One of Us by Jeannie Waudby

One of Us

Written by Jeannie Waudby

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

‘I think how readily people believe lies, and how easily the truth can look like a lie.’ A thick fog of paranoia and fear pervades this novel. It’s set in a fictitious society divided into them – the Brotherhood, a religious sect with strict rules over things like men and women’s clothing, apparently professing love and tolerance but behind terrorist attacks - and us, ‘citizens’, grey, worried, cowed by the ‘terror threat’. The parallels with today are clear to see. K Child is a citizen. Just fifteen she’s an orphan, lonely, isolated and an easy target for the handsome young man who saves her from a bomb attack, and then recruits her to spy for the secret services. Soon she’s living with the Brotherhood, where she finds that not everything she’s been told is true. The plot twists and turns as K struggles to work out who she can trust, and who she really is. There are echoes of Orwell and Kafka in this tense thriller, which thoroughly respects its readers’ intelligence. ~ Andrea Reece

A Piece of Passion from Publisher, Barry Cunningham Groups, religions, teams . . . sometimes we all seem intent on attacking each other, misunderstanding what we believe in and blaming someone else for it! Jeannie Waudby drops us straight into a nail-biting thriller, a story that pulls and pushes us in different directions as the betrayals and suspicions build up. But in the end, love reaches out and finds the truth – it always will. Thank goodness. Thank Jeannie. It’s a cracker of a book.

Find out a bit more about the author and her novel, One of Us, here.


One of Us by Jeannie Waudby

When a bomb goes off, K agrees to spy on the extremists held responsible. But at their school, what she discovers isn't black or white. And when she falls in love, K faces the biggest decision of her life. What's right - and who's wrong? And what if it's not who everyone thinks? Someone's always to blame.

About the Author

Jeannie Waudby

Jeannie grew up in Hong Kong. She now lives with her husband and three children in London, where she teaches English in a local college. One of Us is her debut novel.

A piece by the author about her novel, One of Us.

I grew up in Hong Kong while the Cultural Revolution was happening a few miles away in China. Refugees from the turmoil over the border fled in large numbers to Hong Kong, often arriving with almost nothing, having paid all their money to ‘snakeheads’ or people-smugglers. I remember seeing whole hillsides covered in makeshift huts made of cardboard, mats and wood, and I knew that in typhoons sometimes they all got swept away. We had some friends who had come to Hong Kong to escape the Cultural Revolution, so from a young age I always wondered what it would be like to have to leave your home and go somewhere new where you had no roots, no job, no house.

I became an English teacher because I wanted to work in China. When I returned to the UK and started teaching English to people who had moved here, many of them refugees, I didn’t want to stop because the people I met were just so interesting. It’s always conflict that creates the need to become a refugee, and it’s also often a result of belonging to the wrong group. At first, I was sometimes very shocked by the stories people told me – of losing their family members, being captured and tortured, and very occasionally of terrible journeys fleeing a war-torn country. It made me realise that those who manage to escape and make a new life in another country are strong people – survivors, people who chose life and refuse to be defeated – and just the kind of people you want to make a strong society, surely. I also saw the huge value they often place on education so that their children go on to have great qualifications and make a very positive contribution. At the same time, in some newspapers I would see references to foreigners ‘flooding’ into the country, ‘swamping’ our culture and taking up resources. This kind of thing always makes me feel that these articles can’t possibly be talking about the people I meet every week.

In One of Us, K is a girl who is left without family; her parents were killed in a bomb during a time of conflict when K was only a child. When the uneasy peace process is threatened by a terrorist act and it looks like the civil war will return, K goes undercover in a Brotherhood school. The Brotherhood is a large minority who have been disadvantaged since a Brotherhood faction lost the last conflict. Since then, there has been a general assumption that all Brotherhood people are potential terrorists. K has only ever heard the official line story about what happened, so while undercover in the Brotherhood school, she hears the other side for the first time. Although she isn’t a prejudiced person, she finds it very shocking to discover that atrocities were committed by the ‘goodies’.

Like many survivors of conflict, K is much stronger than she would have believed possible. At times in my English class there have been students from countries currently at war with each other. But what has struck me is how rarely this is a problem, because the students have taken each other on face value, as human beings rather than members of a particular group. I find this hugely hopeful and I think it is the thing that we need to hold on to in times of fear and conflict – our common humanity.

Author photo by Erica Abi-Karan

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Book Info


368 pages


Jeannie Waudby
More books by Jeannie Waudby

Author's Website


Chicken House Ltd

Publication date

5th February 2015




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