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Welcome to the Ark (Ark #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  555 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
In the near future, a time of global violence, Miranda Ellenby and three other strangely gifted young people have been gathered in the group psychiatric home they call the Ark. In the real world, they're freaks. In the Ark, they're treated lovingly and urged to "connect". Soon they discover amazing powers within themselves -- powers that can change the way other people beh ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 26th 1999 by HarperTrophy (first published 1996)
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Stephanie Hawkins
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: Melissa at Center City
Shelves: teen-fiction
I have always wanted to teach this book. I read it a few years ago, and I absolutely loved it. It's a multi-genre book about a group of teenagers sent to a group home because they are thought to have special abilities. The kids don't know this, and it's very interesting to watch how they discover their gifts and decide what to do with them. Written through IM chats, interoffice memos, medical and psychological files, etc., this book is awesome!
ainsley
Sep 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who ever felt out of place because of unusual mental gifts (academically or otherwise)
Recommended to ainsley by: Amy
One of my best beloveds of recent (to me, at least) YA books. I'm far too old to be a baby genius, but I want to be a teacher in part to help bring out the cheetah within more people, whether they be mostly lion or pure cheetah. Because, yes, the system failed these four kids, but does it have to be that way?
Dan
Of the stories I read as a child, there are a few that I have never forgotten. It's not always clear why this is, but I recently started finding and re-reading those books, in an attempt to try to better remember them and understand why they stuck with me so long. Of the ones I have revisited so far (see shelf "book-rediscovery-project"), this is the first that fully lived up to its memory. It's clear I remembered this book for a reason -- it had a fundamental impact on the way I viewed the worl ...more
Savannah Cole
May 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book “Welcome to the Ark” was NOT a good read. The book was really confusing, and I had a hard time getting it, and I’m usually a pretty good reader. The book had a bad structure overall. The book consisted of journal entries, computer chats, emails and the basic story. I could barely find the plot to the story, which was pretty much a group of depressed psychic kids who join together to try to stop world violence with a fake purple lion that they control with their minds. I do not recommend ...more
Sara
May 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I really enjoyed this book, it's a great story about four kids. I just wish that there was more closure in the ending. I felt as though it kind of let off in the middle that there was no true ending. Most importantly I wish that there was some kind of follow up to the story.
Margo
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good premise, nicely done. unfortunately overtaken by the world and so feels dated. There's not enough quest in the story to make up for this.
Alex
Aug 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book in grade school. I really did. The story is that a small group of hurt and misfit kids are plucked out of the general population of a mental hospital for the young, to a small experimental group home. There they use their mental powers (mental superpowers) to form bonds and begin waging peace on a crumblingly violent world. That book, at the core, can be a GREAT book. I REALLY liked that book.

Unfortunately, as an adult, I see that Tolan doesn't understand much about either ment
...more
Tommy
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was kind of boring at first, but when I started to read more and find out about what the characters (Doug, Elijah, Miranda, and Taryn) have in common, it became interesting. I wanted to read on to see what keep happenings to them - what they will do or where they will go.
However, when I continuing reading, I did not like how confusing some parts were. As I was reading, I re-read some parts because of how they were phrased or what the characters were talking about. The plot (or whatever
...more
Stephanie A.
I started out utterly bored and confused by what was going on, thinking it was a shame that Tolan put so much effort into creating this cache of multi-format documents (journals, letters between adults, intake reports) that I would be completely unable to appreciate until I reread the book to understand their context, which I of course had no intention of doing because it was so dull.

