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The Only Ones

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Like the other children who have journeyed to the village of Xibalba, Martin Maple faces an awful truth. He was forgotten. When everyone else in the world disappeared one afternoon, these children were the only ones left behind. There's Darla, who drives a monster truck; Felix, who used string and wood to rebuild the internet; Lane, who crafts elaborate contraptions for li ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,531)
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Laurel
I don't know why it didn't get more buzz. I devoured it this week, and was kind of shellshocked by how odd and amazing it was. For those kids who've read the Hunger Games, but aren't really ready for full-on YA romancey stuff, this might be the ideal follow-up. It isn't as violent, but it walks that same edge of violence/ puberty/ isolation/ dystopia. And there's so much to puzzle over. It's like a cross between Collins and L'Engle, maybe, with some Lord of the Flies thrown in, but more hope.
Chris
Well, that came together quite nicely.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of readers: those who like a straightforward story firmly based in the rules of standard plotting and those who enjoy feeling off-balance as they puzzle through strange pieces of information parceled out in bits. I don’t just mean the challenge of solving a mystery or the surprise of a twist ending, but of having no real idea just what the book is about or where it’s going, of having to figure out the very
...more
Kelly Butcher
Ok. I slept on this book and I still don't understand it. I can't wrap my head around how that machine worked. I am going to give it to one of the most intellectual students over the weekend and make him read it. He will love it- LOVE it, I know. Then, he can explain it to me on Monday and I will stop scratching my head.

Other than my complete lack of understanding of the theory of relativity...

This is a great coming of age story- it is not often we get a boy main character who we watch grow up
...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
The characters in The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer have to face things that would scare the crap out of anyone. What would you do if everyone around you suddenly disappeared? I don’t mean just the people you know. I mean everyone. Martin Maple has always lived a mostly solitary life – so it takes him awhile to fully understand the significance of being completely alone. When he begins his travels to the only place left in the world with living people, he has no idea what is coming.

Before I go any
...more
Landon
I came across this book first by browsing through the goodreads giveaways a while back. I didn't win, but it remained on my "to read" list. When I was in the library last, it was displayed on one of the tables and I remembered the cover and snagged it up with the rest of the books. I am so glad that I did. A book that definitely has some "Lord of the Flies" like moments as we follow the story of a few children who are left alone in the world. The book is very intriguing and to me was definitely ...more
Nick
I liked most of this book until I realized what a mind-bender the resolution was turning out to be, at which point I began to be annoyed. Like with certain time-travel stories, the resolution hinges on a cause-and-effect loop. That's dangerous, and in this case it didn't feel like the author had figured out the implications consistently. Among other things, the initial community of survivors has too limited a skill set to actually survive, as described, and by the end it is getting better, but n ...more
Karissa
I got an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher. I loved the synopsis of the book and was excited to read it. It was an excellent middle grade post-apocalyptic read full of mystery.

Martin Maple lives with his dad on a small island. Him and his dad work on building a machine when it is not summer; when it is summer they deal with the various tourists that show up. That is until one day Martin's dad sails away and is never seen again...and the tourists stop coming. After living a co
...more
Shanshad Whelan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna
Martin and his father are the only inhabitants of the island, except for the few summer people who visit each year. They spend their time fishing, gardening and working on the machine. Martin doesn't know what the machine does, only that his father says it's their only hope. One day Martin's father announces he's leaving to search for the last piece of the machine and will return by his 11th birthday. His birthday comes and goes and his father does not return. By the time his 13th birthday is ap ...more
Susan
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Claire B.
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Blue
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 bu ...more
Kathleen
Jan 05, 2012 Kathleen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Middle School Age kids
I really enjoyed this. Sort of a fantasy/sci-fi flavor. Martin Maple is a young boy and lives with his father on an island. Martin doesn't go to school or really have much of a job, and his father forbids him to speak with any of the vacationers to the island. Martin does one day befriend a kid his age named George, but is very discreet about it, and their relationship is based on stories - stories george tells him about the outside world, stories that george brings Martin in book form. Martin a ...more
Emma
Mar 29, 2012 Emma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction
This review originally appeared here at Easy Reading and Damn Hard Writing.


Martin Maple knows a terrible truth. He and the rest of the children who live in the commune that they have called Xibalba were not only left, but Forgotten. All of the adults in the world disappeared on one fateful Day, and the children are now alone. But according to the animal-whispering “prophet” Nigel, Martin has the capacity to bring them back—and he just might be right.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was ver
...more
Whitney Whiting
Martin is a young boy who, by no fault of his own, is left completely alone to try to understand the world. He reads everything he can get his hands on, and then ventures out into the real world, only to discover that he is far more alone than he thought.
He juggles meeting new and very different people, solving a problem that hasn't been defined and leading a group of teens that have settled into a "Lord of the Flies" situation that Martin is most definately not prepared for.

I dither between t
...more
Kerry
This is the kind of book I love. Without giving too much away, I'll just say I love time travel books and mystery books. It took me a little while to process the end, but it was good, so damn good.

