat and ended too quickly for me and the two genres just didn’t click for me - it rushed by far too fast.
Profile Image for nathalie.
274 reviews60 followers
May 19, 2021
This definitely definitely should be on everybody’s list. This was... a lot to take in but 100% worth it. I was kind of worried because contemporaries usually are not my cup of teas but this one was definitely worth it. The writing, the intricate plot, the way it was told all pointed towards a powerful central story that I think is SO important during these times. Will pick this up in the future to re read because it definitely deserves it.

(Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC and of course this is an unbiased review).
Profile Image for Jacob Rundle.
Author 4 books168 followers
July 10, 2020
ONE OF THR GOOD ONES is a one of the most powerful novels I’ve read in 2020! What can I say? The mystery. Intrigue. The way the authors incorporate prejudice into the story was so well done. I was blown away. Left speechless at how the characters grew over the course of the novel. The plot points were so so well done. The prose kept me glued to the story. I couldn’t put the story down! Five stars isn’t enough for this story.
Profile Image for Maddie (Inking & Thinking).
167 reviews123 followers
February 25, 2021
⭐️ 4 Stars ⭐️


One of the Good ones is such an incredible book that riveting story that follows Kezi, Happi and Genny who are three sisters. Kezi goes to a protest to protest the police brutality and the killing of an innocent African American man. Kezi gets arrest at the protest and ends up dying. This is the last time Genny and Happi get to see and talk to her sister. Before this Happi gets into an argument with Kezi and realizes these are the last words Kezi ever hears. Grieving over the death of their sister, Genny organizing a two-week road trip that Kezi was planning on taking after her high school graduation with Happi, Ximena and Derek to celebrate Kezi's life and who she was.

The characters in this book were amazing because they felt like real people. They experienced so much grief and sadness throughout the book. Happi's grief in particular is written so well in this book and you can see how much she regrets not spending time with Kezi. You can see how she struggles with the fact that she didn't know that much about Kezi and how she wished she had more time with her before she was gone. As the road trip goes on, we see Happi learn more about her sister and see her appreciate Kezi so much more than before. We don't see that much develop from Genny, other than her start to form a bond with Happi and see them getting along.

This story ranges from 1st POV and 3rd POV, which I found to be very interesting since many books don't do this that often. We have Happi, Kezi and Shaqueria's POV in 3rd person. Shaqueria is an 18-year-old African American girl that came out of the foster care system recently. She also got into some trouble with some bad people and now is forced to sell drugs. Her dream is to go to an audition in L. A so she goes and auditions. After the audition, she goes to drop off the drugs but ends up in the back of a police car with Kezi. Riley (Happi and Kezi's Grandfather) and Evelyn (Happi and Kezi's Grandmother) are told in 1st person and share what their experience was growing up during a time of segregation and fear for their life. I wish we got to see Genny's POV explore her character more but I understand why her POV wasn't there, due to all the other POVs

As the story goes on, we see why there are all these different perspectives. We see how the puzzle pieces fit together and how it all connects. The authors did a great job of making this make logical sense and did not leave any loose threads which I appreciate a lot. Some books have trouble tying up different perspectives in a way that makes sense but this book did it beautifully.

I loved the road trip so much. I loved how they visited all these historical places that African Americans would come to in order to be protected and feel safe when they were travelling. I also loved how Kezi had her own youtube channel and wasn't afraid to speak up to social issues going on in our world. I think it's super important to have people like Kezi, who are willing to stand up against issues in society and want to make a change in the world.

The one problem I have with this book was the ending. How was Mark, who was a white creepy racist stalking Kezi's youtube channel, able to sneak into the police office, sneak out Kezi out of the cell, then change her clothes with Shaqueria and then put Shaqueria in Kezi's cell and successful get out with Kezi? It just doesn't make sense to me time-wise and I don't understand how anyone couldn't have noticed this. Like I get there is a fire but still? Kezi has been secretly alive the whole time kidnapped by Mark, kept alive and unhurt for no clear reason because this racist white guy had an ancestor who killed Kezi's ancestor?? What was he trying to do?? Like this was not making sense to me whatsoever. I feel like this could have been better executed or taken out. It just diminishes the story a bit and takes away from this beautiful story.

But besides that, this was an amazing book and I would recommend you to definitely read it.

Profile Image for Oyinda.
660 reviews154 followers
January 27, 2021
Book 20 of 2021

"I know that existing as a human being on this earth should be enough to deserve respect and justice. But it isn’t. Instead, we focus on those we deem worthy, for whom we allow ourselves to feel the weight of their loss. We mention potential not reached or promise of greatness gone unfulfilled, while others are erased from existence all together.
But we are more than the good ones.
We are the bad ones.
We are the okay ones.
We are the amazing ones.
We are the nothing-to-write-home-about ones.
We are the beautiful ones.
We are just...ones."

I love this book so much, and I appreciate all of the issues discussed by the authors. Trigger warnings for police brutality, homophobia, kidnapping and forced imprisonment, racism, mentions of lynching, and death of a loved one.

Told in multiple POVs and from multiple points in time, I enjoyed this book a lot. Focused on the story of the Smith sisters and their ancestors, this is a very heavy book with a lot of heavy subject matters. There's a lot of representation and diversity in this book, and it shines light on America's racist history.

Happi is dealing with the death of her sister and how she feels left out and excluded from her sisters (before and after the death of Kezi), and she doesn't feel good enough. We also get insight from Kezi's POV from before her death, and the events leading up to it.

The narrators of the audiobook were great, especially Bahni Turpin who did a wonderful job with her performance of Happi's POV.