But I continued to invest my time, and I'm glad I did, because by the time I got to the end I DID in fact think
...more
Tessa
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the book was a bit slow at some points, I ended up really liking it and feeling that it has a great message. Many children will relate to the young characters who all feel like misfits in society, and the idea of a world filled with violence and terror is becoming all to real. Like 1984, this book suffers from putting a date on a dystopian society, and some teens may be hung up on the fact that the dates in the book are techinically in our past, but the text itself still seems relevant. ...more
Makenna Baker
Sep 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am reading this book right now. It is a really interesting story. There are 4 main characters. Their names are Miranda, Doug, Taryn, and Elijah. They are in a "nuthouse" for their extrordinary gifts. Miranda is known as the baby genius. Doug is a flutist and a math whiz. Taryn writes amazing poems and can communicate with other life forms. Elijah hears the deep growl of voilence around him, and won't talk to anyone since his grandmother died.
They are put together in one house to try and conne
...more
Robin
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching, young-adult
I enjoyed my trip back to the Adirondacks -- many madeleine moments here. I can see GT students enjoying the privileged role given to children with superior intelligence, and they would appreciate the recognition of concomitant socio-emotional issues. Very affirming for them. It was lots of fun -- if I can characterize apocalyptic violence and drug-fueled psychiatry as "fun." Very interesting seeing how Nolan imagined technology working for children in need of international networking back in 19 ...more
Mallory
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all-time favourite books. I read it for the first time in 7th grade (2000) and have taken my well-worn copy with me to college and even to law school. Stephanie Tolan has exceptional knowledge of gifted children and conveys it beautifully though Miranda, Doug, Elijah, and Taryn. During a time when I didn't understand how to normalize being a cheetah, I found incredible solace in the pages of "Welcome to the ARK" and still, to this day, often think of certain passages in my ever ...more
Dayna Smith
If you're expecting Surviving the Applewhites this isn't it! A dark somewhat depressing, yet hopeful, tale of a world on the edge. Told through interviews, emails, and memos, as well as text; this story tells the tale of four kids who have been sent to a private mental institution for troubled teens. They come for various reasons and from a variety of backgrounds, but are they really crazy? Placed together in an experimental group home called The ARK, they begin to discover they have unusual men ...more
C.E. G
Nov 26, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
just spent less than 10 minutes poking around the internet for this book knowing only the following facts:
1. i read this book in middle school
2. it was about gifted children at some sort of camp or school
3. i thought there was a main character named Raven (which, it turns out, wasn't even remotely true)
couldn't remember anything else about title, characters, plot, author, etc. it's times like these that i have hope for myself as a reference librarian.

anyway, loved this book in middle school, and
...more
Johnny712
in welcome to the ark, miranda, elijah, tayrn, and doug have extrodinary minds. they can connect to nature.

i think that the ark is really like a place for people with sucky life. i mean, miranda told everyone she was an alien. doug breaks into cars and stores. elijah can't talk. almost all of their parents are dead.

i don't think anyone's life sucks this bad. i mean, to tell everybody your an alien. a 17 year old kid breaking into twenty cars. an eight year old kid that can't talk. the car break-
...more
Heather Rindlisbacher
This book is one of my all-time favorites, and another I have used extensively in my bibliotherapy group. It is easy for my teens (and myself!) to emphasize with the notion of being a "misfit" in society--and the thought of a deeper bond is a stirring topic of discussion. This book doesn't have the "Happily Ever" ending, so if that's what you're after look elsewhere--but the realism of the ending makes it appeal to those that recognize how difficult it is to survive. Also highly recommended-Flig ...more
Alyssa
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grace
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the Ark details the journey of four young geniuses as they strive to fight the evil in the world. Although I liked the characters extremely (they were very lifelike and realistic), I think the book started to get into the more dubious when it was talking about the superatural. I think I may have enjoyed it more if it stayed with the realistic, hard world, but then again, I'd enjoy it in almost any format.
Jay Gowen
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jay by: Mr. V
The binding and printing of this book make it appear to be a lighter read than it actually is. Actually, the whole story is a contradiction--some elements of the plot are very lightweight, and others sophisticated. It's hard to categorize actually. I would recommend it to adults and my students.

I was particularly impressed with the ending. I think the author managed to salvage a happy ending without abandoning realism.
William McCauley
This book deserves more than five stars. I have thought for many years that it's the finest Y/A novel out there. It tells the story of four very gifted kids who are considered "troubled" and therefore put into a type of institution. They find that they can achieve amazing things when the pool their powers. There's just enough paranormal there to make it interesting, but it's not outlandish or unbelievable. I've read and re-read it, and it continues to amaze me.
Jenny
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, teen
Four kids aged 8-17 are selected from an institiution to participate in an experimental group home with two doctors as parent figures. The troubled but brilliant children begin to reach out to each other and to other geniuses around the world, and begin to manifest paranormal abilities and connections. Now the head of the institute is aware of the children's abilities and wants to control and use them for his own benefit.
Juliana
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, sff
Recommended for: Smart people who didn't fit in when they were young.

