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The Last One: A Novel
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2016
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Description
Wilderness survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in this fast-paced novel of suspense in the vein of Yellowjackets.
 
“Taut, tense, and at times almost unbearably real.”—Ruth Ware, author of One by One
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, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.
But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.
Praise for The Last One
“[Alexandra] Oliva brilliantly scrutinizes the recorded (and heavily revised) narratives we believe, and the last one hundred pages will have the reader constantly guessing just what Zoo is capable of doing to find her way back home.”Washington Post
“A high-concept, high-octane affair . . . The conceit is undoubtedly clever and . . . well executed, but what makes The Last One such a page-turner is Zoo herself: practical, tough-minded and appealing.”The Guardian
“Oliva takes this (possibly) post-apocalyptic setting, grafts on a knowledgeable skewering of the inner workings of reality television and gives us a gripping story of survival. . . . This is the genius of Oliva’s storytelling. . . . [She] makes a stunning debut with this page turner, and becomes a writer to watch.”Seattle Times
“Oliva delivers a pulse-pounding psychological tale of survival. . . .  [She] masterfully manipulates her characters and the setting, creating a mash-up of popular TV genres: Survivor meets The Walking Dead.”Bookpage
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/12/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101965092
ASIN:
B016TG5RKG
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Alexandra Oliva. (2016). The Last One: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Alexandra Oliva. 2016. The Last One: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Alexandra Oliva, The Last One: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Alexandra Oliva. The Last One: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:25:27
Date Updated:
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title
The Last One
fullDescription
Wilderness survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in this fast-paced novel of suspense in the vein of Yellowjackets.
 
“Taut, tense, and at times almost unbearably real.”—Ruth Ware, author of One by One
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, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.
But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.
Praise for The Last One
“[Alexandra] Oliva brilliantly scrutinizes the recorded (and heavily revised) narratives we believe, and the last one hundred pages will have the reader constantly guessing just what Zoo is capable of doing to find her way back home.”Washington Post
“A high-concept, high-octane affair . . . The conceit is undoubtedly clever and . . . well executed, but what makes The Last One such a page-turner is Zoo herself: practical, tough-minded and appealing.”The Guardian
“Oliva takes this (possibly) post-apocalyptic setting, grafts on a knowledgeable skewering of the inner workings of reality television and gives us a gripping story of survival. . . . This is the genius of Oliva’s storytelling. . . . [She] makes a stunning debut with this page turner, and becomes a writer to watch.”Seattle Times
“Oliva delivers a pulse-pounding psychological tale of survival. . . .  [She] masterfully manipulates her characters and the setting, creating a mash-up of popular TV genres: Survivor meets The Walking Dead.”Bookpage
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Karen Joy Fowler
      • content: Advance praise for The Last One "The Last One seamlessly melds two of our contemporary obsessions--the threat of global catastrophe and the staged drama of reality TV--into a fiercely imagined tale of the human psyche under stress. This is an uncompromising, thought-provoking debut."--Justin Cronin "Haunting, moving, and remarkable . . . Alexandra Oliva's debut novel is clever in its concept and gripping in its delivery. This propulsive book is for everyone who ever thought reality television signaled the end of the world."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from May 9, 2016
        The TV show Survivor meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in Oliva’s stellar debut. One of the 12 contestants on In the Dark, a reality show set in the remote Pennsylvania wilderness and billed as a “reality experience of unprecedented scale,” is Zoo, so called by the show’s producers because she works at a wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation center. Zoo decided to go on In the Dark as one last big adventure before settling down to start a family with her husband. The host explains that the game is a race with no finish line; the only way out is to quit. Trouble arrives in the form of an unidentified pathogen that begins to kill off a substantial portion of the world’s population. Alone on an extended solo challenge, Zoo has no idea that the lines between reality and reality show have been blurred into nonexistence. Fueled by brilliantly intimate and insightful writing as well as an endearing and fully realized female lead, this apocalyptic novel draws its power from Zoo’s realizations about society and herself as she struggles to survive long enough to somehow make it back to her home and, hopefully, her husband. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2016
        A young woman's participation in a survival reality show conceals an actual apocalyptic event in the outside world. Telling herself that she is after one last big adventure before starting a family, Zoo (as she is dubbed by producers) decides to participate in a hard-core wilderness survival show. The novel's first narrative strand takes us through the show's initial week: we see a series of group and solo challenges, such as tracking animals and filtering water, accomplished in order to earn prizes. We are also introduced to the reality show contestants, who are called by easy-label names like Asian Chick and Air Force. Zoo quickly rises as a leader among the contestants--she's easy to get along with and has "moxie." But intercut with the narrative of the show's first week is that of Zoo alone, on what she believes is a long solo challenge. Thinking that the production team has cleared out entire towns and strategically placed corpselike "props" (complete with the smell of decay), Zoo moves east in the direction of her home, determined to be the last one standing and the winner of the $1 million prize. In her debut novel, Oliva has written a book that is clever in the best sense: she is able to skewer reality show culture and dystopian tropes while never letting concept or critique become more important than a good yarn. The novel is thoroughly steeped in its times--the use of a Reddit-like forum plays a key plot role--but unlike other dystopian novels, it doesn't so much use contemporary times to warn us about potential future collapse as it shows what impact our times have on the ways we think about identity and human relationships. An astute and compelling entry into the post-apocalypse genre.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 1, 2016
        Zoo, a nature-preserve educator, joined the cast of the reality show In the Dark to experience a final solo adventure before starting a family. The competition is set in a large forest, and the cast, selected for maximum volatility, competes to win food and survival tools. With fierce determination and some basic survival skills, Zoo emerges as a top contender. After their small teams split into solo challenges, Zoo notices a dark shift in the producers' reality-bending machinations: disappearing cameramen, torturously long periods of solitude, and even horrifically realistic fake bodies planted in her path. But when Zoo encounters Brennan, whom she quickly pegs as an artfully inserted replacement cameraman, his despairing stories of pandemic disease and mass chaos force Zoo to question her perceptions about what she has witnessed while stumbling toward the show's finish line. Part wilderness-survival thriller and part dystopian pandemic story, Oliva's debut is a gripping portrayal of an ordinary person's evolving survival instincts as she realizes that she can't trust the reality she sees.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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Wilderness survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in this fast-paced novel of suspense in the vein of Yellowjackets.
 
“Taut, tense, and at times almost unbearably real.”—Ruth Ware, author of One by One
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, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the...
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