Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The One-in-a-Million Boy” as Want to Read:
The One-in-a-Million Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The One-in-a-Million Boy

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  31,260 ratings  ·  4,564 reviews
The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidde
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Headline Review
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The One-in-a-Million Boy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Heather Anderson The novel is by no means "devastating." Did we read the same book? It's a rich story about redemption, of finding purpose-- and finding hope, mostly--…moreThe novel is by no means "devastating." Did we read the same book? It's a rich story about redemption, of finding purpose-- and finding hope, mostly-- in the most unusual of circumstances. It's a story about the interconnectedness of life: a boy's death creates this web of human connections that cause several people's lives to become more meaningful. It's absolutely beautiful.(less)
SANDI PRICE I would definitely put this book in the 4.5 star rating it's getting. I would also put it in the same class as The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out th…moreI would definitely put this book in the 4.5 star rating it's getting. I would also put it in the same class as The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and A Man Called Ove. It's a wonderful story about courage and redemption and acceptance and.... I stayed up way too late a few nights because I just couldn't turn it off. And I cried at the end.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  31,260 ratings  ·  4,564 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The One-in-a-Million Boy
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I had an interesting reading experience with this book, which I'll be talking about in an upcoming video on my channel. Overall I thought this was a pretty good read! It didn't blow me away, but it was a nice and heartfelt contemporary. ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 enthusiastic stars

I'm stunned this book isn't receiving more buzz, as it is one of the better books I've read this year.

"The One in a Million Boy" is about a socially-awkward 11 year old boy who is obsessed with The Guinness Book of World Records (known to readers only as "the boy") and a 104 year old woman named Ona Vitkus whom the boy interviews for a school project. Of course, to say that the book is only about Ona, the boy, and the school project, would be like saying that The Unlikely P
Angela M
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

We never know his name but we come to know almost immediately the fate of the eleven year old boy who has a thing for world records and for counting and making lists and collecting things by 10. Is he just quirky or anxious or obsessive compulsive or lonely? Maybe a little of all of these but what we know for sure - he's smart and perceptive and has a special capacity for understanding as he connects with the lonely 104 year old Ona Vitkus , who he helps each week as he works toward his Boy Scou
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
It's sad, it's amusing, it's uplifting, and the writing is beautiful. This is the most unlikely of relationships - 104 year old Ona Vitkus and an 11 year old boy, but it's a joy to see it unfold, and watch how the story develops because of this relationship. Their friendship impacts on all those who know them, and just be sure to keep the tissues handy!

*Thank you to Goodreads for this first reads giveaway*
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary, real-feel
My thoughts are awash after reading this story that I cannot stop thinking about. Books I’ve loved tend to do that. “Loved” kind of says it all, but because the boy in the book, who grabbed my heart, was a boy who liked to count and list things by groups of ten, I thought I’d form my own list of ten thoughts and feelings that tries to explain why this story so affected me:

1.) I cannot ignore the World records that were such a part of this 11-year old boy’s personality. I found myself looking for
Elyse  Walters
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the season of the Jewish High Holy Days.....
A time to reflect - a time for moral self-assessment-seeking forgiveness from others we have harmed- making amends as appropriate.
This story fits with the season!!!

In Monica Wood's book....."The One-In-a-Million-Boy"......
After the loss of his son, a father carries on the boy's commitment to a 104 year old woman, named Ona.
The father was resistant at first....but because of the boys devotion and obligation to Ona, the father soon reaps the v
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
A diligent, hard-working 11 year old boy who loves making lists and counts everything bonds with a 104 year old woman over animal crackers and milk. The boy is committed to earning a Scout badge for volunteering to do her yard work and, despite ‘firing’ previous young lads, Ona Vitkus sees something in this boy that is rare and special.

When the boy can no longer keep his commitment, his father, Quinn, steps in to complete the seven remaining scheduled Saturdays. Quinn considers himself a failed
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars I just loved this book! So heartwarming, funny, sad, you will feel it all. Ona Vitkus a 104 yr old Lithuanian immigrant and the most unlikely friends she made just make this an awesome read.
Em Lost In Books
It started with tears and ended with happiness, what a beautiful story about friendship and love!
 photo FullSizeRender_zps1a649381.jpg

 photo FullSizeRender 271296_zpsgbbiz8fq.jpg

This was a very sweet book, which I thank Goodreads and the publisher for my hard copy. I have never seen such a specific layout in a book before, and this made a lovely story into a quirky reading experience.