There were a lot of twists and reveals in this one, but I found them really predictable. As such, I wasn't so mindblown by them.

I highly recommend this book!!!
Profile Image for Nev.
1,026 reviews132 followers
January 19, 2021
Oof. This book hit me in my heart. It’s an interesting exploration of grief after a tragedy and the harmful way that some people deem one person’s life more important than another because they’re “one of the good ones.” I really enjoyed the complicated sister relationships that play out in this story, it felt like a raw and authentic portrayal. The book also brought in history in a fascinating way through using an old copy of the Green Book as a guide for a road trip. This is an incredibly hard-hitting story about activism, racism, and the ways that Black girls are treated by society.
Profile Image for Katie.
360 reviews68 followers
January 18, 2021
I think this is a book hangover.

This book merges family history with social justice issues that are still prevalent today, a coming-of-age story about a teenager coping with grief combined with a thriller twist that I, personally, did not see coming. And I am glad I didn't. The way this book blew my mind when Things were revealed was wild, and even now I swear I'm having heart palpitations because of it.

All the characters are beautifully, brilliantly written. We follow several different perspectives in both the past and present and see how their stories intertwine. Each character is heartbreakingly REAL, with dreams and hopes and flaws. Knowing the premise of this book, I was sure I was in for some tears once I got to know them, but I underestimated how masterfully the Moulite sisters can weave a narrative. This is largely a character-driven book, with most of the actual "plot" and action happening in the later half. Before that, it's largely flashbacks to the inciting incident, as well as further back in the Smith family's history, and introspective grieving from Happi. However, I was more than happy to sit back and learn about these characters and their relationships.

Although this is a crying book, it is not entirely a sad book, and that is what strikes me the most. There is hope for change, if we are all willing to do the work.
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews344 followers
January 14, 2021
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Emily M

One of The Good Ones was easily one of the best books I read in 2020 and should be featuring on many similar lists this year. It’s an emotional, impactful, and brilliant story that weaves the horrific realities of systematic and structural racism in both the past and present with an utterly compelling mystery.

Right from the start, you know you’re in for a ride, as it opens with an incredibly powerful author’s note. It reminds you that this is not purely a fictional tale, rather one that is repeated time and time again in real life. The media may capture some of the stories, but far more go unnoticed. Behind every hashtag is a person, with all their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Around them is a whole family and community. We must remember all of this and feed it into our activism. There’s a brilliant discussion about respectability politics and who is considered as a ‘perfect victim’. There’s this pervasive idea that we can only care about Black Lives Matter when the victim meets certain toxic requirements, rather than focusing on the loss of life, impact on community and structural violence caused by racist actions.

Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,537 reviews317 followers
January 7, 2022
What a powerful and poignant read. My first into the sisters Moulite's writing and I will certainly be looking forward to more from these two. In this young adult, contemporary read, we are faced with Kezi, who died following an arrest during a social justice rally. The authors take us into the days before and after through the POVs of four different characters.

The authors do a sensational job of touching on such important topics such as racism, internally, outwardly and systemic, grief, coming out, Black history and police brutality. There's a LOT to unpack within this story. But with these very serious tones, we also get a balance of joy, which is something I feel is necessary these days. That while the heavy subject MUST be addressed, so should the joy that is within. I hope that I'm making sense here as proper/better words seem to allude me at the moment.

I will say that I was NOT a fan of the twist for several reasons but I'll keep my mouth shut so as to not spoil anything for anyone. However, after reading the Authors' Note, I understand better as to why they took the story the direction that they did. This is why I always say to read these notes as they may make a difference in how you see the story after you first turn that last page.

The title is powerful enough in what it stands for and how society and the system works... how people see each other... but I have to agree with the authors.... "shouldn't being human be enough"? Yes, it absolutely should be.
Profile Image for kate.
1,112 reviews922 followers
March 4, 2021
Poignant, moving and utterly page-turning. This was absolutely superb. Featuring with raw and distinct voices, a genre-bending, time-travelling plot and painfully relevant and important narratives, this is not only an important read but a highly enjoyable and addictive one. I can't wait to read more from Maika and Maritza in the future. Also.... this book needs to be made into a movie like, right now?
Profile Image for Arica Eberle.
24 reviews26 followers
January 14, 2021
✨ Book Review ✨

Hello to my first five star book of 2021. You read that right, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ FIVE STARS!

I will say this to the authors, thank you so much for creating this masterpiece. This book honestly made me really emotional over my relationship with my sister. We’re the best of friends and I am so thankful that I have her as my sister.

This was my first book by them and they now have a new fan! I will auto buy anything they come out with. And I will be adding their book Dear Haiti, Love Alaine to my list of books to buy once my “no buy” is over. Because I need to dive back into their writing and stories.

Now onto the review, this book is about three sisters. One sister who was known for her activist YouTube channel was arrested and killed during a protest. The two sisters now have to not only grieve their sister but also keep her legacy on.

I love that this book talks about how if black people are educated, wear traditionally white clothes, and be the best of the best is considered “one of the good ones” But what does that really mean? And why is it such a big deal?

This book is also spilt into multiple parts. The first part is all about the arrest and moving forward. Then a HUGE twist happens and changed the whole story. Let me say, this book was 5 stars in the beginning. But after the twist it honestly could be more stars. It did a completely 180 and let me shocked and thrilled to continue reading. I obviously don’t want to say anything because I don’t want to ruin it. But here is a little sneak peak and my review on the other parts of the book: I absolutely love how it talked about the green book and how what happen during slavery is very similar to what is happening now. They talk a lot about generational oppression and wow, it was amazing.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Stop what you’re doing and get it NOW!
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