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

The Last One

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  13,459 ratings  ·  2,515 reviews
Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva's fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, som
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by Ballantine Books (first published July 12th 2016)
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 Last One, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nancy It is not dystopian but more post-apocalypse survival and psychological suspense combined.
Julie There are no rape scenes at all. There is a brief mention of a rape that occurred - one line - and just that it occurred.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,459 ratings  ·  2,515 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Last One
Emily May
2 1/2 stars. Here’s the problem: this is a good book, but I just didn’t really like it that much.

Comparisons between The Last One and Station Eleven are spot on, in my opinion. So if you liked the latter, there's a good chance this book will suit your tastes more. It's another dense, wordy, literary post-apocalyptic novel. It's clever, and yet I found it emotionally distant.

Oliva presents us with a great premise - a reality TV show turned nightmare. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods wit
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best science fiction category 2016!

 photo IMG_1366_zps6kdgflj9.jpg

"It's all just part of the game. As long as I keep that in mind, I'll be fine, no matter how twisted things get.

famous last words, man…

this book was so, so fun, and i had such a great time reading it, but the fact that some people i usually agree with did not means i gotta write one of those probably-only-interesting-to-me reviews to work out what i loved about it without giving too much away because spoiler polic
3.5 stars

Alexandra Oliva’s debut novel deserves all the hype it’s been getting. The premise alone had me hooked. A story where contestants are on a Survivor-esque reality show cut off from society when something of catastrophic proportions affects the rest of the world causing even blurrier lines between what is real and what is reality tv.

Sound interesting, original, or exciting? It fits all of these descriptions. And even leaves room for social commentary on reality TV much in the same way th
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I usually overlook some things in an arc copy of a book that bugs me but I'm really hoping that this one gets cleaned up just a bit because it's a full five star book if it does.

A reality TV show that will test the contestants more than ever before. They have to sign a disclaimer that basically the producers don't owe them nothing and that last one in the game wins.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Twelve contestants enter and the only way out is to say Ad tenebras dedi (To the night I surrender)
Now for me, the beginning o
Chelsea Humphrey
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“Well, that escalated quickly…” seems to be the theme of this book. I had a blast reading this one; it was disturbing in an “in your face” type of manner with no concern for the reader’s feelings (just as I like it). I will say that I agree with most of the other reviews before mine; if this had been cleaned up just a bit, it would have been a 5 star read for me, no questions asked. This wasn’t your typical YA dystopian novel; there are relationships but in reality no romance is portrayed. The c ...more
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, I want to give all the props in the world to Alexandra Oliva, because this is one of the best debut author novels I've ever read. I was so impressed by her fresh take on a survivor/pandemic story in this heavily saturated market.

“That's how they do it; they blur the line between reality and nightmare. They give me bad dreams, and then they make them come true.”

The Last One is about a TV surviv
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia, audiobook
This was rough and definitely the biggest disappointment of my reading year. I was really looking forward to this book - I love the premise and was excited by the comparisons to Station Eleven, a book I loved immensely, but man did this ever fall flat for me.

The story is told from two perspectives, before and after. The unnamed protagonist was a contestant in a reality tv show when a plague hit and is left alone but thinking that this is still all part of the show. I have watched an awful lot o
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I liked the premise but the book was just okay!
Dannii Elle
First Read: June 2016, Rating: 5/5 stars
Second Read: March 2020, Rating: 5/5 stars

This book sounded pretty much like it was created with my personal tastes in mind: a thriller following the characters on a reality TV survival show as they traverse through not only the wooded area used as their natural set, but the altered real world, leaving doubt to blossom in both the minds of the characters and reader as to what is real and what is unreal...

This book delivered on every front! I was hooked fro
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars--it was amazing... even if none of my Goodreads friends agree! This book verges on horror, and if descriptions of death and gore bother you (animals, adults, children... everyone, really), I'd give this a pass.

I'm trying to figure out what made this book work so well for me. When I finished it last night (at 2 a.m.), I had shivers and tears in my eyes. I think it's because, despite the book's darkness (and it IS dark), there are moments of light and compassion and hope, which I found mo
Will M.
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t had a great read from Netgalley in months. I’m glad that I saw this on the most requested section and decided to give it a try. One of the best decisions I’ve made this 2016.

