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The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer

The Only Ones (edition 2012)

by Aaron Starmer

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756160,370 (3.81)2
Title:The Only Ones
Authors:Aaron Starmer
Info:Yearling (2012), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, postapocalypse, time travel, upper elementary

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The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer

  1. 00
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A world without adults with some differences and similarities.

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I liked this book a lot. However, I do feel like too much is jammed into the story and it gets a little tough to follow at times. This book would need to be for an advanced elementary reader. I love the idea of this book and the machine though and I loved the quirky characters that show kids how awesome it is to have their own talents and be unique. ( )
  alaina.loescher | Jun 13, 2015 |
Like most of speculative fiction out there today, you need a good idea. The Only Ones certainly has that. There is a good idea, a situation that baffles everyone, and signals that anything and everything is possible. Once this is set up, the rest can go down however the author wants. So what matters to me becomes the language, the dialog, the "believability" of the everyday interactions of the characters. Starmer's characters are well done, his dialog is stylized enough to keep the plot going but not too much to make you wonder how 10-year-olds are forming such elaborate sentences. The plot requires suspension of belief, of course, and in the end not everything is explained. I say that in a good way, because at some point I thought "Oh, man, he's going to have Martin sit down and explain EVERYthing and we're going to have one of those moments on TV detective shows where they have to explain every little obvious thing to the dumb audience." But he didn't. There's especially the question of "why us?" that was left unexplained, which the reader can, if s/he wishes, use the same logic Martin uses to determine why it might be the way it is. The Only Ones was a good, fast read with some thought-provoking moments. I will recommend it to young-adult and speculative fiction fans. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
This is a weird, amazing, amazingly weird book. The clearest analog I have is Lost. If you loved Lost (never mind the ending), you will probably love this. (full review at http://www.parenthetical.net/2011/11/24/review-the-only-ones-by-aaron-starmer/) ( )
  SamMusher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Grades 5 and up
A thought-provoking read for the tween crowd, reminiscent of a slightly less violent "Lord of the Flies." Children find themselves alone one day when all of the adults disappear. They create their own community--Xibalba-- complete with trading system and societal rules, and try to create theories to explain what happened to all the adults. Martin has a different story, having been raised with a distant father who instructs him in the maintenance of a mysterious machine. When Martin reaches Xibalba, he finds himself an unwitting leader and bastion of hope for the lonely children. This is a fairly complex read, which inquires about belief systems and the selection of leaders. Several characters die, some at each other's hands. Still, it's within the reach of an upper elementary school student.
  Sarahfine | Jan 24, 2013 |
I'm not going to lie, this is one of the weirdest books I've read in a long time. But here's the thing about weird books...you can't get them out of your head. I finished this book in a day, and haven't stopped thinking about it since. This is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go until the end.

Here's the gist: Martin Maple lives on a remote island with his dad. Together, they have been working on a mysterious machine, whose purpose is never really clear. On his tenth birthday, Martin's father leaves--why doesn't become clear until the end of the book. Martin, who is luckily very self-sufficient, survives on the island alone for a year, during which he doesn't see another human being. On his eleventh birthday, Martin decides to leave the island. During his journey, he sees only one other boy, about the same age as him, until he reaches a mysterious town filled with lonely teens, just like him, called Xibalba.

Normally, I despise when authors break the rules of their own worlds, but somehow it works here. This is a book that will confound and frustrate you, but as weird as that sounds, that is why I liked it. If students enjoy unraveling mysteries and wrestling with ambiguity, this is a great book for them, although I would be wary of giving it to a struggling reader. Starmer, the author, does very little to wrap things up in a nice neat bow, although some questions do get answers by the end. Some of your more isolated students may find common ground with Martin and the other teenagers, who are all loners in one way or another who bond together to survive. Most of all, this is a book for kids who like to think deeply about time, family, and what it means to be alone.

For ages 10 and up. ( )
1 vote ALelliott | Oct 26, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385740433, Hardcover)

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Author Aaron Starmer

The Only Ones started with a simple idea. A boy grows up on an island. He knows nothing of the world beyond the ocean. When he finally builds up the courage to leave the island, he finds the world is gone. Everybody else has disappeared.

It was enough to get me writing, but simple ideas rarely stay simple. Soon this empty world had a handful of inhabitants, an extraordinary band of kids with odd talents and obsessions. It was a little bit Lord of the Flies. It was a little bit The Little Rascals. It was a lot different than anything else out there. Famine and disease and war and oppressive governments and natural disasters make for riveting stories, but they had no place in this book. Sure, we were talking about the apocalypse, but there had to be mystery, magic and bouts of emotion. Kids left to rule the earth? How could it be any other way? As an author, I hesitate to give much plot away, but I will make a few promises about The Only Ones. I promise a resolution that's both satisfying and unpredictable. I promise shocking moments, and tender moments, and funny moments. I promise a komodo dragon and a box full of kittens. I promise that if you read the sample chapter and find yourself hooked, then you'll be hooked all the way to the very end. And I promise that you will put the book down and know you have read something entirely unique.

When I started this story two years ago, I was hoping it would land in the hands of enthusiastic readers who would spread the word to friends. I still hope that's the case. So the only promise I ask you to make is this: If you read The Only Ones and like it, then tell someone. It will make me forever grateful and undeniably happy.

All the best,

--Aaron Starmer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After setting off from the island where he has been leading a solitary existence, thirteen-year-old Martin discovers a village, Xibalba, peopled with other children who have been living and governing themselves since the grown-ups were all spirited away.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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