Author: Leigh Ann Kopans (Twitter)
Publish Date: June 11, 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Paranormal
Source: Personal Copy
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.
Science fiction novels always seem to broach ever-so-delicately upon perfection. So many novels lack that last bit of elegance though, which sets them apart. One by author, Leigh Ann Kopans, easily captures that missing piece of the puzzle, sliding into a state in which it sets itself apart from other sci-fi novels. Superpowers are not a new concept to the genre and, more often than not, they end up feeling trite and cliche, tired and utterly unoriginal. With careful precision though, One gives us a story about superheroes that inspires a bit of heroism within ourselves, as well.
It takes great strength for a novel to transcend the pages, and I often find the superhero tales leave me feeling more or less inadequate, simply because we are offered a tale of strength and force at face value. One of the most beautiful aspects of One that truly sets it apart from the rest of the young adult crowd is that, while it's a story of superpowers and, yes, strength, it's more about moral fiber and inner strength than anything else. Without these qualities, the heroine we're offered would most likely have felt lackluster and a bit flat.
Merrin is the ideal heroine for a tale within this genre. She's a girl with brilliant potential, but the society in which she lives has branded her less than the best. Rather than allow herself to be trapped by this societal constraint though, Mer continues to search within herself for her own hidden strengths which could propel her to new heights. It was refreshing to see a character empowered and emboldened enough to truly take matters into her own hands.
Romance in young adult has been incredibly hit or miss for me lately, so I'll admit that I was wary of an insta-connection in One. Rather than offering us an insta-love though, the novel succeeds in balancing that rush of intensity of teenage romance; the need for immediacy and that all-consuming desire to find that connection. However, rather than fall into an instantaneous love, we watch as Mer and Elias's independent natures combine to create something completely magical. They never lose their own identities in their romance, but rather, their characters blossom when you add one to another. I truly hope more young adult novels take note in crafting romantic relationships, as One gives us a slow-burning, believable and, frankly, gorgeous love.
Overall, One was a fantastic read, and I have to say that it is a standout novel in the genre for me. While, at times, I felt that the world-building could have been fleshed out a bit further, I think that it was interspersed within the prose well, and it never felt overbearing or like an info-dump. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy science fiction and paranormal stories.