It’s been awhile since I shared a book review. But, this one affected me so much, I could not wait to share it with you. This is One of Us by Craig DiLouie. I read an offhand review in some article that said it was X-Men meets To Kill a Mockingbird, and that description totally piqued my interest.
I tend to enjoy books that wrap up a little magic or fantasy in something that’s set in normal modern day, and this totally fit that bill.
One of Us by Craig DiLouie
In the story, back in the 70s, a bacteria infected everyone that affected reproduction. If you were infected and got pregnant, you would have a mutant baby. After a ton of babies were born with all kinds of weird conditions, they were immediately institutionalized in squalid orphanage homes, and these homes were all around the country. To stop these mutations from taking over, abortion soon was forced on anyone who tested positive for this bacteria.
Babies were born with tentacles or looked like dogs or chimpanzees. Society learned to shun these “monster” kids. They were warehoused, barely educated, and abused. As they became teens, they were often forced into slave labor.
But, then puberty hits and something started to happen to these kids. They developed what you could call super powers. Some of the kids were smart enough to hide these abilities from those in charge; some were not.
There were also secret mutant babies. Ones who didn’t outwardly show their mutant changes or abilities. Their parents hid them among the “normal people,” so they wouldn’t end up like the monster children.
The story of One of Us
This story focuses on one of these homes in a small town in the South in 1984. On one hand, the regular kids in the town started meeting the “monster” kids at their hangouts in the woods, and they were both starting to realize that this way of life for these “monster” kids just wasn’t fair. They all want to do something about it.
On the other hand, the adults and many more of the kids in the town are not ready to even consider this. They live in fear of these monster children and keeping them down is the only way to control them.
At the same time, some of the monster kids, who have been abused and forgotten about for so long, are sick and tired of it all. No one realizes how cunning they really are. These kids want revenge for the way society has treated them, and they are quietly raising an army. Their newfound powers are just the beginning in their plans to rise up and take over the world.
My Review of One of Us
I loved the fantastical elements to this story with the mutant children. I was fascinated by their metamorphoses with their new found powers. It’s also very raw, very graphic, and intense, and you know something is going to break.
There is a tragedy in the story that finally brings all the tension to the surface, and you can’t look away as it is going to explode. It just makes you want to stay up all night to finish the book. I could barely put the book down for the three days it took me to finish it.
The Southern setting and the racism against the mutant kids immediately made me think of To Kill a Mockingbird. I do feel this would be an excellent book to give a modern twist on To Kill a Mockingbird and might actually grab the attention of kids today. It could really correlate for kids in today’s world to see things differently like the current issue with immigrant children are being warehoused and treated like second class citizens.
Find this book at Amazon.
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