The One-in-a-Million Boy Review
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It takes just one brief moment to set our lives on a completely different course—to build new relationships and start new adventures. And in author Monica Wood’s bittersweet novel The One-in-a-Million Boy, a tragedy and one strange little boy change the lives of a couple of lonely people.

The story follows guitarist Quinn Porter as he tries to atone for his faults as a father after his son’s sudden death. Quinn spent most of the boy’s life on the road, and he was never able to understand his son’s strange obsessions—like his need to number everything or his fascination with world records. But when he takes on the boy’s requirements as a Boy Scout, spending his Saturdays doing yard work for 104-year-old Ona Vitkus, Quinn finds a connection not just with the old woman but also with the son he’s lost.

The One-in-a-Million Boy is a sweet and heartwarming novel about friendship, memories, and world records. It’s filled with fascinating characters, starting with the strange little boy who set it all into motion. Though he doesn’t even have a name, he’s the key here—the odd little loner who loves and hopes and dreams bigger than the average kid. He and Quinn seem to have very little in common, yet he has so much faith in his struggling father—and so much love for him. And while, to other people, Miss Vitkus is just a crabby old lady—a charity case who’s living alone in her old house, just waiting to die—the boy sees her as a friend, with stories to tell and lessons to teach and a life ahead of her. And he passes his dream of coaching her to the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver on to his hapless father.

As Quinn takes over his son’s responsibilities, he eventually takes over the friendship, too. What starts out as an obligation eventually becomes the kind of friendship that changes his view of his life and his relationships. And as their story plays out, it’s interwoven with stories from Miss Vitkus’s long life—her own loves and losses, her joys and regrets. The storytelling is laid-back and somewhat meandering—so these entwined character studies may not make for an action-packed read. But they do make for a thoughtful and absorbing one.

The One-in-a-Million Boy is a beautiful, character-driven novel—a story about youth and old age, family and friendship. It’s a charming read with just the right kind of little, unexpected quirks—and, in the end, it may just teach you to see the people around you in a new light.

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