I’m really glad I stuck with this one. For me, this book was kind of a slow burn – but with lots of payoff at the end.
“The Last One” by Alexandra Oliva takes us along for the ride of a reality tv show in which twelve contestants are sent into the woods (almost Survivor style) to test their endurance and survival ability. Zoo (a nickname given by the production staff) just wants an adventure, one last hoorah before settling down and having kids. But team challenges turn to solo challenges, and soon she’s left completely alone. For days. Without even a cameraman. Her nerves are tested as she struggles to figure out what happened to the other contestants, the show, and the outside world.
This is the type of novel you have to ride out. I kept wavering on whether I wanted to finish this novel for the first third of the book. But, once I hit the last third, I couldn’t flip the (electronic) pages fast enough! “The Last One” alternates between the present situation protagonist Zoo is in, and the linear timeline of the show’s filming. Something I didn’t realize until later in the novel is Oliva’s beautiful ability to balance heavier/scarier moments in between chapters with lighter, more mundane activity. This is something I really appreciated in the end when things picked up!
This book does a really nice job of examining the mental and physical limits humans will push themselves to in order to win large sums of money, and furthermore, to survive in the wilderness. Each contestant on the show handles this in his or her own very human way.
I hate to dive any deeper in my review because I think this is one you need to read knowing as little as possible. Just know to KEEP GOING – the end is worth it!
Keep an eye out for “The Last One” by Alexandra Oliva on shelves July 12, 2016.
*Thank you to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review*