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Last Chance for First

by Tom Hazuka

      As a high school junior, Robby is looking forward to college, and hoping for a soccer scholarship to pay for it, but he has some serious challenges to cope with.  His best friend and co-captain, Jim, who is the star goalie of the soccer team, was drinking beer one night...too much beer... and wrecked his car.  He was suspended from the team as penalty for the infraction, and Robby knows that he will have to pick up the slack for his team to win the games they need to go to State.  He is sure that any chances for a scholarship depend on that.

Robbie's girlfriend has dumped him, and he is strangely attracted to the new girl with the white hair, but she has some secrets. Then to top it all off, his parents constantly compare him to his older brother, who seemed to be flawless.  Then there is the coach...a veritable dragon who imposes some very tough penalties if he thinks his players aren't putting forth as much effort as they should...and then the coach goes way too far, embarrassing the entire team, but especially one boy. The whole thing is caught on camera, and the town and the team are in an uproar, with a very important game coming up.

This book is full of fast soccer action, with compelling characters and a plot that keeps you guessing. Highly recommended for reluctant readers, and anyone who enjoys the thrill of sports. Last Chance for First is about  much more than the soccer games and the scores, though.  It's about personal relationships, loyalty and doing the right thing. Hazuka has a masterful touch on characterization and can't-put-down action.  This is his first novel, but he has definitely found his niche, and I will be looking for more from this exciting new author.

The Book

Brown Barn Books
May 2008
Paperback (Reviewed from the Advance Reading Copy)
0-9798824-0-0 / 978-0-9798824-0-1
Young Adult Fiction
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2008
© 2008