HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

One of the Survivors by Susan Shaw
Loading...

One of the Survivors

by Susan Shaw

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
464251,994 (3.76)1
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 4 of 4
Recommended Ages: Gr. 7-9

Plot Summary: Joey feels like a prisoner in his own house. He can't seem to get rid of his nightmares. His friendship with Maureen is different because they were the only two in their history class who survived the fire at school. 24 dead, 2 survivors. Through a series of flashbacks and tangents, the whole story of the day is officially told, but first readers learn about Joey's mom, who died going back into her mom's burning house as she tried to get to her cat who was outside afterall. Her burned body was brought outside and she had one last quick moment with Joey before she died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. So, obviously aware of the damage a fire can cause, Joey was on edge all day as the brand new fire alarms were being tested over and over again. When in history, after many false alarms, the fire alarm rang again. When the principal came on the loudspeaker, her message was broken up by static. Joey freaked out, and despite threats of getting a detention if he left the classroom, he and Maureen left. On the slow walk outside, they pondered whether they should go back to avoid getting in trouble, but Maureen trusted and supported Joey's gut. Not until they got outside did the see the flames, then they saw their classmates carried out one by one, and their parents running to them and screaming.

Setting: Village Park, Pennsylvania

Characters:
Joseph Edward Campbell - AKA Joey, skinny, crazed black hair, wants to quit school when he's 16, drew a picture of the last time he saw his classmates and teacher, families of the victims saw the sketch when it was in the frame shop and really liked the way it was done, especially since it captured the last moment and also their overall personality
Maureen - Joey's really really good friend who lives across the street, started wearing all black including hair and lipstick in high school, write poetry
Preston - 20 y/o cat, was Joey's mom's cat when she was younger
Ruby-ruby - Joey's grandmother whom he stays with for a little bit to get away from his house when the harassing starts
Dad - Joey's dad, supportive, puts up a fence around the entire house to protect Joey, suggested Joey write in a notebook as a journal but not pushy about it, says yes when Joey asks if he can dig a hole in the backyard
Albert - Ruby-ruby's second husband
Pete - one of Joey's good friends who died in the fire
Derek Masterman - huge athlete a couple years older than Joey, saved Joey when his class started to attack him and was about to hurt him physically, called Joey to ask how he was doing, stopped by with his dad to check up on Joey
Mr. Masterman - Derek's dad, stopped by Joey's house with Derek, recognized Ms. Austen as the lady with the flower hat who yelled "murderers" and threw garbage on their property
Ms. Austen - Mr. Austen's daughter who was also a teacher at the same school, was a repeat offender in terms of harassing Joey
Mr. Austen - Joey's history teacher, remembered when he was growing up that he had an insane teacher who kept pulling the fire alarm until they took him out in a straight jacket, didn't believe the principal the last time when she gave a broken message over the loudspeaker and kept lecturing about the C.H. Newton, the background of why Taps is played at funerals, and why the US got involved in a war with Spain (because a battleship exploded since the coal was too close to the ammunition room)

Recurring Themes: Hamlet, Taps, fire, school, murder, friendship, family

Controversial Issues:
Joey started smoking cigarettes after his mom's death.
loc 199 "except for the cigarettes. Dad wouldn't like it if he knew about the cigarettes. But I don't smoke them anymore. Not since May."
loc 281 "not that I smoke pot. I tried it once, and it made me sick. I felt awful all the next day too. And I thought it might help something. Boy was I wrong!"
loc 286 "well I haven't smoked cigarettes since May. i haven't wanted to."
loc 749 "hell with Spain....Mom wouldn't have liked that--Mr. Austen saying 'hell.'"
loc 274 "all hell broke loose"
loc 1369 "I can get a smoke before coming back. At least get a smoke behind that wide oak tree where there are always cigarette butts. At least do something wrong for the detention I'm going to get."
loc 1587 "cleaned up the beer bottles and cigarette butts"
Joey witnessed his mom and his classmates after they were pulled out of burning buildings. While their burns were not described in detail, it could be haunting to a reader.

