The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva

41BayEZWG8LThe Last One, by Alexandra Oliva, published by Ballantine Books, 2016.

Fans of The Hunger Games, McCarthy’s The Road, and King’s The Stand will find elements of those stories contained and entwined within Oliva’s debut novel. Contestants sign on for a reality show like none other ever produced – a unique game wherein the only way out is to quit, no outside communication is allowed, and nothing can be trusted as reality.

Unbeknownst to the contestants, while they are playing the game, something terrible is occurring throughout the country…

The main character, who we know as Zoo/Mae, is a strong, relatable female lead. She is flawed, but she is relentless, resilient, and committed to being the last one standing in the game. The reader knows that something has gone horribly wrong outside the parameters of the game, but Zoo has no way to differentiate between fiction and reality.

Compulsively readable (we’re talking a one day read), The Last One is filled with dynamic characters, fluid prose, and enough suspense to keep you biting your nails and guessing what’s going to happen next. Oliva does a phenomenal job of making the reader feel like he or she is actually a viewer of the show in which the contestants are playing. And her unflinching, critical insights into the hypocrisies and “unrealities” of reality TV and social media are spot-on.

So if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read with a little bite to it, pick up The Last One. And remember: not everything is as it appears to be.

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Shannon Bowring

About Shannon Bowring

I am 26 years old. I was raised up in the County, in the tiny town of Ashland. I attended the University of Maine in Orono and graduated in 2012 with a BA in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. Reading and writing have always been the greatest loves of my life. I am most at home in the dusty corners of used bookstores, surrounded by forgotten books. One day, inspiration struck when I decided I wanted to combine all my loves – writing, reading, traveling, exploring these beloved shops – to create an outlet in which I can share my bookish adventures with an audience of like-minded readers who could appreciate my love of words and stories.