The Rule of One

In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.

She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

Available October 1, 2018.


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Book Trailer

Writing Process

Road Trip

Reviews & Comments

  • Kirkus


    Ava and Mira's world is an all-too-believable mix of advanced technology and environmental collapse. In their debut, Saunders and Saunders, themselves twins, lend an authentic voice to the girls' first-person narration... Readers are in for a fast-paced ride, poised for a sequel, as the twins embrace their father's call, in the words of Walt Whitman, to "resist much, obey little." Full Review.

  • Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) 

    Review & Interview

    Some stories are upping the intellectual ante of the dystopian genre, generating added thematic and even political value through the topics they are engaging. One such story is Ashley and Leslie Saunders’ The Rule of One. Full Review.

  • Richard Linklater

    Academy Award–nominated screenwriter and director

    Twin storytellers Ashley and Leslie Saunders are modern-day soothsayers who beautifully spin a suspenseful tale of the not so distant future. Pay attention—this could be what 1984 was to 1949.

  • Library Journal


    A suspenseful and timely dystopian thriller that should appeal to both adults and teens.

  • Los Angeles Times HS Insider

    Review & Interview

    The Rule of One, a dystopian novel written by twin sisters Ashley and Leslie Saunders, is about family, adventure, self-discovery, and the search for space to belong…[it] hooks readers with the idea of a one-child policy in the future United States and a tightly held secret. Full Review.

  • Booklist


    Utilizing an sf-fantasy setting and a survival-oriented plot, the Saunders sisters are careful to promote growth and differentiation between the twins…There are parallels to current news stories, such as immigration, environmental resources, and an autocratic political system. Try this with fans of James Dashner’s Maze Runner series, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Double Identity (2005), or such clone books as Rachel Vincent’s Brave New Girl (2017).



    Fans of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth as well as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will be sure to love this book. The Rule of One, with its totalitarian government and futuristic setting combined with a great plot and cast of characters will satisfy any dystopian lover...

  • School Library Journal


    Dystopia fans will enjoy this adventure set in an all-too-plausible future America. A strong choice for YA collections.

  • HelloGiggles

    We're calling it.. The Rule of One, penned by IRL twins Ashley and Leslie Saunders (with another book to come), will be your new favorite YA series.

  • YA Books Central

    THE RULE OF ONE is a Buzzworthy Book of Fall! Link.

  • Kathy Parks

    author of The Lifeboat Clique and Notes From My Captivity

    Ashley and Leslie Saunders have created a masterpiece in this dark futuristic tale of twin sisters who must share one identity in a society where control is the order of the day. Intense and descriptive, the twists and turns this story takes, as well as the obvious love the sisters share for one another, make for an unforgettable journey.