Written by: Leigh Ann Kopans
Published by: Self-Published
Release date: June 11th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
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.
One was a really fun read, for the most part. I wasn’t expecting a super serious book, and I did think that One had the expected “superhero” vibe to it. It definitely reminded me of The Incredibles in places, with not-quite-believable but still pretty cool worldbuilding and characters. I especially liked the beginning – it was predictably light and fairly low-key, but still fun.
In Kopans’ world, set sometime in the not-so-distant future, there was some kind of accident involving radiation, resulting in certain people gaining a “Super” – which is actually at least two superpowers combined to form one functioning power. Like, in order to be able to create fire, you have to also be indestructible, otherwise you’ll burn yourself. But there are also some people who don’t have a Super, they have a One – which is half of the required powers to actually be “useful”. I thought this was a pretty cool twist on the “superpower” idea, but honestly I couldn’t really buy into the idea that all Ones were useless. Like indestructibility – how is that not a good superpower?
Anyway, Merrin Grey, the main character and narrator of One, is – you guessed it! – a One. And she really doesn’t like being a One. It puts her in a weird place, socially – between the powerful/popular Supers, and the normals, not accepted by either group. Merrin is super (hah) smart, however, and she is determined to figure out how to make her One into an actual Super.
When Merrin never ends up developing a second power, her parents finally decide to send her to the school for normals; previously she’d attended the school for Supers. At this new school, she meets Elias – also not a Super – just a super nice, super cute, super tall guy (which is funny, because Merrin is tiny). The two (reluctantly, on Merrin’s part) become friends, and when Merrin starts hanging out with Elias’s friends, she discovers that he, and they, are all Ones.
I really liked Merrin, for the most part. She’s smart, determined, and I thought the narration was written in a way that made her really accessible as a character. I also really liked how she viewed her and Elias’s relationship at first. She’s definitely falling for him, but this line…
I’ve known Elias for a week and a half. I am sixteen years old, and he is handsome and kind, but if someone told me that for sure he was my other half, I would throw up.
– One, ebook, 37%
However. As much as I liked her mindset at first, I still really felt an insta-love vibe from the two of them. I’m not sure it technically is, because as far as I can tell the timeline does last for some months… I think…? But that’s another issue. There were multiple parts where I wasn’t sure how fast things were moving, time-wise. I thought only a day had passed, but apparently weeks had, or I thought more time had passed, and it had been less. At least twice, I was flipping through my ebook trying to figure out how and where the days had gone, when it felt like the events were happening the next day. So, because of this, I still got the insta-love vibe – I didn’t feel like the characters really grew from friendship into something more, because I didn’t feel like I saw that time passing and their feelings gradually changing. But they were still really sweet, and I actually did like them as a couple, other than the time-related issues. Elias, like I mentioned, is just the picture of a gentleman, and an all-around great guy. Although some things are revealed at the end that left me a little confused… but I can’t say anything because spoilers. =S
But there was a point in the book where my reading experience got a little strange. As Elias and Merrin kind of solidified as a couple, and were figuring out their powers and how they worked together, the action started to amp up and certain ominous things were being revealed that had only been hinted at previously. But at that point… I lost interest. So much so, that I actually read two other books right after something pretty drastic happened and I felt I’d hit a good place to stop and take a break…! That’s not supposed to happen, right? I was supposed to be glued to the page with anxiety and worry, but I wasn’t. And I think it’s because the action and reveals at the end were… well, pretty predictable. Or if not precisely predictable, at least fairly unsurprising and nothing new. Our Heroes are thrown in harm’s way, the evil mastermind is revealed, big showdown, etc. I felt like I’d seen this ending before, so my interest waned instead of peaked. But, while this did hinder my enjoyment of the ending, I still liked the characters and world, so I finished the book feeling, on the whole, pretty positive about it.
Overall, One was a fun and light read. I liked Merrin as the protagonist, and aside from some timeline issues, really liked her and Elias’s relationship as well. The ending left a little to be desired, just because I found it rather unsurprising. But I’ll most likely still pick up book 2. I’m not 100% sure where the plot will go – we’re left with a little teaser but nothing too concrete. But I think One was a good starting-point, and I’ll be excited to see what Kopans has planned for Merrin and Elias in Two. :)