I do wonder about Nigel. What was the deal with the Nigel character? There were a couple of holes in the story, but mostly while reading you're so absorbed that you just don't care. You do get a sort of ouroborus feel at the end when trying to sort everything out, but that's part of the fun, right?

I kn
...more
Megan
Dec 21, 2011 Megan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
I liked the premise, once I had finished and realized what the premise was, but overall, I did not find this book to be a particularly enjoyable read. The characters felt shallow–I knew some basic characteristics about all of them, but nothing really about what they felt or thought. I disliked almost all of them, and found it confusing when the narrative made it clear that I was meant to be sympathizing with some of them. Points that I felt were interesting (like the tame animals for instance) w ...more
Craig
Oct 15, 2011 Craig rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This book is engaging from the opening page until the very end. I especially loved Starmer's ability to bring such vivid life to Xibalba and its inhabitants.

Parents would need to be very careful if letting a kid read this, as there is some gore and heavy subject matter. I'm not a parent, nor do I believe in shying away from difficult material, but some people are/ do (as is their right).

A lot of the plot requires suspension of disbelief -- ironically, one of the core tenets of the experience of
...more
Donna
This book was a unique gem among a ton of "end of the world/left behind" young adult fiction. It had twists and turns that were impossible to predict. A thought provoking book. It may take younger readers out of their comfort zone, but the protagonist is so likable that readers will feel compelled to continue reading to find out what happens. I thought the end felt a little rushed and not as finely crafted as the rest of the book, however a very recommendable book to young adult readers. A good ...more
Stewartc85
I absolutely adored this book!

Sometimes you can tell that books have been written pretty much like a film... but then a gem comes along that reminds you how an actual book should read. It's a fantastic story with many different layers and in some fantastical way makes you believe in each and every one of the characters. You want these characters to do well, but unlike so many stories, you actually have no idea what 'doing well' would result in.

I don't want to say anything about the storyline, I
...more
catherine james
I enjoyed every moment of this book right up to the last two chapters, then everything fell apart. Without divulging any pertinent details: the how and why behind everyone's disappearance made made absolutely no sense. (Perhaps my less-than-stellar grasp of science is responsible, but given a number of other folks at Goodreads seem to have the same complaint, it could also be caused by author error). Still, I enjoyed the journey of The Only Ones enough that I'm willing to give Mr. Starmer a pass ...more
Amy
I really liked this book. It was clever and creative. I am hoping there will be a sequel because there are some questions left unanswered and I would love to read another. This was a book I won as a Goodreads First Read. It would not have taken me so long to read it normally but I was really busy. I liked this a lot and in any normal situation it would've taken me a few days max to read this. It kept getting more interesting as it went along. I would definitely recommend this to my friends.
Lynna
I thought this was an amazing book. The kids' situation was certainly interesting and unprecedented, and the characters were well developed in that they all had their own personality and talents. The plot flowed along very well, and the events that occured were all very believable. The ending was unexpected and the reason why everyone disappeared is rather difficult to understand, though the author provided a plausible reason, but the pure uncomprehensability of it is what makes it magical.
Charlou Lunsford
Martin, 13, always a solitary boy, becomes very alone on an island when all others just aren't there one day. After a year he leaves and finds a community, Xibalba, populated by other children who survived the vanishing. He may have the secret to reuniting them with their families. The children, not just resourceful, are described in the blurb as "equally brilliant and peculiar" and indeed they are. This could be categorized as post-apocalyptic quirky. And I like quirky.
Lupine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stingray225
I have read a lot of Utopia/Dystopia novels, but not once have I been so puzzled by a novel in this genre. At once, the story is unique, and it continues to be so. As it progresses, a series of seemingly unexplainable events leave you clueless as to the authors motives. The puzzle starts to fit together only in the last 75-50 pages, making for an exiting and enthralling read. Some content remains a loose end however, and a sequel might help.
Wendy
I was surprised but I actually liked this young adult book. It wasn't sappy and romantic like most other YA novels these days. The author didn't even describe his main character. We had no idea if he was a steamy heartthrob! What a relief! There were a few instances of violence that were kind of shocking. I wouldn't want a young teen to read it. The plot was very different and strange and I really wanted to know what was going on.
Heather
The Only Ones is very intriguing, and had me quite captivated. I know it is marketed for "young readers," but I would probably recommend it for ages 12-15, because of the violence and deaths and Lord of the Flies-ish nature. It will probably appeal to fans of Michael Grant's Gone series, but is much better written. I would also recommend it to fans of science fiction, time travel, and alternate realities.
Jeannette
A post-apocalyptic story that reads like "The Road" but without any grossness or hopelessness. It's an intriguing mystery that grips all the way through. The only thing that kept me from truly loving this was a connection to the characters - the minor characters would get lost and the main ones seemed so interesting that I wondered why I didn't feel totally captured by them. I wanted a bit more from them. Still, highly recommended.
Anastasia Tuckness
Fascinating premise involving time travel and causation. Takes a while to get going, but kids who enjoy books like The Mysterious Benedict Society, where you can just settle in and take your time and enjoy the ride, will probably like this. The characters are interesting too. Definitely a thinker's book.
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