If you’re planning on reading this novel then you should avoid spoilers at all cost. I read the short summary provided by the author on Goodreads and immediately read the novel. It’s only 304 pages, and I was really happy about this fact. Unfortunately, after reading the whole novel, I’m actually asking for more. I
It took me a little bit to get into this novel despite the rather streamlined and quick pacing and uncomplicated plot, but that was mainly due to the whole Reality Tv setup.

I got over that pretty quick because I got into the characters and especially Zoo's shifting viewpoint forward and backward through the timeline and the easy telegraph of the utter tragedy that was to befall everyone taking part in this media extravaganza. And further, of course. :)

Well as soon as I got established? Well, hel
Larry H
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I was torn between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.

Alexandra Oliva's The Last One is really thought-provoking. A look at the making of and the people involved with a Survivor -type television show, crossed with a bit of Cormac McCarthy's The Road , this wasn't quite what expected, and it moved me more than I thought it would.

In the Dark is going to be the next big thing in television. A wilderness survival show with an enormous budget, the producers are ready to pull out all of t
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, netgalley, sci-fi
4.5 stars

I did not want this book to end!!

Imagine the reality TV show Survivor, but ramped up about 10 notches. Zoo is one of 12 contestants chosen to play the new series called 'In The Dark'. Set in a remote location, these contestants are given team challenges in the beginning, then they are on their own for individual contests. Isolated, they have no idea that something is happening around the world, something viral. How long will it take for them to figure it out, if ever? Would you be able
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, reviewed
What would happen if the world went to hell while you were isolated on a stupid reality survival show called In the Dark (not subtle)? That is the premise of this book, and I started out disliking it, but by the end I thought it deserved 3.5 stars which I've rounded up to 4. First, I confess that I'm probably not the intended audience for this book, since I would neither appear on nor watch such a show.

The chapters alternate between descriptions of the 12 contestants and their group dynamics and
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
Sam enters a reality show. Let’s call it a surviving in the wilderness competition. Winner gets a million dollars. The way I describe it is only indicative to a part of this story. The taping of the show is already underway, and within five pages the story is been turned on its head. What I did know, or believed, is that a catastrophe of sorts has occurred; Sam (nicknamed Zoo for the show) is now alone; there may not be a survivor left in the country, let alone in the game that had begun only da ...more
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
The Last One delivers a twist on the post-apocalyptic genre, combining it with a clever critique of modern reality television.

Twelve contestants are selected to participate in a new survival based reality show, but in the midst of filming, a devastating plague decimates the population.

We follow the show and get to know the contestants in the early days of production. These chapters alternate with ones narrated in the first person by a contestant nicknamed Zoo, which take place after the plague h
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a toss up, but I'm leaning closer to 4 stars for this.

There were contingency plans in place, but not for this. It's a spiral like that child's toy: a pen on paper, guided by plastic. A pattern, then something slips and -- madness. Incompetency and panic collide. Good intentions give way to self-preservation. No one knows for sure what happened, small scale or large. No one knows precisely what went wrong. But before he dies, the producer will know this much: Something went wrong.

I was so ex
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Really strong and intense read that left me feeling hopeful.

The Last One is about a group of reality show contestants: Tracker, Zoo, Engineer, Biology,Exorcist, Waitress, Air Force, Black Doctor, Carpenter Girl, and Banker who are being filmed for a Survivor-like reality show;one of the main differences being that rather than be voted off, each contest must opt to quit and the show ends when one person is left standing. The narrative alternates between Zoo's perspective of the solo competition i
Copy furnished by Net Galley for reviewing purposes.

This story is a delicious amalgam of Survivor and Twilight Zone (most particularly Time Enough At Last), with a hearty helping of a Captain Tripps-ish (say thank ya, Uncle Stevie) bug trotted out for good measure.

As the contestants in a reality Survivor-type TV show are busy honing their survival skills in the deep woods, they are blissfully unaware that an epidemic is sweeping through the nation at a prodigious rate. What begins as a reality
Liz Barnsley
Admittedly The Last One was not for me.

Very little to do with the quality of the writing, that was good, excellent in places. But the story lacked cohesion for me and I did not really relate to any of the characters. Plus the authors prediliction for the use of real names in parts and nicknames in others did cause me some head scratching occasionally and dumped me out of the story.

The premise is excellent and for the most part executed well. A survival reality tv show, the contestants challenge
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Last One is a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller about the world in shambles. There’s also a big-budget nationally televised survival reality show, with almost no lead time between filming and airing, starring twelve competitors. Only one of them can win.

