Last Chance for First
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Robby doesn’t smile so much when Jim, his best friend and co-captain of
the team, is suspended from the team for drinking, the sadistic coach
finally crosses the line in practice, and the girl he’s interested in
turns out to be eccentric and unpredictable, with a bad secret.
"...Hazuka captures the essence of a teenager's action packed high school
life where making choices and learning how to be yourself go hand in hand.
Everything from drunk driving to nagging parents are smartly intertwined
into a well written story from the point of view of an everyday, likable
high school student."
"...Hazuka’s first young adult novel realistically depicts one
teen’s struggle to prepare for the future without compromising the
present. There are enough plot twists to keep readers guessing, and soccer
fans will appreciate the author’s obvious love of the game. While adult
figures are fairly two dimensional–the wise teacher, the win-at-all-costs
coach–the dialogue and interactions among the teens are spot-on. A solid
choice where Chris Crutcher and Mike Lupica have a strong following."
Tom Hazuka's novel LAST CHANCE FOR FIRST, it appears on the surface that
Robby's having the perfect high school experience: he's a good student
with a great soccer career ahead of him. However, he's got to remain
headstrong with some tough challenges. His soccer coach is overpowering
and takes things too far at practice. One of his teammates makes a wrong
choice one night and his actions affect the team's chance for the
championship. His girlfriend has some secrets that she needs to reveal,
and his parents constantly compare him to his older brother, who can do no
||About the Author
Tom Hazuka played varsity soccer in high school and college and still follows the game. He spent his junior year of college in Switzerland, and after graduation, over two years in Chile with the Peace Corps. Currently he teaches fiction writing at Central Connecticut State University. He has published two adult novels and many award-winning short stories, as well as a book on the NCAA Final Four, travel articles and poetry. LAST CHANCE FOR FIRST is his first crossover novel—for adults and young adults—and returns to his love for soccer.
|Excerpt from Last
Chance for First
The final bell rang and we were out of there, heading for the exits in big waves, and the teachers mostly just got out of the way. I wanted to find that girl, but she was on the other side of the auditorium and in the rush I lost her completely. No time to search—I had to catch the bus to our first soccer game of the year.
The game was at Baldwin, the town she came from ten miles down the coast. It’s bigger than Newfield (we only have around five thousand people—double that in summer), and richer, and their soccer team had made the state finals three of the last four years. Riding over in the bus I felt nervous, like always, but it was a peaceful nervous, wound tight in one spot in the center of my body, pure power if I used it right.
Jim was an acrobatic animal in goal, making saves like a madman, and I scored twice. We upset them 2-1 in the biggest Newfield soccer win in years. My face was sore the next day from smiling so much.