Near-future YA dystopia featuring "gifted" young people. What makes this stand out is it gives a more realistic view of what the alienating side of that experience would be like than most, and of the painful side of having abilities along the lines of telepathy.
Callie
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastic
I was so close to finishing this book, once upon a time, two days into a summer vacation after 5th grade. I was playing at a softball game that night, and all I wanted to do was finish reading this book. I broke my leg sliding into home base, and it took me a lot longer to finish reading than I'd wanted.
Liz
From the first time I read this book, I was in love.
I thought the story line was amazing and thought it could
very well be happening in our world today. After reading
it about 20 times, it is still honestly my number 1 book.
M Reynolds
A book about a bunch of special kids in a war-torn US in the future.
It was interesting to read, because at the time the book was written, 2000 was the future.
It was okay, but there was no true POINT. It was just a story. No moral, no big climax... but it was still good.
Soccerfan2
This is a very interesting, different book that easily grasps you. I am only 30 pages in and I cannot believe what is going on. Anyone who likes different books should read this because it is spectacular.
Margret
A book about a bunch of special kids in a war-torn US in the future.
It was interesting to read, because at the time the book was written, 2000 was the future.
It was okay, but there was no true POINT. It was just a story. No moral, no big climax... but it was still good.
Mallory Pinson
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confusing...:)
Sharla
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After watching Sense8 on Netflix I had to revisit this book; it's as fascinating and heartfelt as 15-year-old me remembered.
Jenny
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
23/25
5
5
5
4
4
I didn't remember this title but I do remember this cover!
Benson
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly loved the Ark family and their distinct personalities.
Sofie
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
3 and 3/4 stars
Pretty interesting but not that interested in the next book
alicatstrut
The writing is decent. But kids who have special powers, no really they do? And they want to use it to do good and all the bad stuff in the world hurts them, like, so much. It's pretty silly.
Nutter
Feb 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I think the exact thought in my head when I finished this books was, "HAEH?" The highlight of the book was probably the telepathic sex, and that really wasn't very titillating.
Amarilis
Nov 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adult/ adults
Shelves: 4-stars
I liked the way this book gives you insight on what it must be like for some children who are so gifted that society might call it something else. It was very interesting.
Marilyn
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scifi lovers
This book was soooo good! I recommend it! its one of those that really makes you think, the very ending wasn’t as well written as the rest of the book though.
Katy
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one of those books that really made me stop and consider my perceptions of those around me and how I may be missing key information as I form my opinions.
Julie
It's not a bad book, but it does feel preachy and more than slightly shallow. I was disappointed at the arc the plot took, since it felt like many easy paths were taken.
Marilyn
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolan weaves a powerful story of terrorism and hope, yet the reader is left to wonder whether the hope part is the fantasy. Interesting concept presented.
Sherry
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a scholastic bookfair book, but has a very interesting premise about paranormal behavior and peaceful solutions to world conflict.
The
Apr 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This novel seems incomplete, like chapters were pulled before going to press. It also has a clear agenda, something I despise in novels.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
First volume in a series about gifted kids who try to control the world's violence. Reminds me of "The Tomorrow People".
Lillian
Pretty darned cool. Sci-fi/mystery/action. I enjoyed it in fourth grade, and again this past year.
K.
As Liz Lemon has said, "rejection from society is what created the X-Men".

Or whatever these kids are.
Carissa
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite YA books. I've owned it for a long time and have probably read it 10 times.
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Stephanie S. Tolan's earliest memories involve books. Those that were read to her and those she read to herself, often late at night with a flashlight under the covers. She always thought there was a special magic in the little black marks on paper that could turn into whole worlds and real people. Born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin, she wrote her first story in the fourth grade. It was thrillin ...more
More about Stephanie S. Tolan

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“How do we know imagination isn't just a different way of knowing something? A message from outside.” 8 likes
“It's lonely at midnight in the nuthouse.” 5 likes
More quotes…