Kristin Hannah The Great Alone

Last updated date: June 26, 2019

DWYM Score

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 13 of the most popular review sites including Good Reads, The Washington Post, New York Journal of Books, Kirkus Reviews, Star Tribune, Reads All The Things, Manhattan Book Review, Hypable, Book Spoils, Windy City Bookshelf, Literature and Leisure, Novel Visits, Bookliterati and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 100 expert reviews, the Kristin Hannah Kristin Hannah The Great Alone placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 16, 2019:
Checkout The Best Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
13 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
6,696 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Kristin Hannah’s new novel makes Alaska sound equally gorgeous and treacherous — a glistening realm that lures folks into the wild and then kills them there. It’s the essential setting of “The Great Alone,” an epic story about a teenage girl trapped in her parents’ toxic marriage. By the end, I was surrounded by snow drifts of tissues damp with my tears, which may be as close as I’ll ever get to the last frontier.
- The Washington Post
February 6, 2018 | Full review
A tale of second chances, hard endings, unlikely beginnings and, ultimately, redemption, Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a story that will live on in the hearts and minds of readers long after its last page, and one that imparts lessons that readers will come back to again and again.
- New York Journal of Books
She re-creates in magical detail the lives of Alaska's homesteaders in both of the state's seasons (they really only have two) and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America.
- Kirkus Reviews
There is another character here: the almost human presence of Alaska. The author’s parents were themselves hippie homesteaders of sorts on the Kenai River, and her own experience lends an authentic foundation to this compelling saga of domestic violence, determination and destiny.
- Star Tribune
February 9, 2018 | Full review
This is definitely a plane or beach or mountain house book- a story to suck you in, pull you along, give you characters to root for, and a clear villain to detest.
- Reads All The Things
September 18, 2018 | Full review
It took me a while to get into the story, but once the family started to settle in Alaska, I was hooked and couldn’t put the book down. The story haunted me even after I was done reading it. I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and t
- Manhattan Book Review
The Great Alone is a quick read that moves swiftly and smoothly. I highly recommend to read this if you are looking to take your imagination out and into the wildness of the cold and lonely, but also breathtakingly beautiful Alaska.
- Hypable
February 13, 2018 | Full review
The bonus was when I started reading the book and became quickly swept up in Leni’s life. Which leads me to my favorite point in the book: The exhilarating rush of giddy, young love shared between Leni and Matthew in 1978. I loved this part of the book so much, I can’t bear to shorten it on my note.
- Book Spoils
February 11, 2018 | Full review
The Great Alone is a huge story, with realistic characters on intensely emotional journeys. . The characters are wonderfully nuanced.
- Windy City Bookshelf
All that said, I think Hannah is writing about some important issues, and perhaps this novel will increase those conversations: the incredible need – particularly among veterans – for better mental health support, and, the need for better resources for battered women and their children.
- Literature and Leisure
July 1, 2018 | Full review
Kristin Hannah’s setting of her story in the 1970’s could not have been done better. From the everyday to the horrific, The Great Alone was steeped in the culture of the decade.
- Novel Visits
February 13, 2018 | Full review
The Great Alone is one big hug of a novel. It is all encompassing, full of emotion, beautifully written and grabs you so you don’t want to let go. Powerful and sublime read that will stay with me for a long time.
- Bookliterati
February 19, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
The weaknesses of “The Great Alone” are usually camouflaged by its dramatic and often emotional plot. It all skates along quickly, but slow down and you’re liable to crack through the thin patches of Hannah’s style.
- The Washington Post
February 6, 2018 | Full review
I would describe this book as having a little too much plot. Between PTSD, spousal abuse, alcoholism, young love, injury, *crime*, and the long, slow stressful denoument, I was both hooked and annoyed.
- Reads All The Things
September 18, 2018 | Full review
So, as I sat down to read The Great Alone, I had low expectations, and ended up getting slightly more than expected. While this novel does lack a lot in character depth, it soars high with Alaskan wilderness.
- Hypable
February 13, 2018 | Full review
The last bit of this story felt oddly different in tone and pacing, and I often found myself questioning some of the latter plot points.
- Windy City Bookshelf
There are two other things that irritated me. First, it has too many narrative lines. Typically, a novel has a primary narrative plot and a handful of others that support and tie in. But none of these go from beginning to end as a main narrative plot should.
- Literature and Leisure
July 1, 2018 | Full review
I grew more and more disappointed the closer I drew to the end of The Great Alone. Sadly, the disappointment must carry equal weight with all that was right in this one.
- Novel Visits
February 13, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

KRISTIN HANNAH is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the The Nightingale, a major motion picture directed by Michelle MacLaren, and The Great Alone, set in Alaska. Hannah is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Firefly Lane, Winter Garden, Night Road, Fly Away, and Home Front, which has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (producers of the Oscar-nominated film The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct. She is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

