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The Girl Who Owned a City

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,350 ratings  ·  535 reviews
A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. There is chaos everywhere, even in formely prosperous mid-America. Gangs and fierce armies of children begin to form almost immediately. It would be the same for the children on Grand Avenue but for Lisa, a ten-year-old girl who becomes their leader. Because of Lisa, they have food, even ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 189 pages
Published September 15th 1977 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1975)
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Miss Crosby I think this is a stand-alone novel! :) If you enjoyed it you should try 'Gone' by Michael Grant.

I think this is a stand-alone novel! :) If you enjoyed it you should try 'Gone' by Michael Grant.
classified name You can either download a sample or you may buy the book in the kindle book store.

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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,350 ratings  ·  535 reviews

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Jan 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Wendy Burton
This is hands-down one of the worst books I have ever read. Pedantic in the extreme, nonsensically plotted and full of so many holes it looks like lace. And the writing is abysmal. Wait, what's worse than abysmal? Right, this book.

A plague has wiped out all the adults, so they are freshly dead. Except there aren't any bodies. Not one. They seem to have vanished, poof. Electricity doesn't work and there's no water to any of the houses, but there aren't any sanitation discussions. Appa
Catherine ♡
I read this book in elementary school and loved it. Even the premise for this book is really unique. Children often dream of a world without parents and without rules, but this book puts an entirely different spin on that sort of world by making it dangerous and scary.

Lisa was such a powerful character, and I really enjoyed how she evolved as a leader. At the same time, we saw the softer side to her when she interacted with her younger sibling.

I won't lie - there are defi
I read this in junior high. I can't remember a lot of details, just certain specific incidents come back to me at different times. Sometimes I think - remember when that girl in that book went to the grocery store and was glad the gang members hadn't taken the medicine, just the potato chips? Or, remember when that girl from that book had to learn to drive and didn't do so badly and was glad there was gas in the car? Then I start to think how hard it would be to start over again when all the adu ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking for this book forever. All I could remember is reading an older book about a city where the adults died and the kids had to survive. Finally found it! I checked this book out over and over and over and over and over from the library when I was in middle school. Loved it. Was addicted to it. Finally found it. So happy!
Feb 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Let me start by saying that I didn't finish this so-called novel -- in fact, I didn't get past chapter 5. I kept thinking to myself that it would get better, but as the plot got rolling the unrealistic elements leaped out even more strongly than before. From page one, I felt the writing was less than acceptable for a published novel. (And when I saw the author's dedication to 'Lisa and Todd' I knew that a large conceit like super-characterizing your own children would lead to many, many others.) ...more
Okay, this is a review with major qualification.

I read this first when I was nine, and I loved it. I think I read it along with some other apocalyptic scenarios, and this was also the time I started in on sci fi, so altogether I was looking for adventure. Somehow this book lodged in my mind and I only recently got my hands on it again. And once I did, I burst out laughing: this is a libertarian call to action!

I'm much savvier politically than I was at 9 years old, and it'
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Oh, this book. The eight-year-old me who first discovered it would give it a 5-star rating. Twelve year old me would probably put it at 3. And as an adult, I want to give it a 1. So, I have given it a 2, overall.

This book is why I became interested in dystopian fiction. It is also why, as other reviewers have commented, I pass by school buildings and wonder what it'd be like to build a community within them.

But it really isn't that good. It's actually poorly written in ma
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Some stories come around and you can’t help but keep reading them. One of those books is The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson. It’s an amazingly descriptive story about a world that is only inhabited by kids.
The story starts by 10 year old Lisa, the main character, breaking into a vacant house to steal supplies like food and candles. At first, it just seems like she’s a thief, but you will soon change your mind. She spots a note on the way out written by a father explaining to his sons tha
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in junior high and I remember hating to read it because it was required but I secretly loved the story. It made me imagine really awesome stories in my head when I read this wondering what would happen if I had to go through something like this. I think about this book sometimes out of the blue and remember it being really intense. I would love to read this again but I don't want to change the way I think or felt about this book when I was younger.
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler) ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
This book is conservative propaganda.

