Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
He killed his best friend, Logan, in a street-racing accident a year ago. As he tries to make amends to Logan's girlfriend and keep his promise to never race again, Tom is haunted by his dead friend. He thinks Logan is trying to tell him something. Not only that, since he faces huge medical bills from the accident and may have to give up his car, the pressure to race is almost unbearable.
About the author
Laura Langston is the author of several books for children and adults. Lesia’s Dreamrecently won for the kobzar literary award, Canada’s newest national book award. It wasalso nominated for three other children’s choice awards. Mile-High Apple Pie, her recentpicture book, was nominated for the oLA’s Blue spruce award; The Fox’s Kettle was nominated for a Governor General’s award for Illustration; and Pay Dirt! was nominated for the red cedar and silver Birch awards. A former writer and broadcaster for the CBC, Laura Langston also writes regularly for Canadian Gardening magazine and has authored a book on herb gardening. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Visit her website at www.lauralangston.com.
Excerpt: Last Ride (by (author) Laura Langston)
I killed my best friend. Thirteen months and six days ago.
Not on purpose. It was an accident. Even the cops wrote it up that way. But if I hadn't dared Logan to race he'd still be alive.
Sometimes I swear I see him. Out of the corner of my eye. Just a glimpse. Like he's haunting me. That accident…I think about it every day. And most nights too.
"Langston's prose is quick and well-paced without losing the complexity of a solid story. Tom is an engaging, likeable character with whom teens will be able to identify...Tom's struggle to reconcile his past mistakes and face the consequences is a lesson that everyone has to go through in life, and Last Ride shows that it is possible to face off against these consequences without compromising integrity."
"Relatable issues and the story is clearly told. "
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"Good books with the topic of car racing and street racing are few and far between...so this is a welcome addition for reluctant readers. The title and cover, with lights and a partial face in the rear-view mirror, will also attract them."
School Library Journal
"A novel about choices. It also touches on the aftermath of a tragedy and relationships...Langston is able to intertwine these elements in a page-turner with a surprise decision. An interesting read. Highly Recommended."
"There is much to this slim novel and it works well without preaching or endangering its creditability. That teens often misinterpret events around them and often blame themselves when there is no blame is explored and answered in this book with enough veracity to warrant a recommendation, or maybe even a second reading."
"[Langston] piles on the narrative stresses with chapter-by-chapter efficiency…A satisfying ride."