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The Last Chance Texaco [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Brent Hartinger
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 2005

The guy looked at me with a stare that would have frozen antifreeze.

"You the new groupie, huh?"

"Yeah," I said. "So?"

"So no one wants you here. Why don't you go back where you came from?"

I can't go back, I wanted to say. That was the thing about living in a group home. There was nowhere for me to go but forward.

Brent Hartinger's second novel, a portrait of a subculture of teenagers that many people would like to forget, is as powerful and provocative as his first book, Geography Club.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10--Lucy Pitt is 15 when she is sent to Kindle Home, a group home and her last chance at a semi-normal life. If she makes any errors, she'll be sent to the high-security facility known as Eat-Their-Young Island. Kindle Home is different from the other places she's lived, primarily due to the dedication of the counselors and the way in which they connect with the kids. Lucy realizes that she wants to stay there, and although she manages to weather the consequences of her own impulsive tendencies, she can't control the lack of funding that threatens the Home or the arson that is causing the neighbors to become even more leery of having such an establishment nearby. Readers will root for Lucy and come away with a greater understanding of the complexities of group homes and their inhabitants. Hartinger excels at giving readers an insider's view of the subculture, with its myriad unspoken rules created by the kids, not the system. There is a touch of romance and mystery, and while those elements may be a lure for less sophisticated readers, the memorable aspect of the novel is the way it takes readers inside a system most of them have never experienced.--Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. Hartinger's first novel, The Geography Club (2002), was a poignant high-school story. Here the setting is Kindle Home, a run-down mansion in an upscale neighborhood that's used as a group foster home for troubled teens. Lucy lost her parents in a car accident when she was seven, and in her affecting first-person narrative she tells how she has screwed up ever since. This is her last chance before a punishment center. Hartinger clearly knows the culture, and Lucy speaks movingly (if occasionally too therapeutically) about her anger and grief as well as about the other troubled kids. But this is more than a situation; there's a deeper story, as Lucy falls in love with a rich kid in the local school (first they fight, then they kiss). Best of all, however, is the mystery: who is setting cars on fire in the neighborhood? One of the Kindle kids? A neighbor who wants the school closed down? A hostile therapist? The romance and realism sometimes knock heads, but the talk is lively, and the tension of the whodunnit will keep readers hooked to the end. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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But that had been a long time ago, and the door had taken its share of scratches and scuffs since them. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Aug. 25 2007
Format:Paperback
Brent Hartinger has crafted a touching and suspenseful novel sure to capture and hold any teen reader's attention. He knows his craft well, having created an edgy novel about the foster care system with a tasteful, deft touch, ensuring it a wide readership. He has proven that tough issues and hard situations teens face can be portrayed with minimal violence and profanity.

Like his earlier novel, GEOGRAPHY CLUB, Hartinger has crafted several sympathetic characters among a microcosm of society's misfits. This novel's group of excluded teens are orphans, kids whose perception of themselves is nearly as negative as their peers at school, who deride them as "groupies" (foster children in group homes). The reader is drawn into their conflicts, both within their own walls, their own psyches, and with society-at-large.

The narrator, Lucy, has been a foster child for over half of her life. Kindle Home is the last, "safe" stop for teens like her, for those who have been in trouble. Children who "wash out" of Kindle Home are then sent to Rabbit Island, a place for teens beyond redemption--in the eyes of the system, at least. As a veteran of group homes, she vows to make an effort to fit in at Kindle, which proves to be difficult. Newcomers are viewed as a challenge of the "pecking order" and it isn't long before Lucy is facing serious challenges from others in the home.