Personal Thoughts: I'm usually a fan of dramas. I think overall this book was done very well, but I have just two qualms. I think the author did a good job of capturing how a teen might become numb after these two tragedies. However, I would have liked a few more stories that helped me connect to him pre-tragedy. Also, I felt the conversation between him and his dad was a little too fake and didactic and not natural. I also thought it was interesting that many people, including other teens and adults, blamed Joey and Maureen for the deaths, yet there would be some many reasons why they might be out of class at the time.

Genre: realistic fiction, drama

Pacing: slow-medium, series of flashbacks and many tangents, takes a long time to get the story out, definitely an internal story
Characters: interesting that all of the adults blame the teacher and that the teacher's daughter who was a teacher herself were bad examples
Frame:
Storyline:

Activity:
  pigeonlover | Dec 27, 2011 |
Susan Shaw's books are always on hard-hitting topics: a girl who has a nervous breakdown, a boy who survived horrific abuse and deprivation at his parents' hands, a girl who survived a kidnapping and brutal rape, and now a boy who with his best friend was the only survivor in his high school history class after a fire destroyed their school. Because only those two had the presence of mind to realize the shrieking alarms were NOT "just a test" but the real thing, a lot of people, angry and looking for someone to blame for the tragedy, believe this boy and his friend must have started the fire. So on top of his grief and survivor guilt, Joey must deal with the people who gather outside his house, throw garbage at him and chant "Murderer!"

But like Shaw's other books, this story is done subtly and tastefully; it may make you cry, but it's not graphic at all, and it's more about grief than horror. Her treatment of the topic makes the story suitable for younger teens and even some mature tweens, in spite of the serious issues involved. I would particularly recommend this for teens who have lost a parent, because a lot of the story is about Joey's grieving over his mother's death over a year before the fire at his school, and trying to find meaning in the way she died. ( )
  meggyweg | Sep 7, 2010 |
When his classmates die in a school fire, fourteen-year-old Joey is haunted by their deaths and struggles to survive amidst suspicion and anger from the town. ( )
  prkcs | Dec 28, 2009 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

They say survivors of tragic accidents suffer not only the personal trauma of the tragedy, but also feelings of guilt as the "lucky" ones who survived the event. What if that guilt is compounded by the fact that the survivors are also being accused of causing the deadly event?

Joey has already survived one fire - the one that killed his mother barely a year ago. Now he and his friend, Maureen, have survived a fire at their high school that claimed the lives of everyone else in their history class, including the teacher, Mr. Austen.

Since the two fourteen year olds were the only students in the classroom to survive, people in the community have decided to accuse them of starting the fire in the first place. The reasoning behind the accusation? How else would they have known that the fire alarm was not just a test.

That day the new fire alarm system was being tested. It started clanging before classes were even in session. Throughout the day, the fire alarm would sound, and the principal would announce over the PA that it was just a test. Joey became more and more unnerved each time the alarm went off, until finally, in history class, he snapped.

Even though Mr. Austen threatened him with detention, Joey stood up and announced he was leaving the building. Everyone knew about his mother's tragic death, but only Maureen knew Joey well enough to recognize his panic. As they both left the classroom and the building, they accepted the fact that they might be punished for their disobedience.

However, when they arrived outside to find the building was indeed on fire, their world changed forever.

ONE OF THE SURVIVORS by Susan Shaw is the story of Joey's life after the fire and his struggle to cope with the angry accusations of some in his community and to deal with his own private grief and guilt. Shaw uses a mix of Joey's personal journal entries and narrative accounts of the events surrounding the time leading up to and including the fire.

Readers will witness the emotional turmoil Joey experiences as he relives his mother's death and the senseless deaths of his fellow classmates. Shaw's control of the events and the way she gradually reveals the facts create a riveting read. ( )
  GeniusJen | Nov 29, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

When his classmates die in a school fire, fourteen-year-old Joey is haunted by their deaths and struggles to survive amidst suspicion and anger from the town.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 wanted2 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.76)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 3
3.5 2
4 9
4.5
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,723,511 books! | Top bar: Always visible