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A Girl In The Basement Is Worth Two On The Run

In The Rule of One, Ashley and Leslie Saunders create a world in which being an only child is the law-enforced norm.

A Girl In The Basement Is Worth Two On The Run

BOOK REPORT for The Rule of One (The Rule of One #1) by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

Cover Story: Glitch in the Matrix
BFF Charm: Maybe x2
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Parallels
Factor: Series Starter
Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Grownups
Relationship Status: See Ya ‘Round

Cover Story: Glitch in the Matrix

As someone who grew up in the 90s, it’s hard for me to see lines of code/computer glitches like on this cover and not think of The Matrix. (Or maybe it’s just me?) It definitely says “science fiction,” even though The Rule of One leans more dystopian than straight scifi.

Also: Hummingbirds don’t have red eyes, do they? I’m unsettled.

The Deal:

Ava Goodwin is the daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, a man responsible for upholding the United States’ strict one child per family law. Ava’s a diligent student and a model citizen, and no one would suspect her or her family of being anything other than patriots.

But Ava and her father are hiding a huge secret: Ava has a twin sister, Mira. The two girls each spend half their life pretending to be the one Goodwin daughter. They think they have everything figured out, and that they’re above suspicion, but Halton, the grandson of the Texas governor, has been watching—too closely.

BFF Charm: Maybe x2

As part of keeping their secret safe, Ava and Mira don’t have friends. But if they did, I’m not quite sure I’d be able to break into their tight circle of two. Especially since I likely couldn’t keep my mouth shut about how much I hated their father’s politics and the crappy company he keeps (i.e., the horrid Governor of Texas).

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

While in their normal lives, Ava and Mira can’t take the chance on getting too close to anyone. And after Halton exposes them, life gets far too complicated to even take a breath, much less find time for some swoon.

Talky Talk: Parallels

The Rule of One is one of those scary near-future novels that feels way too real, way too much like a future that could actually come to pass. Politicians who come to power through over-promising and hold onto their power through scare tactics. Environmental disasters due to climate change. Constant surveillance through CCTV, drones, and identity microchips embedded in everyone’s wrists. Abuse of the poor and “un-American.” (People outside of the system in The Rule of One are referred to as “Gluts.”) It’s a story that should frighten, but the plot just misses the mark. The Saunders’ writing is a little formulaic, and I feel like I’ve read this book before. Maybe I’m just desensitized to these ideas? That’s scarier than the book!

Factor: Series Starter

The Rule of One is the first in a new series. The ending is actually a good one—no horrible cliffhanger here!—but there’s obviously more story to tell.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Grownups

Ava and Mira’s father, although he finds himself in a precarious position, is a decent man. His boss, however—the Governor of Texas—is the worst kind of politician, and has characteristics that are exaggerated (in some cases, only slightly) versions of those of the real-life politicians of today. He’s a true villain, and made all the more frightening in his realism.

Relationship Status: See Ya ‘Round

Our first date was good, Book, but not great. I’m sort of interested to see where your story leads you, but if I happen to find out a ways after the fact, I’m not going to be that disappointed. I do wish you the best, though.

Literary Matchmaking:

  

● Jacqui Castle’s The Seclusion is another dystopian novel set in a too-realistic near-future America.

● For a more far-flung dystopian series (i.e. one that you can more easily lose yourself in rather than getting hung up on the frightening fact that it could happen sooner rather than later), check out Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga, starting with Red Rising.

● And for another case of twin-swapping (this one decidedly not dystopian), try The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver.


FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Skyscape, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Rule of One is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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