Her school environment presents another challenge when she is caught in a social caste disagreement with two of her peers. In spite of the odds against them, she makes a friend from one of her earlier antagonists, a person who proves to be a crucial ally when Kindle Home faces community persecution and budget cuts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an authentic voice May 25 2004
Format:Hardcover
Last Chance Texaco, by Brent Hartinger, has a lot of strengths. The one that strikes me most is the authenticity of the main character's voice. By the end of the book, I felt that I had actually met someone; I could hear her voice as I read, and I cared what happened to her. As she learns about the possibilities of life, and takes each step toward letting hope back into her thinking, I felt the opening in my own heart as well. This is an excellent book; positive without being sappy, encouraging without glossing over the work that life demands.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book from B. Hartinger May 25 2004
Format:Hardcover
As with his first book, Geography Club, Brent Hartinger has succeeded in bringing to print another great story of young people often seen as outside the norm. The Last Chance Texaco tells the story of a young woman who has been tossed from home to home until she lands at a group home - her last chance before going to a juvenile detention facility. I highly recommend this book to both youth and adults who want an insight into the life of young people such as Lucy. The story also contains an interesting twist that came as a surprise. A very readable book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance doesn't mean Lost Hope May 4 2004
Format:Hardcover
Life as a groupie is hard. Groupie as in a resident of a group home. They have laws unto themselves, these kids. Secrets that the adults - the counselors, the therapists, the educators - who work with them will never know. Not even there non-groupie classmates are let into their world. They wouldn't want in anyway. The groupies in Hartinger's LAST CHANCE TEXACO live with daily distrust and suspicion, if not outright hatred. The title comes from the nickname of the group home. It's their last chance before their misbehavior gets them sent off to Rabbit Island Detention Center, aka "Eat Their Young Island."
Author Brent Hartinger used to work as a counselor in a group home and his depiction of the characters in this book seems very authentic to me.The main character, Lucy, is struggling to find the good in herself and her housemates. When she gets into a fight with the ultra popular superjock Nate at school, they both end up picking up trash after school, thanks to the intervention of a counselor who knows the "equal punishment" rules. What ensues is a romance you'd never expect in a million years and a crime drama with an unexpected resolution.
The plot requires some suspension of disbelief in a few places, but all in all, a good book and an enjoyable read.
~ Roxyanne Young
Editorial Director, [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Two for two. April 21 2004
Format:Hardcover
My middle school students will love this book. They loved Geography Club and I think Last Chance Texaco is even better. Oh, I wish I could write like this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Suspense Read ! April 12 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book about a group home is very interesting and eye opening to what some teenagers really have to go through in life to get by. Lucy the main character is a good kid who is faced with some difficult situations and I enjoyed reading how she copes with them. I had purchased this book for my 15 yr.old daughter for her birthday and almost from the minute she began reading it she would not put it down. She basically read the whole book in one day and loved it! I enjoyed it very much as well and recommend it to anyone who likes to read. I always like to share books with my teenagers and it allows us some very good conversation time. This is a great book to get and share!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not a cute little whistlestop cafe story April 9 2004
Format:Hardcover
I first saw this book in the YA section of a hole-in-the-wall mystery store. I started asking questions about it, and got an excited "isn't it just darling. I'm not sure if it's a mystery, but just look at it. It's darling." Brent, if you are reading this, don't worry. I'll set the record straight for you.
It is not "darling." It isn't quite "gritty" either, (too much warmth for that) but it is much closer to gritty. The title "Last Chance Texaco" refers to a group home for troubled orphans that is the last stop before a prison-style group home. Lucy, the main character, moves in and instantly sees all the types she's known from group homes in the past -- the mole, the scheming alpha female, the rude alpha male, the prey. The book is worth reading just for the dynamics within the group home, but the story goes farther than that. And yes it is a mystery.
The book also has great, tell-it-like-it-is details. Example: love over a happy meal. Here's one fantastic passage: "I knew that I had bigger problems than just starting school in the middle of the year. Almost everyone was white. It's not like I'm racist or anything. It's just that the only time kids in a public school are almost all white is when they're mostly rich. And believe me when I say that it's rich kids, and the parents of rich kids, who have the biggest problem with a kid from a group home going to the same school they do."
My real rating for this is 4 1/2 stars. The last 1/2 I'm holding back, because there were some times I wish Hartinger had pushed his narrative a little farther, or where I wanted more of the great details that are in other parts of the book. Definitely worth reading.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of teenage subculture
Written by an author who has had personal experience working as a counselor in a group home, Brent Hartinger's The Last Chance Texaco is a compelling novel about 15-year old Lucy... Read more
Published on April 3 2004 by Midwest Book Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing & Entertaining while also Thought-Provoking
15-year-old Lucy Pitt arrives at Kindle Group Home, the last stop on her eight year journey through a foster care system where she has been bounced around since her parents died in... Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by Lori L. Lake
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fantastic!!!
Brent Hartinger has done it again!!! I finished his latest book, Last Chance Texaco, and I am thrilled. Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by Mary Rocco
5.0 out of 5 stars A Feeling of Hope
Many people have very hard lives, and Lucy is one of them. She lives in a group home, but it's not the first- it's the 10th. Read more
Published on March 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Just finished Last Chance Texaco and loved it as much as Mr. Hartinger's first book. Lucy Pitt is a great, fun character and I'm impresed Mr. Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Open the door to The Last Chance Texaco
The novel, The Last Chance Texaco, like Kindle Home is a warm and inviting place to call home. Brent Hartinger's book gives a voice to those children and teens often overlooked by... Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2004 by Kevin Shrum
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