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The Only Alien on the Planet Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New student Ginny is intrigued by the handsome alien in her homeroom?no, this is not a science fiction novel. Smitty?real name Michael?is known to his schoolmates as "The Alien" because of his affectless appearance and complete silence. Soon, Ginny and Smitty's longtime protector, Caulder, team up to try and crack his shell. They get much more than they bargain for when they drag him along on old-movie outings; as a none-too-subtle plot device, the first turns out to be The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, the second, East of Eden. Smitty walks out of both, for it turns out that he was almost fatally abused by his older brother, who also convinced him that he would die if he spoke to anyone. With the help of Ginny, Caulder and a wise and sympathetic therapist, Smitty emerges from this psychological curse, and he and Ginny even begin a tentative romantic relationship. Randle (Why Did Grandma Have to Die?) unfortunately builds her otherwise well-crafted novel around an uncharacteristic response to abuse. Under his pain, Smitty is totally honest and caring?a very romantic figure, but not one likely to be found in the real world. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-12. Ginny Christianson had been a happy person: "happy, cheerful, easygoing, reasonably popular even." When her family suddenly relocates and a beloved older brother leaves for college at the same time--well, let's just say Ginny is a "displaced person." As life manages to go on, and fun, caring new friends begin to fill the gap, a strange boy at school captures Ginny's attention. Smitty Tibbs is a brilliant, handsome boy who never speaks. He is known as the Alien and lives in total isolation from emotion and communication--tolerated by the other students but pretty much left alone. Meanwhile, Ginny's new friend Caulder has long been fascinated with Smitty and is determined to break through to him. Together Caulder and Ginny take Smitty in and begin to probe at the barriers he has thrown up, the abuse he has suffered, and the resulting silence into which he's retreated. Ginny's deft and engaging narration reveals a delightful and totally believable teen. The otherwise strongly drawn characters sometimes delve into dialogue that sounds like social-work parlance, but we can forgive because the overall impact of this psychological novel is so powerful. Anne O'Malley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402226691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402226694
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first stumbled across a copy of this book by sheer accident. I had been in the high school library searching for a book-- any book-- that cautght my interest. You see, it is mandatory that we read during a specified time in class and I needed a book desperately. I had already been in the library fifteen minutes when my English teacher told me to just pick something and go. As fate would have it, I grabbed The Only Alien on the Planet. The book was a fast read, but I read it over and over again for weeks. I felt connected to Michael-- Smitty-- on a very deep level. Perhaps it was because I'm very much like him (although I do tend to speak more than I should). The book is touching, deep, and frighteningly real. Ms. Randle captures the heart and soul of human emotion, existance, frailty, and hidden strength. I, too, was helped by friends who were desperate to get me out of my shell and wanted to know the truth behind my phantom scars. If Michael were a real person, and to me he is, he would be the closest person to me. A dear friend and companion, even though he is distant. Ms. Randle-- Bravissimo.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those books that you read and reread everytime you think about the story. I am captivated every single time I read The Only Alien on the Planet. I am dragged into the situation and emotions that wrap around Ginny and Smitty. The struggles that they go through are made real and deep (3D). I especially love and appreciate the way the author presents the story, told by Ginny, and the commentary she provides. It definately comes across that a teenager tells the tale, with a teen's emotions, insecerities and thoughts. Randle has a special, facinating writing style that adds so much to the story. (the book couldn't be written any other way, and have the same meaning.) And the "highs" of the story are well done. The book (overall) is extremely satisfying. This is one of those books that you HAVE to finish before you turn out the light at night (even to all hours)!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first word that came out of my mouth when I read this book was "WOW." The Only Alien on the Planet was powerful and moving, a book that I've read over and over again, and I read it again yesterday...I cried. This book is amazing, a must-read, and probably the best book I've ever read. In a way, it's a study of human psychology and behavior disguised as a story, a very involved, detailed, wondrous story. Interesting as well is Smitty's wordless perspective on everything, and how he reacts to Ginny when she comes near him, while he seems to have done nothing outside of his mind for fifteen years.
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Format: Library Binding
I've enjoyed reading books by such s.f. literary luminaries as Asimov, Heinlein, Card, Le Guin, Greg Bear, and Clifford Simak. Despite its somewhat s.f.-sounding name, _Only Alien_ is not science fiction, but it should appeal to science fiction fans, or anybody who enjoys powerful stories with believable, interesting characters. Of my favorite authors, _Only Alien_ reminded me most of the science fiction by the incomparable Zenna Henderson. Most of her fiction was set in classrooms, told from the perspectives of students or teachers. It's been some time since I've cared about a novel's characters the way I cared about these. Their joys were strongly felt, and their pains were real and exquisite. Eventually the mysteries surrounding Smitty are solved, and many characters experience interesting but very believable types of growth. The surprises in this novel are too precious for me to give them away here, but I will say that although readers are very unlikely to guess the full story (I was completely surprised), nothing is thrown in just for sake of being a plot twist. The whole story is extremely organic and flows naturally, and by the end one wonders how it could have been any other way. Yet it is an engaging page-turner throughout.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is wonderful!! I read it when I was still in High School and it really shows a genuine experience. Now that I am in college,it's the same thing: There is always that one person who tries to keep out of the spotlight, and yet for that reason, people flock to them. That's what happened to Michael "Smitty" Tibbs.
Although I would have like to have seen it written on paper, there was a hint of a possoble romance between Smitty and Ginny. I guess I'm just a sucker for those kinds of things. It would be lovely if Ms. Randall made a sequel.
I never get tired of reading this book and I recommend it to anyone, not just the 8-12th graders that it is supposed to be for. I know that I will be reading this long after I graudate from college.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not only does this book reek maturity, it's a coming-of-age novel that will peak the interest of all the readers, whether young or old. Reading the tragic life story of Michael, AKA "Smitty", and his overcoming the limits he has embedded into his brain, sparks the tiny bit of our souls that bind us together. In the end, I cried, and so did my mother. I recommend this book to any curious reader.
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A Kid's Review on January 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Only Alien One The Planet Kristen D. Randle
The Only Alien One The Planet is a really good book. It's about a boy, namd Smitty, who doens't talk to anyone, and it's about a girl named Ginny. Smitty has alot of problems and won't describ it to anyone, and Ginny wants to know why he won't talk to anyone, and why he has been like this for years. Caulder, their friend and neighbor, know's some reasons why, but he refuseses to tell Ginny until Smitty is ready. Ginny and Caulder try to help Smitty by talking him to the movies, taking him to ice cream shops, and trying to make him speak. But all is lost because in his world, there's nothing. Until Caulder finds a note in his trash. It's a poem, one that has alot of emotion and feeling on it. Then there is hope. They take him to Haley's party, (Haley is Ginny's best friend and Caulder's girlfriend). Sometime in the party Smitty disaperes, and Ginny goes out to find him. Opps...... I already told you to much, so I'm not going to say anything else. Was this review helpful?
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