Overall Product Rankings

1. R.J. Palacio Wonder
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 10
2. Marc Sullivan Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Alfred A. Knopf The Book Thief
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 11
4. Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Kristin Hannah The Great Alone
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 13
6. Lauren K. Denton The Hideaway
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Rick Riordan Percy Jackson And The Olympians
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 3
8. Leslie Wolf Dawn Girl
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 1
9. Georgia Hunter We Were the Lucky Ones
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 11
10. John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Fiction Books

Although choosing a book can be a very personal experience, the best fiction books are loved by many people. There is nothing like a great story to captivate your attention and imagination and keep you wanting to read more. When you start to discover the fiction genres, you will find they all have several main characteristics in common. Outstanding themes, characters and excellent execution make the top fiction books something that everyone can enjoy.

First, if you aren’t familiar with the fiction genre, let’s explore it. The definition of a fiction book is, “literature comprising works of imaginative narration”. This could be in the form of a novel or short story. There are multiple categories of fiction for readers to discover including adventure story, biographical novel, ethnic fiction, gothic, historical fiction, horror, mystery and science fictio,n to name a few. It’s just important to keep in mind that the main characteristic of a fiction book is that it is not a real story, but entirely creatively written.

For those who enjoy a great sci-fi thriller movie or a graphic horror television series, turn your attention to the popular horror fiction or science fiction novels of today. Picture the “Goosebumps” series, “1984” by George Orwell or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. These novels are still famous today and attract new readers every year with their science fiction stories and characters. You will surely find excitement in this sub-genre of fiction.

When you want to read a book that keeps you guessing at the answers, a mystery fiction novel is for you. A phenomenal author is John Grisham. Although his angle is legal writing, most of his books have an excellent element of mystery to make the reader unable to put the book down. For a world-renowned author, turn to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Agatha Christie are others in this genre. Look for their names among others when you need a good mystery to solve.

Young adult is another subcategory of the fiction genre. These books often capture the attention of teenagers with an adolescent storyline and relatability factor. “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio is a prime example of a top fiction book in the young adult subcategory of the fiction genre. This fiction book became so popular that it inspired a feature film.

If you don’t mind deciphering fact from fiction, a biographical fiction book is what will catch your eye. “In Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” by Mark Sullivan, the story is based on an actual person but enhanced with made-up events and characters. The sign of a good biographical fiction is not knowing where the truth is and the imagination of the writer. The drama and historical facts should combine in a symbiotic relationship to create an outstanding literary adventure for readers. This was accomplished so well in “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” that it also came alive on the television screen. Similar titles in this category include “Unbroken” and “The Nightingale.”

Historical fiction is a well-loved sub-genre of fiction books. These often tell the story of society as it battles strife or prosperity during certain notable time periods. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is everything a historical fiction should be, with excellent depictions of Germany during the Nazi Regime and the true struggles of a foster child. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is another historical fiction that is just simply beautiful. It will evoke intense emotions and bring you right back to that rocky time of the late ’60s early ’70s. If you have a favorite part of history, you will surely find a historical fiction novel like these that will really captivate your senses.

There are many more excellent fiction books to discover. These are just a few of the top fiction books, recommended by fellow readers. You won’t regret picking one up as you’ll discover, you’ll not be able to put it down.

DYWM Fun Fact

The very first fiction novel is thought to be the “Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu. She wrote the 54-chapter novel in the early eleventh century about an aristocrat, Hikaru Genji. Murasaki Shikibu was said to have used her experiences in the imperial court to write the book. It is a masterpiece to the Japanese culture.

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, is at the top of the list of best-selling fiction books of all time. With over 500 million copies sold, this book can be found everywhere. It’s followed by “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens at 200 million copies sold. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien remains in the third spot, with 150 million copies sold to date. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” appears on the list at number eight with 100 million copies sold. Among the rest on the list are works by Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis and Dan Brown. These top-sellers are rated in order of copies sold and do not include religious staples, such as the Bible and The Quran.

The Fiction Book Buying Guide

  • One of your greatest resources for finding the top fiction book is recommendations from your closest friends and family. Ask them before you embark on the task of finding a good book to read. Friends especially will hold similar interests as you, so their taste in literature may line up with your own.
  • Before you buy a book, visit your local library to ask a librarian for references. They are a fabulous resource if you are entirely new to the fiction genre.
  • Always read the book summary before blindly buying a fiction book. These summaries tell a whole lot without spoiling the entire story.
  • Find reviews online of fellow readers, so you don’t waste your money on a book that got a mediocre response.
  • When building your personal library with fiction novels, try to vary your collection with different authors and/or sub-genres. This will give you a well-rounded selection of the entire fiction genre.