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The Girl Who Owned a City Paperback – February 1, 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 276 customer reviews

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Paperback, February 1, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. There is chaos everywhere, even in formely prosperous mid-America. Gangs and fierce armies of children begin to form almost immediately. It would be the same for the children on Grand Avenue but for Lisa, a yen-year-old girl who becomes their leader. Because of Lisa, they have food, even toys, in abundance. And now they can protect themselves from the fierce gangs that roam the neighborhoods. But for how long? Then Lisa conceives the idea of a fortress, a city in which the children could live safely and happily always, and she intends to lead them there. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. There is chaos everywhere, even in formely prosperous mid-America. Gangs and fierce armies of children begin to form almost immediately. It would be the same for the children on Grand Avenue but for Lisa, a yen-year-old girl who becomes their leader. Because of Lisa, they have food, even toys, in abundance. And now they can protect themselves from the fierce gangs that roam the neighborhoods. But for how long? Then Lisa conceives the idea of a fortress, a city in which the children could live safely and happily always, and she intends to lead them there. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: First Avenue Editions (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822596709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822596707
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,099,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Stodola on September 16, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember reading this book a long time ago, and when I saw a couple episodes of the TV show "The Tribe" it made me remember it and go searching for it again. The premise is very similar.

I won't go into details on the philosophy and all that; other reviewers already have and besides, I just (still) like the book for the story. But I do have to say - find and read an older edition if at ALL possible! The "new" (1995) paperback is like a condensed version - the language is much simpler, shorter sentences, less moments of thoughtfully-worded consideration... paragraphs are shortened and sentences omitted entirely! The new version basically stinks in writing style, but the original (1977) really isn't that stilted at all. Why did the publishers go and do this? Doesn't make any sense to me. Today's kids aren't that much dumber than they were 20 years ago, that they need a version written for someone four grades lower!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book when I was in 5th grade (I am almost 34 now). The powerful story about how one girl could organize and unite her neighborhood, stave off the gangs, and basically initiate the re-emergence of civilization in a world gone awry after all adults were killed by a plague fascinated me as a child, and has stayed with me over the years. I remember to this day how much of an impact Lisa's poem "Having things is something, but not everything . . . Earning the values for your life is more than just something, it is everything" had on my goals and values growing up.
Many years later, I had to do a paper for an American Studies class in college about an archetypal "American" story, and pulled out my old copy of "The Girl Who Owned a City," and it was only then that I realized that the author was an advocate of Ayn Rand's philosophy. As an adult reading the book, I noticed the political ideology of the author much more. As a child, I thought it was a great story with a moral that was very inspirational to me at the time -- that girls can be leaders and have a creative impact on society.
I give this book five stars, because, whether or not the book contains a political message, it is a great story for kids. After all, how many books today emphasize the fundamental premise that you must work for what is important in life--and not just expect success to be handed to you on a silver platter?
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Format: Kindle Edition
Expurgated quite extensively, the newest edition suffers from the publisher's apparent desire to water down or even alter the principles O.T. Nelson used in writing his novel. There are numerous examples in the first couple of chapters. In the original novel, about halfway through, Lisa writes a constitution. This is omitted entirely in the newest edition, and cannot be inferred to have happened. As political correctness and a warped understanding of the proper role of government (i.e., protecting individual rights) continue to grow, I suppose we can expect more of this. Authors and readers, have the courage to say molon labe.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When everyone over 12 dies, 10-year-old Lisa and her brother Todd are thrust into a world with no adults. Lisa is very resourceful, and finds many places to get food. However, there is a gang that is determined to steal everything she has from her. So she organizes a militia of Grand Avenue (her street) and they start learning how to defend themselves. When Grand Avenue fails, Lisa finds another location that would be like a fortress. They start a city there, and soon the population is over 500. But when the same gang is able to conquer Glenbard, Lisa has to find a way to get it back. This is an excellent story. I got it in July and have read it about twelve times. I never get tired of it. It's exciting, although scary, to think about what would happen if a plauge really happened, and we children had to survive. This book is a great read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The writing style is very simplistic and unrefined. Perhaps the 10 y.o protagonist of the novel wrote this, because it seems like the work of someone who has neither read nor written a lot of books in their life. The structure is choppy, and things just seem to work out for the characters as long as they "think". Also, I am fine with books having a "message" but the author is about as subtle as Ayn Rand. I went into this book after hearing it was a Lord of the Flies with a happy ending, but It was no where near the quality. I recommend picking that up instead if you haven't read it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book when I was 10 (17 or so years ago) and it was immediately my favorite. I even enjoy rereading it now from time to time. It encourages self-reliance, courage, and creative thinking...the reader is continually asking, "What would I do if I were in the same situation?" The book thrusts the reader into a world without the security of adults, where children are forced to find their own way. As a child, it was always a fantasy of mine that all adults would fade away and take their annoying authority with them, but The Girl Who Owned A City presents a very realistic view of such a world...with its hardships and cruelties, yet also with its opportunities and challenges. The plot captivates while it teaches responsibility, compassion and the importance of intelligence and creativity. I highly recommend it to anyone from 8 or so years old on up. It's still on my bookshelf, and I still like to take a few hours to reread it, pretend I'm Lisa in a world gone haywire, and wonder, "just what would I do?"
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