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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.

Product Details

Product Description

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.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance doesn't mean Lost Hope May 4 2004
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Not a cute little whistlestop cafe story April 9 2004
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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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 a car accident. She's had problems everywhere she's gone and been basically labeled incorrigible. One more screw-up, and she'll be sent to a prison-like facility until she turns 18. Against her better judgment, Lucy connects right away with Leon, one of the counselors who she finds out later has had his own painful foster care past. When he tells her early on that there is "hardly anything in Kindle Home that isn't broken somehow," it resonates with the reader. Lucy later says that the home is nothing more than "a storage shed for broken teenagers," and she isn't too far off. Lucy and her fellow residents have major problems, many of which have to do with having been deprived of love early on.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Feeling of Hope March 23 2004
By A Customer
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. Lucy doesn't remember her parents and all her family is herself. When she comes to Kindle Home, it's a last chance- one more behavioral screw up and it's off the the secure treatment center, a dreaded fate. But Kindle Home is different from the others. The people there really seem to care and despite the prejudices of the neighborhood children, Lucy finds a boyfriend, who increases the population of her family by 100%. Sadly, there are budget cuts and it looks like someone is trying to shut down Kindle Home. Can Lucy prevent the loss of her new family?
This book is very moving and gives you a great sense of social boundries in the lives of teenagers. I highly reccomend this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Brent Hartinger has crafted a touching and suspenseful novel sure to capture and hold any teen reader's attention. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2007 by TeensReadToo
5.0 out of 5 stars an authentic voice
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 more
Published on May 25 2004 by mononoke
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book from B. Hartinger
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 more
Published on May 24 2004 by Terry Rhines
5.0 out of 5 stars Two for two.
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Suspense Read !
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 more
Published on April 12 2004 by C. Niemeyer
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 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 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. 21 2004 by Kevin Shrum
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