The Rule of One

In The Rule of One, Ashley and Leslie Saunders create a dystopian world that is sooooooo different from the United States I currently live in. Climate change has drastically affected the environment making the earth a difficult place to survive. The leaders of the USA promote an “us vs. them” narrative that even includes walls on all our borders. Shockingly, the government is even controlling reproductive rights!! I mean, come on! That is a truly terrifying dystopian future that is THE EXACT WORLD WE CURRENTLY LIVE IN! Is this non-fiction? Hold up, in the book the government has scent-tracking drones, food is 3D printed, and every person has a microchip implanted in their wrist that stores all their personal information. PHEW! The book is not real, but it is close enough to our current MAGA country that it was truly terrifying!

Due to harsh living conditions and overpopulation, for the last 75 years the United States has been adhering to the Rule of One: each family is only allowed one child. The Goodwin family appears normal: dad heads the Texas Family Planning Division (the enforcers of The Rule of One), mother passed away in a home birth, and Ava Goodwin is 18, smart, and bound for success. Accept they have a secret: Ava has an identical twin sister, Mira. Ava and Mira take turns every day switching between who gets to be “Ava” and go out in the world, while the other must hide in a secret room in the basement. Obviously this is not a spoiler to say that even after 18 years of successfully fooling everyone, the secret is revealed and the twins are exposed. Ava and Mira must run for their lives from a government that seeks to erase their existence!

The story is fun and fast paced, there never is a dull moment. The book kept me up past my bedtime many nights because I just needed to know what happened next! The book felt familiar, very must so if 1984 and The Hunger Games got together and had twins. Like many successful dystopian books, the created world is just close enough to our current world to be relatable but different enough to make us think: “well, maybe this could happen!” Is it kitschy that Ashley and Leslie Saunders are twin sisters writing a book about twin sisters? I don’t think so! I enjoyed the relationship of Ava and Mira and the twin elements in the book, I think it made the book special and different from other stories in this genre.

The Rule of One ticked a lot of boxes for me:

  • Dystopian future not so different from our own: √
  • Obvious digs at our current trash government: √
  • Cool future technology that created a fully formed world for the story: √
  • Strong female lead: this book has Ava and Mira, so √ and √!

If you like dystopian YA and want an engaging read, then look no further! Also, book two in the series (The Rule of Many) is scheduled for publication in 2019!!

** This book was provided by NetGalley and Skyscrape (Amazon Publishing) for an honest review


  • Title: The Rule of One
  • Authors: Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders
  • Published: October 1, 2018 (Skyscrape)
  • Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
  • Booky Nooky Rating: * * * 1/2

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