I say this (and am writing a review) because I very rarely give books one star--in fact, this is the first one star rating I've ever given, and I've given plenty of books I didn't actually like three stars. But this book takes a nominal message about earning the things you have and turns it into a message about seizing power and refusing to share it with others in a way that promotes a very dangerous ideology.

Specific points this books
Jun 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Do not waste your time on this book (and no, my opinion is not unjustified). The characters were unappealing, the setting was unrealistic, there were many plot holes, the story was boring AND cliché... what more can I say? Let's break it down:

So there has been a plague that wipes off all adults. Only those 12 years of age and younger survive.
There is no explanation of how this happened. Whatsoever. This makes it hard to believe in the story or have any feelings toward anything at al
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
One day my girlfriend was actually out of the apartment and attending some obligation without dragging me along . In strict accordance with her habits, she continuously suspected I was scampering about with a bevy of well-endowed trollops and expected to come home to our domicile to find it reeking like the summer of 69. In actuality, I spent a large portion of these three glorious hours reading pre-teen literature....

I can’t even guess as to when I first read this book but I think i
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
A dismal and hugely overrated experience.

We all have a weak spot in our literary preferences, and I have a particular one for post-apocalyptic settings. But while most 'PA' stories smartly take advantage of the thrills found in survivalism and violent conflict, I'm a real sucker for the focus on rebuilding, on the need for organization and structure, and the intricate task of reintroducing it into the world. So I thought I would enjoy "The Girl Who Owned A City", which I'd heard focused on this
Daniel .e
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Girl Who Owned a City
Picture yourself in a world without parents, without TV and other electronics. Now picture yourself looking for food in abanded homes. If you can picture that, than you understand some of Lisa’s life. Lisa is a 10 year old girl whose parents were taken by the plague. Lisa has a 6 year old brother Todd. Lisa has to get food for Todd and her. A problem is that when the plague struck gangs formed immediately. So Lisa has to look in places that haven’t been ransacked a
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
School read, review to come.

I read this with one of my students for her instructional level reading group. The premise of the story was fantastic, a plague has killed everyone over the age of 12 and now children have to learn how to survive on their own in a new dark age. But I could not get over all the things that made no effing sense. Where were all the dead bodies? If every single person on the planet over the age of 12 died, did they just disappear? Doubtful because toward the e
Thomas Ryerson
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I originally read this book back in Grade Seven, (1977-1978) and loved the concept. No parents! I was surprised that the author, Terry Nelson, didn't write any sequels. I see in searching for this book today, another author may have taken the lead from Terry and done just that. This book could have easily gone into a 10 volume set of Lisa's adventures.

The Girl who owned a city definitely influenced two of my own books; Castle Lake and Fun City. My character of Alicia Murdock in Castle Lake has
Dan Phillips
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Had a conversation with my mother-in-law this past summer trying to remember books I'd read as a kid, especially dark, post-apocalyptic ones. The Girl Who Owned a City was the one I remembered best -- or at least remembered LIKING best. That and the premise: A virus has killed everyone over the age of twelve, and now these kids in suburban Chicago have to fend for themselves. In the process of locating the book, I learned that its author was a big Ayn Rand follower, and his intent in writing TGW ...more
Jessica Burtness
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal
I enjoyed this book because it was based on a dystopian society, which I have stated before is one of my favorite genres. I had this book recommended to me by a friend a while ago and I was excited to have a reason to read it. This book was challenged in Maine schools due to promotion of violence "Including explaining how to make a Molotov cocktail". While I can understand that there is a high level of violence in this novel, I still disagree with the censoring of the book. That being said, I wo ...more
To learn to survive is the most important goal of every human being to learn to cope with tragedy and to cope with pain and to heal through all of it and use what intelligence you have and use your thinking instead of using violence to come up with a way to survive in a world where everything has been destroyed there's no electricity and there is no running water you have to learn to live by your wits ends like an old times of the pioneers and Indians this is a true story about the Fate that may ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
What was this XD It was such a weird story! I had a lot of issues with it, but I also kind of feel the same as Lisa, how (view spoiler) I like how selfish she is, I think i ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008-09-read
The Girl Who Owned a City is a book that I can really relate to. Lisa is the main character of the book, and she is 10 years old. You might say, what's so interesting about a 10 year old girl? Well that’s when you're wrong. Lisa's life had change a lot when their parents died from a terrible plague that swept across the earth. And the weirdest part is, only kids who are 12 year old or younger doesn't get infected. But that’s what makes the story interesting.

