April 2016 Indie Next List
“Despite its themes of loss, love, and aging, The One-in-a-Million Boy is a hopeful novel. Musician and mostly absent dad Quinn Porter honors his dead son's Boy Scout agreement to help 104-year-old Ona Vitkus. As Quinn and Ona get to know each other, Quinn begins to understand his son -- and in some ways, himself -- for the first time. Heartfelt and charming!”
— Carol Schneck Varner (M), Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
The incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house — a friendship that touches each member of the boy’s unmoored family
For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records–obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son’s unfinished Boy Scout badge.
For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver — and that’s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning.
The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.
About the Author
MONICA WOOD is the author of When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine and of the novel Any Bitter Thing, a national bestseller and Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her other fiction includes Ernie's Ark and My Only Story, a finalist for the Kate Chopin Award. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Parade, and many other publications. Wood lives in Portland, Maine.
"This is a book of heartbreaking beauty. That an 11-year-old boy could bring together so many people of starkly contrasting interests is, in itself, amazing. But that he could bring them together in such a way as to form deep, lasting bonds is truly remarkable. Monica Wood has accomplished a feat of staggering wonder with THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY."—Bookreporter
"Wood dishes out tragedy and charm in equal measure with an intergenerational friendship that retains its beauty despite death...although most readers will find tissues often necessary while navigating the layers of this story, the conclusion will leave them smiling through their tears."—Shelf Awareness
"Wood (Any Bitter Thing, 2005) tells a simultaneously sad and joyous story of a unique 11-year-old boy and the legacy he leaves behind. Known only as “the boy,” he has no friends, and spends his time obsessively compiling mental lists and memorizing countless Guinness world records. As part of his work to earn a Boy Scout badge, the boy does yard work for 104-year-old Ona Vitkus, a Lithuanian immigrant living nearby. They forge a close bond over the course of seven Saturdays, then the boy dies. His mostly absent musician father, Quinn, volunteers to finish the last three of the boy’s weekends. Quinn becomes aware of his son’s and Ona’s plan to get her into a Guinness records book—hopefully, as the oldest licensed driver—and this leads first to a road trip to find Ona’s only living son, now 90, and eventually to a visit to her homeland at age 109. Wood’s portrait of a fractured, grieving family is peopled by endearing characters and should appeal to readers who enjoy the family-centered novels of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah."—Booklist
In The One-in-a-Million Boy, Monica Wood tells a magical, beautifully written story about the healing power of friendship, music, and unexpected, generation-spanning connections. As emotionally resonant as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, this novel hums with energy, warmth, wisdom, humor, and soul. —Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train