Book Review: One by Leigh Ann Kopans
Title: One (GoodReads)
Author: Leigh Ann Kopans
Genre: YA science fiction
When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.
It makes you a One.
Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.
If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.
Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.
Merrin’s mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it’s more important to fly solo, or to save everything – and everyone – she loves.
The writing. The sentences flow and make you want to keep reading. We get enough description to picture what’s happening but not so much that it gets boring. Coming from someone who hates most description, this means a lot.
The characters. I really enjoyed getting to know Merrin and her friends. They all had their own personalities and goals in life. I really enjoyed seeing Merrin’s initial reaction to Leni and seeing how she realized she was jumping to conclusions. Her reaction seemed realistic to me, and I liked that. I liked most of the characters. They seemed like real people with hopes and flaws and personalities. I wish we had gotten to see a bit more of Leni and Daniel, but I’m still satisfied with what we did see.
Merrin. I just loved that Merrin was great at chemistry. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with girls who are great at the more liberal arts-type classes, but it’s still great to see books that show that girls can kick ass at science, too. There were several times when I didn’t quite follow what she was talking about when she started going on about chemistry, but I always felt like she knew exactly what she was saying and doing, and that, I think, is the important part.
The romance. Merrin and Elias actually talk and get to know each other before they kiss for the first time, and they’ve been dating for a while before there’s any talk of love. That was a refreshing change from most of the books I’ve read.
The world. Merrin and her friends live in a future American society that looks a lot like ours , just with some advancements in technology and the fact that a large number of the population has superpowers. Kopans does a good job introducing the world and making it sound believable. There were a few instances where it seemed like she was trying too hard, but overall I really loved learning about this new world.
The Not So Good
The pacing. The entire first two-thirds of the book is dedicated almost solely to Merrin and Elias’s relationship. We get little hints that something’s not quite right in their world, but it’s really not until the last third of the book when things actually start happening. All of a sudden all the plot I was waiting for showed up at once. I wish this had been spaced out a bit. The story behind everything that’s happening is interesting. It’s just all thrown at you so fast that it doesn’t really work.
The first third of the book was interesting because we were getting to know the characters. The last third of the book was interesting because, well, plot. The middle third, though, was lacking, and I think it would really have benefited from having the events at the Hub start earlier. I also feel like the ending was a bit rushed and not really what I was expecting.
There’s also a storyline with one character that doesn’t quite live up to its potential. Merrin starts off by talking about how wonderful this character is, but we never really see her talk to this character, at least not once she starts seeing this character on a regular basis. Then all of a sudden this character creeps her out. It didn’t feel like I was actually reading a novel at that point; it felt like I was reading the summary of a novel.
Overall: This book didn’t live up to my expectations. The characters and the writing were great, but the plot was a bit too rushed at the end. If you’re looking for a contemporary romance with some sci-fi thrown in, you will probably really enjoy this book. If you’re looking for a science fiction book with some romance thrown in, you might be disappointed, although I still recommend you try it for yourself to see.