I love to read about the underdog, and here we meet a lovable 11 year old boy who forms an unlikely friendship with Ona – who happens to be 104 years of age! I also love to watch a character, seemingly flawed, grow from something not to be proud of into something to be absolutely so
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. And that ending - the might have been if what happened had not happened. The sadness that (view spoiler). And that wonderful epilogue abut Ona. What a woman!!!
Okay so I am a bit lost for words. Read it. You will not be sorry.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As this story begins, Ona Vitkus is a hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty-three days old. Born in Lithuania, raised in Maine where she’s lived since she arrived at the age of 4 years old. Her parents fled with her to the US in fear of the coming Russian invasion. Her parents spoke little English, where Ona can speak only English, a word or two of Lithuanian floating through her memory now and then.

The boy’s father, Quinn, appears two weeks after the boy had last visited Ona, doing wh
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I crept out of bed at 3:30 a.m. this morning to finish this book and I must have read the last sentence ten times with my heart in my throat. Back in bed next to the open window, I heard the slow beginning and then the full morning chorus of birds as the darkness receded through the woods. It gave me goosebumps. I realize that may sound cryptic but when you read the book – and you must read this book - you’ll know just what I’m talking about. This story could not possibly have ended more powerfu ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Wow ! The One In A Million Boy is outstanding !!
You never know his name, but you won't forget him.
This book was recommended to me and I was told to not read any reviews, "just read it". I'm surprised there isn't more talk about it.
It's a beautiful novel that is engaging, sad, but not without hope, funny, poignant. The author draws so many emotions from you.
The story of an 11 year old and a woman who is 104. The boy seen through Ona's eyes is such a sweet character.
The story of a Father who
Larry H
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

Well, I know I'm a sap, but this one had me in pieces. Or maybe there was just something in my eye.

Ona Vitkus is 104 years old, a Lithuanian immigrant whose prickly exterior belies a warm heart, a mischievous spirit, and a lifetime of regrets. When the local Boy Scout troop assigns an awkward yet earnest scout to help her with household tasks to earn a merit badge, she's ready to scare him away as she has the others, if he doesn't disappoint her first.

Yet there's somethin
Marilyn C.
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
A fantastic and heartwarming story about an unlikely friendship between an 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant and a 11-year-old Boy Scout. The bond they share is uniquely special, and will definitely touch your heart.

I took the advice of several Goodreads friends, and did not read the blurb for this book. It really was best not knowing too much of this story beforehand and letting it just unfold as it goes. You are in good hands as Monica Wood delivers a well written story that will make you thi
Cathrine ☯️
“But certain others, they move in and make themselves at home and start flapping their arms in the story you make of your life. They have a wingspan.”

A life-affirming story of how a boy spread his wings producing turbulence in the lives within his airspace. Just about any reader would enjoy it, particularly anyone who has or works with a special needs, or should I say specially gifted child. Or perhaps you could use some inspiration in your winter years and be reminded that it’s never too e
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

----Joan Powers

Monica Wood, an award-winning best-selling author, pens a heart-rending tale of friendship in her new book, The One-in-a-Million Boy that narrates the story of a boy, and a 104-year old immigrant lady and the boy's father, who form a strong bond of friendship over loss and grief and their passion for Guinness World Records.


Miss Ona Vitkus has - aside from th
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers interested in stories of loss and unusual friendships.
Recommended to Hilary by: Judy
4.5 stars rounded up. An 11 yr old boy scout comes to help a 104 yr old woman. Over a 10 week period of Saturday mornings a wonderful friendship grows between them. The boy records Ona talking about her life on a dicta phone. He turns off the tape to ask questions and by reading her side of the conversation you can fill in his voice. The book is interspersed with guiness book of records facts relevant to the story, these records were an interest of the boy, and his hope to imortalise Ona. Lovely ...more
Book club read #6, May 2017.

Outstanding characterizations sparkle and shine in this heartwarming book about second chances. An eleven year old Boy Scout has met a sudden end, but lives on through his journals and tape recordings of 104 year old Ona Vitkus. His duty to help her around the house and to try to get Ona into the Guinness book of records was to end soon too, but is taken up by his guilt - laden father Quinn. Quinn and Ona end up helping each other more than anyone could have predicted
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I agreed to read this book when I received an email off the publisher with a brief description of this novel. The write up and the subsequent reviews painted a fabulous picture of a novel not to be missed, so I eagerly looked forward to reading this book.
It would be unfair to say the book was not worth the read but I did feel a little let down after reading about it previously. What I got was a well written novel that touched the heart strings as expected but didn't deliver the exceptional novel
Dale Harcombe
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As he comes and does jobs around the place for her, an eleven year old boy scout connects with 104 year old Ona Vitkus. But then one day he doesn’t come. Two weeks later Quinn turns up instead. Quinn is a musician and the boy’s father who has largely been absent for a lot of his son’s life. Quinn has never really taken the time to try and understand his son, who has a passion for records, loves to count things in batches of tens and seemingly has no interest in music. Quinn sets out to complete ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely story of love lost, found, and regained. It was a story of how no matter what age you are, one can always find what is needed to make your life worthwhile and whole again. "“At times, we are the bridge that allows another to re-enter the world after a loss. Don't mistake it for more or its beauty may be lost.”
― Danielle Pierre
Melissa Crytzer Fry
--4.5 to 4.75--

