Book Review; The Unsame Ones by Stephanie Skeem

Abstract futuristic woman looking at data flow in a virtual display

Title: The Unsame Ones

Author: Stephanie Skeem

Publication Date: February 22, 2016

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Pages: 354


I was born in January.

So I am January, and everything that it entails. I bear the same name as a million other Januaries just like me, the same look, the same genetic makeup, the same job, the same face, the same goals, and the same dreams.

I am and will be a secretary for the rest of my life. I am good at what I do, I was made for my job, and my job was made for me.

I am Same.

I have lived the Same as every other January like me for seventeen years.

And a year from now, on the first of January, I will die from the same genetic defect every January has died from. No January has ever lived past eighteen.

No January has ever wanted to.

Until now.

I believe I have been infected with the Unsame Virus. My head aches, throbs, and pounds
without ever stopping. Before now, I never felt pain. I know I must turn myself in. That is the only logical thing to do.

It all started with the hideous Unsame One who crossed my path, and thrust a strange object into my hands. It is he who is to blame, and it is I who must fight this. I cannot shut out my master, keeper, and overseer, Time—nor disobey the clock. I will forever march to its dictates, and remain true.

I am a Same One.

I was born Same.

I have lived Same.

And I will die Same.

I am January.

I am Same.


Different is always attractive.”-Mario Testino

The Sames are a race of people who’s genetically having the same characteristics, behaviors, and features, like clones-replicas of the same DNA. The Sames are named after what month they are born. Everyone had a purpose in their world; the Januaries are secretaries, the Decembers were the law-makers and the Marches serves as their police, soldiers and watchers and etc but since their world is an utopia-no wars, conflicts, and the people who threaten their peace is the Unsame Ones.

To them, emotions are a distraction and a waste of time and to waste time is to waste away life.

“We are safe, detached, predictable, but in the best way we can be. Detachment is something we Same ones learn at a very early age. With no parents. No one to hold you close. With no one to care. With no identity, except that of Same we learn that Same is the best protection we have. Same is not to care. Same is who you are. Same is everyone.”-January #444.

“Same is everyone.” As if those words were any comfort to the emptiness and detachment. With no emotional connection, the way Skeem writes January’s experience in feeling “foreign” emotions like pain, exhilaration, nervousness and guilt is absolutely noteworthy. January felt like her perfect, same self is shaken up, put into discord, and torn between obeying the unseen thread that connected her to her fellow Sames or refusing to obey to allow a buried part of herself to resurface, to be given a chance to really live her life.

Reading the early pages, I got irritated – no wait, I got irritated on almost all the chapters having read Same this, Same that, January keeps repeating just to emphasize her point and was a tad frustrating on my part. But as I continued reading, Skeem wrote the story in such a masterfully way that gripped my heart.

The world concept and theme of the story is definitely unique and beautiful yet if the world Same Ones live in would be real, it would be tremendously repulsive and dull.

Unbeknownst to the Same Ones, they are born and raised manipulated and tamed to subjection, educated to be ignorant to things around them. A slave to their own system, laws and time-their master and as the story progresses she began to realize that they were like rats in a cage. All of it was a lie, except for the emotions January now felt.

They are alive but not living, they have no Identity, no Voice, no Emotion.

They are united but not connected.

The way Blade and January interacted, and gradually connected through music was raw and beautiful it made my heart ache. Music was what connected their hearts, bonded their souls. Two souls so opposite, so conflicting, lost in many different ways, had now found each other.

“To me, he was like a hazardous, undiscovered species of people, a true savage, but the most interesting, horrid, savage I had ever met.”- January #444 on Blade

The Unsame Ones is a gripping read that will appeal to music enthusiast and individuals-especially introverts who have trouble fitting into the “in” crowd. The Unsame Ones conveys a powerful message of being yourself even if you have to be the only different one among your peers. We are all born to be unique.

It changed the way I see myself, the people around me and the world. It made me realize that there’s more to life and that we’re taking for granted the things that we have.

The end, however heart crushing, was fitting. This book made me scream, cry, laugh, and roll my eyes. It definitely touched my soul. One of the best stand-alone books I’ve read.

A 10/10 for me.

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