The Only Alien on the Planet

The Only Alien on the Planet

4.8 49
by Kristen Randle
     
 

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Winner of multiple awards, praised by librarians and teachers as one of the best books ever written for teens—NOW BACK IN PRINT!

New town, new school, new friends. It was difficult for Ginny at first, but her senior year is finally starting to feel kind of normal. That is, until she sees him—the beautiful mystery in her English class.

Overview

Winner of multiple awards, praised by librarians and teachers as one of the best books ever written for teens—NOW BACK IN PRINT!

New town, new school, new friends. It was difficult for Ginny at first, but her senior year is finally starting to feel kind of normal. That is, until she sees him—the beautiful mystery in her English class. He has never spoken a word to anyone. He moves through each day at school without making eye contact. His name is Smitty Tibbs, but everyone calls him the Alien.

Ginny is convinced there's more to the Alien than his muted exterior. But as she attempts to break into his safe and emotionless world, she realizes her efforts might be causing more harm than good. Has she gone too far, or not far enough?

"Utterly compelling…totally satisfying. A fast-moving, unusual contemporary romance that should have great appeal."
School Library Journal

"The thick wall an abused teenager builds between himself and the world is penetrated at last by an extraordinary pair of friends… A strong book with healing at the end, memorable for its spirited friendships and unpreachy soul-searching."
Kirkus Reviews

"Ginny's deft and engaging narration reveals a delightful and totally believable teen. [T]he overall impact of this psychological novel is so powerful."
Booklist

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Smitty is a strange guy. The other kids refer to him as "The Alien." He never makes eye contact and never touches anyone, but he is a brain when it comes to schoolwork. Having just moved to town and feeling out of place herself, Ginny decides to make Smitty her friend. In this compelling tale of friendship, we learn of the horrors of sibling abuse and the "specialness" of true friendship. 1996 (orig.
The ALAN Review - C. Anne Webb
Ginny Christianson's parents move their family and business from the West Coast to the midlands. Ginny's is a large, talking, touching, sharing, kidding, trusting, happy family. As she surveys the "male possibilities" on her first day in the new school, her eyes fall on a well-dressed, neat, but quiet Advance-Placement classmate. She is told, "Smitty Tibbs has never said a word to anybody." Is he autistic, retarded, strange, like an alien on the planet? How can anyone never talk or touch and yet write sensitive poetry? Needing help with trig, her new neighbor, and Smitty's only friend, Caulder, leads Ginny to Smitty Tibbs, uncovering more secrets than those of higher math. An inside look at a "good" family gone bad.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Ginny feels like an outsider when her family moves from their native California to a new home on the east coast, but once she starts attending the local high school she finds someone even more alien than herself. Smitty Tibbs is an honor student who never speaks, makes eye contact, or allows anyone to touch him. Ginny feels oddly drawn to the strange boy, and learns that his long-time defender, Caulder Pretiger, is not only a fellow student but also her next-door neighbor. They form a solid friendship, often joined by Ginny's two brothers and Caulder's sisters in a comfortable sixsome. When Caulder decides that he and Ginny will crack Smitty's silent armor and bring him back into the world for his own good, their awkward attempts at communication and real friendship cause serious problems. The facade of glib YA fiction-clever banter, easy relationships, convenient social opportunities-is occasionally suffused here with the brilliance and intensity of Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (Holt, 1964). As Smitty is pulled reluctantly from his protective silence, his bizarre and painful past is revealed and the novel becomes utterly compelling. In the end, things fall into place a little too easily and neatly for such a difficult beginning, providing a conclusion that may not stand up to hard, clinical analysis, but it is totally satisfying. A fast-moving, unusual contemporary romance that should have great appeal.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402226694
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
628,685
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kristen D. Randle lives with her husband, four children, and two dogs in a little wood on the banks of a Utah river. She and her husband manage their own recording studio. The award-winning The Only Alien on the Planet is one of several novels she has written.