I thoroughly enjoyed this book – from the spunky 104-year-old Ona Vitkus and the young boy, so clearly different from his peers – to the physical structure of the book, which included scenes, as well as taped interviews of the woman as she responded to the boy’s questions, plus various lists of world record facts. The parents of the boy (whose name we never learn – making him that much more ethereal), Quinn and Belle, are also well-drawn, flawed characters.

Ona and the boy are so t
Connie G
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The boy", an eleven year old Boy Scout, is helping 104 year old Ona Vitkus fill her bird feeders and do some yard work. He's intelligent and direct, but a little different (suggesting Aspergers, but not identified). He loves to divide tasks into ten parts, and is fascinated by the Guiness Book of World Records. Ona is charmed by the boy and shows him magic tricks. He gives her a goal in life by suggesting that she go after the world record of the oldest licensed driver to achieve immortality. H ...more
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely, gentle novel about the relationship between a 104 year old woman, an 11 year old boy and his often absent musician father. Ona Vitkus, born in Lithuania in 1900 lives a lonely life in her empty house in Portland, Maine. Every Saturday the local Scoutmaster drops off a boy scout to help out with odd jobs. Mostly Ona finds the boys quiet and shy, until one day a very different boy turns up who is also a bit of a misfit in this modern world. He is fascinated with her age and gradu ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
How could you not like a 104-year-old woman who is gunning for a Guinness Book record as oldest licensed driver? Or an 11-year-old boy who is determined to coach her and get her into the record book? The boy is a Boy Scout assigned to help Ona Vitkus on weekends with chores around her house. He’s small for his age, picked on by other children, very bright, and is obsessed with counting and lists. As unlikely as it seems, the two become friends. They tell each other secrets and fears that they ha ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

I found this to be a thought provoking read, emotional and enlightening all at the same time.
Its about unusual friendships, love, regret, and forgiveness.

There isn't anything except pure honest and open bleeding in this book which will reach your heart.

This boy is 10 years old, he collects things, counts everything and a very clever young lad.
His perception on life is different from other 10 year old's again proving that this lad is special.

He has a friendship with 104 year old Ona developes
Danielle McGrath
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Sadly, I completely lost interest in The One-in-a-Million Boy about half way through and pretty much forced myself to finish it. The story seemed to drag on and on without much really happening and I had trouble connecting with the characters.

I also felt like the book jumped around too much and made the plot and characters extremely hard to follow. Each time I started a new chapter, I felt like I was starting the book for the very first time. It always seemed I was half way through the chapter
Aug 12, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stars

The premise of this book is super sweet. I'm disappointed that less than half way through, it lost my attention and I struggled to finish it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Harry's Trees
  • The Lincoln Highway
  • The Reading List
  • This Tender Land
  • The Four Winds
  • A Place to Hang the Moon
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
  • The Book of Lost Friends
  • The Personal Librarian
  • Anxious People
  • The Exiles
  • Miss Benson's Beetle
  • Кожа
  • Ordinary Grace
  • The Nature of Fragile Things
  • The Last Thing He Told Me
  • The Dutch House
  • The Kitchen Front
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Monica Wood is the author of four works of fiction, most recently The One-in-a-Million-Boy, which won a 2017 Nautilus Award (Gold) and the 2017 fiction prize from the New England Society in the City of New York. She also is the author of Any Bitter Thing which spent 21 weeks on the American Booksellers Association extended bestseller list and was named a Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her other fictio ...more

News & Interviews

People fall in love with people all the time. That’s no secret, and it’s one of the unmitigated upsides of life on this planet. People fall in...
34 likes · 6 comments
“You know, one meets so many people, the years pass and pass, but there are certain times, certain people— . . . They take up room. So much room. I was married to Howard for twenty-eight years and yet he made only a piddling dent in my memory. A little nick. But certain others, they move in and make themselves at home and start flapping their arms in the story you make of your life. They have a wingspan. . . .” 25 likes
“Because the story of your life never starts at the beginning.” 24 likes
More quotes…