Last Chance for First        
Tom Hazuka 

                                                     Available as e-book:
iBookstore, Sony, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and more

Finalist, ForeWord Magazine YA fiction  

List price: $9.95    
ISBN: 9780979882401  
Brown Barn Books

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.
And Robby’s got to lead his team to the State championships to win a soccer scholarship for college

An exciting, realistic coming of age novel of a smart star athlete surviving in high school.

What Reviewers are Saying About This Book

     "...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."
                                                                                 Melissa DeWitt, Manhattan, KS
   ALAN Assembly on Literature for Adolescents
                                    National Council of Teachers of English, Summer 2008


     "...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."   
–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
                                                                                              for School Library Journal

     "In 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 wrong.
     Robby has to step up and play the hardest game he's ever played before: just making it through this year. He learns what he really cares about and that the final score isn't what truly matters.
     This was a good first novel by Tom Hazuka. He creates realistic scenes that can happen in any high school. I look forward to his future books." 
Reviewed by hoopsielv

Contact the author.

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.