Everyday, Lisa will have to se
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Girl Who Owned a City

By: O.T. Nelson

The Girl Who Owned a City is a fictional dystopia or a post-apocalyptic story, where a disease wiped out all people ages 13 and older. Ten-year old, smart, and creative Lisa becomes the leader of Grand Avenue, a neighborhood, and all the children in it. Because of Lisa and her big ideas, the citizens of Grand Ave. have food, shelter, and protection from the gangs, which were formed as a source of power to acquire food and other vita
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this now with my 6th graders; I think it's at 5th grade level. They love it so far and ask questions compulsively--sometimes we can't get to the bottom of the page without 5 or so questions. They are baffled by the world without adults and keep asking things like, what happens if she runs a red light? Oh yeah, there's no more electricity so there are no red lights. Why don't they have eggs for breakfast? Oh yeah, there are no farmers living or delivery trucks or stores where they can ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
The Girl Who Owned A City, by O.T. Nelson, is a Fiction novel in full bounce. This book reminds me of a book called The Class Trip, which shares the theme of loneliness with this book. This book is about a girl named Lisa and her brother Todd. All adults are dead because of a disease that kills everyone over 12. Lisa and Todd, and all the other kids that live on grand Avenue are determined to stay alive during this deadly plague. At first when they're fortress in the neighborhood gets burned dow ...more
It's hard to review a book when you've read it as both a child and an adult. The kid in me still loves this book, but the older me isn't sure how much of that is genuine adoration and how much is just the rose-tinted glasses that color memories from that time in my life.

I first read this book in fifth or sixth grade, I think, and at the time it was exactly the sort of thing that appealed to me. Kids running around without any pesky adults to tell them what to do, and, despite their h
Tammy Cherepko-Valentine
Read this book back in high school. As a class assignment I thought this book was dumb. But over the years, I always had this story in the back of my mind. So I finally ordered the book and sat down to read it again. It is now one of my favorites that I own. It is amazing how one child can come up with the things Lisa has to continue to live. I am having my daughter read this book so she can see what may/could happen and that you always need to be prepared and level headed if something ever come ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a girl named lisa who lives alone with her brother Tom. When she was young her mother and her father died so they are living a terrible life. Thats not all, they are living in a neighborhood where there are gangs and stuff. Also there are only teenagers and kids because last year there was a virus that went around and killed all of the adults. So the all the stores are empty and they have to find out how to survive.
I can connect to this book because once there was a bl
Katy St. Clair
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book at a funky, tiny used bookstore in like, baltimore, when I was a kid, and it quickly became The Greatest Book I Had Ever Read. I liked any book where the kids are forced to be independent and act like adults, and a plague that kills all the grown-ups was just the ticket! The protagonist has to learn how to drive a car on her own, something I totally dug... and she and her pals all holed up in a school and became lords of the city. It is satisfying to see so many people on here ...more
Lauren R.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T Nelson is mind catching story about Lisa and Todd’s life style. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it explains there life in a not so normal way. I liked that Lisa and Todd both worked together to help each other through good and bad. The showed great team work when Lisa asked Craig if he could come with her to the secret and he said yes so that’s were Lisa and Craig’s team work began.

In this story I like how it had good details and adjectives. An e
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