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The Only Alien on the Planet 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Indy25 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book some 15 years ago when I was in junior high, and regarded it then as the best book I'd ever read. Having lost my original copy, I decided to reread it. My "adult" experience of this book is far less positive. The characterizations are the strength of this title. After all, this is a book about people and their relationships. What irritated me this reading was 1) the obnoxiously perfect family of Ginny, filled with laughter and platitudes 2) her idealized, platonic relationship with Caulder and their unusual obsession with helping out "a freak" kid in their high school 3) the twisted psychology in which the entire plot for Smitty is hinged upon. Every one of these things is not only unrealistic, but the book is dependent on these "truths" to function. The book also ends at an unusual point. Romance is stirred between the protagonists, and his crisis is somewhat resolved, but I was still left wanting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters feel real, and the struggle for Ginny and Caulder to help Smitty was just beautiful. This book will make you cry and think. I would recommend it to everyone, adults and teens.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually owned this book for a while before I decided to read it, which was in middle school (I'm currently a college student). I loved it then and I love it now and often when reading it I find myself wishing that I had read it long before I did. I reread it over and over again and it never gets old. I recommended it to all of my friends and they love it too. You can't help but relate to Ginny and how she's feeling about her situation. The quote in the first chapter of the book, "Never, never make the mistake of thinking that you're the only alien on the planet" is one that every one should consider. I recommend this to anyone and everyone.
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When you pick this book up and read the first few pages it might seem a little slow going but trust me when i tell you that if you stick it out to the end it will be well worth it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was actually assigned for a class, so when I began to enjoy the story, I was very pleasantly surprised. I usually don¿t like to read books that are assigned to me, but this was a very original story and very easy to be interested in. From the beginning, I was intrigued by Ginny and how she viewed the world compared to others around her. As soon as Smitty entered the story, I was hooked and I literally could not put it down. This has an amazingly thoughtful and emotional plot, with characters that make you feel like they are your own friends. If you decide to get involved with this book, you will not be disappointed¿I guarantee it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book. At first, the cover throws most people off because you're thinking, 'it's just another science fiction novel.' But it's not. It's a really exceptional and romantic book, that really makes you think, and I totally recomend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually picked the book out of the discarded pile at the library thinking it wasnt gonna be something i would usually read. The cover really threw me off, but once i started reading the book i seriously couldnt put it down. I read it in less then 24 hours, i found myself getting up early before school so i could read it. Believe me i dont even get up to do homework in the morning. I was drawn into this world with Ginny and i felt as if i had known her for years and the story is so touching. I think EVERYONE should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book originally seemed to be a science fiction novel to me so I just passed it by. After months of seeing on the book shelf of the public library I finally could not resist. I was stunningly surprised by the deep and lovely story that I found. The images of Ginny and Michael together are so sweet and heartbreaking and the ending is so perfect. I recomend this book to anyone who wants to read a emotional but happy story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was amazing. I loved each and every one of the character's. Especially smitty. I felt bad for him and I thought that the movie theater scene's were a good touch. I LOVED this book. This was one of the only books I could read more than once. And even now, 3 years after the first time reading it I still read it from time to time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
when i first read saw this book i thought it was going to be boring by looking on the cover. but when i started reading it i couldn't put it down. it was very touching. i cry every time i read it. it shows people how love happens in strange ways. Poor Ginny thought that she and caulder was wasting their time on a boy who didn't want to speak. but they realize that smitty had a problem why he didn't want to speak or else his secret would come out. this book was very good. love happens in strange ways thats what Ginny found out. Ive also found out to. if i hadn't have read this book then my life would not have been so great. it was truely a deep and touching book. its really the greatest book that i have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read, and is one of the vey few that i have read over and over. It is intense, romantic, and amazingly captavating, I give it a perfect 10!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when i was 11 and have been in love with it since...it has opened my mind to think in different ways and now that im 15 i still think it is one of my favorite books. I read a tremendous amount but every few months i have to go back and read it. its spellbounding.