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One of the Survivors

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  170 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews

Anger. Sadness. Rage. Grief. Guilt.

Joey Campbell experiences them all, even though he knows what he should really feel is lucky. Lucky to have survived the fire that burned Village Park High School to the ground. Lucky that his best friend, Maureen, also survived, when no one else in his freshman history class managed
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published August 27th 2009)
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Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Susan Shaw's books are always on hard-hitting topics: a girl who has a nervous breakdown, a boy who survived horrific abuse and deprivation at his parents' hands, a girl who survived a kidnapping and brutal rape, and now a boy who with his best friend was the only survivor in his high school history class after a fire destroyed their school. Because only those two had the presence of mind to realize the shrieking alarms were NOT "just a test" but the real thing, a lot of people, angry and lookin ...more
Darcy Wishard
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have always been a fan of Susan Shaw and her books have always been very popular in our middle school library. Once again I was not disappointed! Susan has written another poignant, and at times, gut-wrenching story.

After Joey and Maureen survive the fire that caused the death of the rest of their classmates, people start to wonder how they knew to get out. Surely only someone who had something to do with the fire would know when and how to escape.....right?

Joey tells us his story through jour
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked this book up on a whim because the cover caught my attention and the jacket flap had an interesting premise. The story is categorized as juvenile fiction, but is pretty heavy subject matter. A boy and his best friend survive a fire that claimed the entire rest of their history class. The main character is dealing with the aftermath of the event by writing in a journal. The voice of the main character really comes through. This is a thought-provoking, quick read that I enjoyed.
Jennifer Wardrip
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

They say survivors of tragic accidents suffer not only the personal trauma of the tragedy, but also feelings of guilt as the "lucky" ones who survived the event. What if that guilt is compounded by the fact that the survivors are also being accused of causing the deadly event?

Joey has already survived one fire - the one that killed his mother barely a year ago. Now he and his friend, Maureen, have survived a fire at their high schoo
Shane M
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Imagine living everyday with people hating you and wishing you were dead. This is how 15 year old Joey spends his everyday life. The genre of this book is realistic fiction.
I enjoyed this book because it talks about surviving and just living a hard life.

The setting of my story is the backyard of a small house in Pennsylvania, in present times. This is important to the story because it makes it more modern and allows readers to relate to it. Joey was just 14 when his school alarm went off, but hi
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
I am frustrated with this book. I really liked certain aspects of it. The voice of the main character, Joey, is extremely real. His reactions and observations of the tragedy he has been a part of touch me deeply. I really wanted to like this book.

