Saturday, June 26, 2010

LAST CHANCE by Lesley Choyce



Many YA books today focus on the issue of homeless kids and runaways.  Their stories include the horrifying ways they find to survive on the streets and their disturbing living conditions.  Few of these books feature kids like Trent and Melanie who are working hard to stay out of the sex and drug trade, hold down legit jobs, and actually attend school determined to graduate and make better lives for themselves.  LAST CHANCE is their story.

Melanie left home after dealing with years of emotional abuse.  Any chance of getting help from some social agency is out of the question since she can't claim any substantial acts of physical violence from her parents.  All she knows is she can't stand living there any longer.  Her first days were spent on the streets living with other kids just like her.  Although she spent her days in her high school classes, she had to sleep on the streets and hope that a little food would come her way each day. 

Then she met Trent.  He started out the same way, but he was now living in an apartment, holding down a part-time job at night, and attending his high school during the day.  Granted the apartment included a bunch of drug dealers and hookers as neighbors and keeping the landlord off his back about the rent, made Trent's lifestyle far from the American dream but at least Melanie could get off the street and sleep on his couch in relative safety.

Not long after moving in with Trent, she is offered a job at the same doughnut shop where he works.  With both of them working, the rent money might be easier to come by.  For a short while things are looking up, but then Trent makes the boss angry and he gets fired.  Can they keep things together until he gets another job? 

LAST CHANCE portrays two teens trying to manage on their own.  Their families have failed them, but together they try to do the impossible - support themselves, stay in school, and beat the odds against them.  Author Lesley Choyce doesn't make the journey an easy one for Melanie and Trent.  Their inspiring story will serve to show teens what guts and determination can accomplish.

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