Nov 29, 2007

The Only Alien on the Planet

by Kristen Randle

This is a superbly written young adult novel. One I literally couldn't put down. The characters and conversations are very realistic, the depictions of events and concerns in high school ring true. The Only Alien on the Planet is about a girl named Ginny whose family moves during her senior year. She adjusts to her new school and makes friends with the boy next door, Caulder. Before long another neighborhood boy catches her attention: Michael, nicknamed "Smitty." At school and home, Smitty never says a word, never responds when people talk to him, never changes his facial expression. Yet he's evidently very smart, earning As and scoring high on all tests at school. The other kids call him The Alien and pretty much ignore him. Caulder gets Ginny involved in a mission to discover why Smitty is always silent and get him to speak. At first I thought Smitty was an autistic savant, but it turns out his silence resulted from psychological abuse. Near the end the story started to loose its credibility, but by then I cared so much about the characters I could overlook the faults. A very intriguing and captivating story.

Rating: 4/5                 228 pages, 1996


Magdalena said...

Why did you feel that the book started to lose credibility towards the end?

I have read the book, so feel free to cite details.

Jeane said...

Well, it's been several years since i read it so I can't remember exactly which details. I just recall an overall feeling of incredulity. I think I was surprised that the brother's manipulation could have had such a serious effect upon Michael; and then when Michael began talking I was surprised again at how eloquent and perceptive he was. I guess I expected that if he'd been silent for so long, he would not have communicated as well. A false assumption, probably, of me.

Anonymous said...

I had to read this book for school and I finished before I had to. I liked it but I wish I could remeber Smitty's brother name was.

Jeane said...

I don't remember his name either, probably because his character came into the story so late.

Anonymous said...

the name of the brother is Russell and i also liked this book