However, and this is a big however, it feels as if the entire story is based upon a series of coincidences that rival A Series of Unfortunate Events. There are not one, but two tragic fires in this story which rely on double errors each time. Additional
Lisa Rathbun
Aug 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I often enjoy YA books, but this one wasn't one of them. The situation - two teens survive a fire that killed their classmates - is sure to capture readers' attention, and the plot development, told often through journal entries, slowly reveals more and more of the details of the main character's life, but I found that it just moved too slowly. The foolish things he writes in his journal to keep his mind off the fire are boring and not well written, which makes sense since its a teen's diary but ...more
Paige Y.
Joey and Maureen were the lucky ones. The fire alarm had been constantly going off that day at school. Each time the intercom would come on, telling everyone that they were testing the new alarm system. But the last time it goes off, the intercom message is fuzzy. Mr. Austen is annoyed by the interruptions to his class and he tells everyone to ignore the alarm again. But Joey can’t. His mother died the previous year in a fire, and he and his best friend are the only people in the class to defy t ...more
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Joey is one of two students in his high school history class who escape and survive the fire that destroys his school. The book starts with Joey waking up from a nightmare – seeing the school burning while he is trying to go inside and save his cat. And his mother. And all the other students in his class. The rest of the book is about Joey dealing with his grief, trying to reconnect with Maureen, the other survivor, and the blame placed on him by most of the students and much of the community. P ...more
I thought this was a very exciting novel. It had lots of action and suspense. At some points, it was a little bit hard to follow, but overall, it was very good. I could make a connection to this book because Joey lost his mom in this story. I know some people, who have had one of their parents die and I know how hard it is for them. One of the Survivors is about a boy named Joey, and a girl named Maureen, who are blamed for setting a fire that killed their entire history class, including their t ...more
Linnea Hendrickson
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was quite caught up in this, but somehow it didn't come together the way it should in the end. Perhaps I missed something when I was reading quickly, but I didn't remember the sketch at all until it suddenly became all-important at the end. What kept me reading was the possibility that I might be listening to an unreliable narrator. That would have made the story even more horrible and probably definitely not a children's book. I also found the narrator's isolation quite unbearable. There was ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is such and amazing book. If you like reading tragic but heartwarming books, this is the book for you. This book is so hard to write about and not spoil it! I can really only say this, 24 dead, 2 survivors and Murderers! Everywhere he goes, even at his own house, Joey Campell will be called a Murderer, for no reason, the people don't know what even happened. But at the beginning of this book, it starts out confusing, but when you read more into it, it will start to make more sense. I l ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fire, healing
Story is about this kid Joey Campbell who's mother was killed in a fire when he was younger cause she went back to get her cat Preston. Joey and his friend Maureen are in class one day when the fire alarm keeps going off and the teacher forces them to sit or be suspended. Joey and Maureen leave because Joey cannot sit there knowing his mother died in a horrible way. Anyway all the rest of the kids die in the fire and he and Maureen are blamed. The ending is positive. This story was supper slow t ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This was just an okay book for me Kind of meh. It's short, so it's an easy read. It touches on the deep emotional trauma that Josh deals with after witnessing two life-changing fires. Understandably, he has to deal with some pretty deep, dark stuff. Luckily, he's got a loving family and a great best friend to support him. It's kind of slow, and pretty predictable. If you're like me, you'll feel really bad for Josh and Maureen throughout most of the story, but you'll feel better at the end. Like ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this for a book talk to middle schoolers, I was looking for a realistic fiction book with a boy protagonist and hit upon this one. It wasn't bad. Joey and Maureen are their class's sole survivors from a school fire, and the book is about Joey dealing with his survivor's guilt and past PTSD from his mother's death in a fire. It is thoughtful and sad, but suffers a bit from being too straightforward. I also have a hard time believing that the ire is on Joey and Maureen, the survivors, inste ...more
Paul Curtis
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the Survivors is about two teens that were the only ones to escape a fire in their high school and everyone blames them on starting it.
The plot of this story is that, like i said, two teenagers escaped a fire in there high school and were the only ones alive in there class and everyone thinks they started it and killed everyone. They are forced to stay at their homes so they don't get ridiculed and threatened and even hurt.
I recommend this book to anyone that likes suspense novels and are
Kim Patton
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
While it had a slow and confusing start, by the end it was a pretty good book. The story is written from Joey's perspective, a high school student, in the form of a journal. Appropriately, the journal rambles on for the first half until they really get to the point of the story. Joey and his neighbor, Maureen, are the only two survivors from their history class when the school burns down. This raises suspicion in the community that they were the cause of the fire.
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books where no one really knows what it is, but they should because it is indefinitely AMAZING! It was funny at first because the goth chic had the same name as my best friend, the cat had the same name of this short funny dude in my grade, and there were a LOT of names that were also the names of my friends so at first it was really weird. I INSANELY love this book and I actually want to read it again sometime.
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This books is similar to Walter Dean Myers, Shooter, which is a very popular read by our students (not sure if just for the length of the book or for the content - but it is popular either way). I can see recommending this to students who liked Shooter. It does start out slow, but once you get past the first 50 pages or so, it does get more in depth. And you can't help but think - Did he set the fire?
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Through Joey's diary entries the reader witnesses the horrible story unfold. The whole town is punishing Joey and Maureen for surviving a devastating fire that kills their classmates. The truth is overlooked as people in pain look for a scapegoat. We later learn that Joey has recently survived another disaster. Joey is such a great kid and your heart will ache for him. Kids can be cruel, but adults also participated in the mass hatred.
Schmee smith
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
personally, i thought this book was terrible. i had no hook in it whatsoever. it is about a boy named joey who complains lot about his classmates dying in a fire when he and his best friend, Maureen, survive. after the fire people start rioting and fighting about hem blaming the survivors for causing the fire. and the ending i believe the writer go lazy. over all i believe the author could have done much better.
A short, quick read which proved to be a little warm-and-fuzzier than I had imagined. Really, I just wanted to give Joey a hug, but I'm glad everything panned out the way it did. My one issue was the repetitive writing style, in which the author would just repeat certain words over and over for effect. I didn't care for that, however it seemed to die down by the end.
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, 2009

there was just something unsettling with the narration, which could have lead to an interesting plot twist, but didn't. i'm not sure if it was intentional, or just my take on the character. either way, i never could feel the flow of the book, or get into where it was going. an interesting look at loss and tragedy, but ultimately wrapped up in an unsatisfying way.
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-ya
Loved this book!

Two kids are the only ones from their history class to survive a fire in their school building. They're both suspected of starting the fire. The two kids are just trying to deal with the loss of their friends and teacher and the guild they each feel.
Mrs. Tongate
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Sad read, but you are wanting to see Joey get through this some how. His Mom died in their own house fire and now 24 students dead from a school fire. The community is brutal to Joey and Maureen, the two survivors.
Dec 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Good because it's a unique story, but it's not the most exciting and can be quite slow moving. I'm talking this one to a group of 7th and 8th graders and think it'll be an easy sell because the big plot points are way different from the standard fare.
Miles Cohan
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a very good book but there was an error in the book on page 178. It says Mr. MasterSON instead of Mr. MasterMAN.
Tracy Hubbard
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade

A boy survives a school fire...but he is only one of 2. The guilt he feels combined with the anger of people who's children do not survive makes an interesting story.
Feb 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pity_the_trees
These weren't convincing people, and none of the things that happened to them were convincing either.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
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I was born in a log cabin in Illinois - no that wasn't me!

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, grew up outside of Philadelphia with two parents, along with a wild assortment of brothers and sisters and cats and dogs. I did things like take music lessons and play relievo or baseball in the sideyard with the neighborhood kids. Went to school, which I really hated, but somehow managed to get thr
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