The Last Chance Texaco
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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, [...]
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.
Though only in her mid-teens, Lucy is worn out and on the brink of giving up. She is tired of fighting the other kids; tired of uncaring counselors; most of all, tired of being uprooted continually. So she decides to make an effort to stay at Kindle Home, but right away she finds herself facing obstacles, not the least of which is her own temper. And then things get even more complicated when she gets in a fight at school, one of the fellow residents has it out for her, someone's setting fires in the neighborhood, and the funding for the home is being threatened. Can Lucy pull things together and face up to all the issues that are coming down upon her?
In this second novel, following his critically acclaimed GEOGRAPHY CLUB, Hartinger has done a marvelous job of bringing Lucy, the counselors, and the kids to life. He's written the story in first-person point of view, and Lucy's voice is clear and refreshing.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by mononoke
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. Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by Terry Rhines
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!Published on April 21 2004 by Caren Cowan
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. Read morePublished on April 12 2004 by C. Niemeyer
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 morePublished on April 3 2004 by Midwest Book Review
Brent Hartinger has done it again!!! I finished his latest book, Last Chance Texaco, and I am thrilled. Read morePublished on March 24 2004 by Mary Rocco
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 morePublished on March 23 2004
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 morePublished on Feb. 29 2004
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Audiobooks > Audio CDs > Children's Fiction > General
- Books > Audiobooks > Audio CDs > General
- Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Family Life > Orphans & Foster Homes
- Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Emotions & Feelings
- Books > Children's Books > Literature & Fiction
- Books > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Love & Romance
- Books > Teens > Social Issues > Being a Teen