Some elements of this story may sound familiar to the avid sci-fi and fantasy reader, but debut Alexandra Oliva offers a fresh twist on the end-of-the-world scenario
The Last One by Alexandra Olivia is a 2016 Ballantine publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really don’t remember requesting this book from Netgalley, but apparently I did. I don’t know what made me think this was a book I wanted to read, because one of the main threads is based on reality television, something I really don’t like or enjoy, and the other thread puts the book firmly into a popular genre, or theme, I don’t
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
This is now available to buy, make haste human and purchase this here book!

Also, I may have sent a begging email to the author after I read this because I wanted more answers about the ending, she kindly replied with patience - I've added it to the bottom of my rant review.


How do I rate this? The 5 I can give it and everyone else's leftover stars if they rated this less than the full 5. It gets all the stars.

This review is going to be nothing but me gushing and squealing like
“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”

----Yann Martel

Alexandra Oliva, an American author, pens her debut science-fiction dystopian book, The Last One that unfolds the story of a woman taking part in a deadly real-life survival game where twelve contestants without any prior knowledge needs to survive through a dense
Reality TV, admit it, we have all watched at least one. We have also sat in judgment of players after only seeing what the moneymakers want us to see. And. We. Fall. For. It., even as we say we are too smart to be manipulated. What happens when survival on a Reality TV show and reality itself become all too similar and how would we understand the difference after the physical and mental trauma of facing staged life and death situations daily for weeks?

Twelve contestants are chosen to test their
Stevie Kincade
(Audiobook) Firstly a word on spoilers: I am of the view that it is OK to talk about plot for the first 20% or so of the book. I don’t want to read a long description of the plot anyway, I want to read the synopsis and a few non-spoiler reviews AT MOST. Just tell me enough about the plot to give me a basic idea of how the story starts so I can know if I am interested. Now if you have NOT read the synopsis AND this is the first review of the book you are reading AND you know definitely want to re ...more
Dystopian novels that aren't strictly SFF – that splice their post-apocalyptic setting with some other genre or style – are becoming A Thing, a trend maybe not as pervasive as The Post-Gone Girl Thriller, but a trend all the same. It's hard for me not to attribute this at least partly to Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, though my impression of that book's significance is likely magnified by my love for it. Station Eleven is my dystopian benchmark, and it looks like the publishers of The L ...more
Sarah DiMento
"There were contingency plans in place, but not for this. It's a spiral like that child's toy: a pen on paper, guided by plastic. A pattern, something slips and-- madness. Incompetency and panic collide. Good intentions give way to self-preservation. No one knows for sure what happened, small scale or large. No one knows precisely what went wrong. But before he dies, the producer will know this much: Something went wrong."

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an hones
The Last One is a standalone, apocalyptic thriller written by Alexandra Oliva. I loved the original concept of the storyline. The heroine: Zoo signs up for a survival-based reality TV show and while competing, an epidemic of apocalyptic proportions occurs. However, she believes all the horrific real life surrounding her is a setup for the show. In her mind, the dangers she encounters are props, and the many risks are buffered by the safety of hidden cameras all around her. Her physical and m
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Goodhouse
  • Survivor Song
  • The Echo Wife
  • Malorie (Bird Box, #2)
  • The Loop
  • The Hollow Places
  • The Pack (The Pack, #1)
  • The Salt Line
  • The Last
  • A Beginning at the End
  • Tenimdeki İmza
  • Alayına New York
  • Karanlık Aşk (Karanlık Aşk, #1)
  • Başıbozuk Sevdalar
  • Beklenmedik Anda
  • Master Class
  • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
  • Farming for the Long Haul
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Alexandra Oliva grew up in a small town deep in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. A first-generation college graduate, she has a BA from Yale University and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, and their brindled pup, Codex.

Though she is not active on Goodreads, Alexandra can be reached via Facebook, Twitt

Related Articles

Get ready for some out-of-this-world reading and some insane near-realities with the science fiction and fantasy books that are catching the...
275 likes · 28 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I've heard believers speak of the coldness of science and the warmth of their faith. But my life has been warm too, and I have faith. Faith in love, and faith in the inherent beauty of a world that formed itself.” 9 likes
“I think I can hear the unseen moon” 8 likes
More quotes…