Homestretch

Paul Volponi, Author
Paul Volponi, Author . S&S/Atheneum $16.99 (151p) ISBN 978-1-4169-3987-0
Reviewed on: 09/21/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Mass Market Paperbound - 160 pages - 978-1-4169-3988-7
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-4169-9682-8
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Five months after his beloved mother's death, 17-year-old Gaston Giambanco Jr., aka Gas, runs away from his Texas home and his drunken, racist father's escalating abuse. With no place to go, he winds up in a truck with three Mexicans headed to a racetrack in Arkansas. Gas inherited his hatred of “beaners” from his father, and it's intensified since one played a role in the traffic accident that killed his mother. Predictably, the skilled Mexican groomers turn out to be far more reliable than the racetrack boss, a corrupt trainer who falsifies Gas's ID papers to make him appear to be 18. Volponi (The Hand You're Dealt ) sacrifices plausibility for pacing as, within days of his arrival, Gas, a slight 105 pounds, is elevated from hot walker (responsible for cooling down horses after racing) to race jockey with absolutely no training. Like a six-furlong race, this one's over in a wink, but the healthy message about tolerance gives it some lasting power. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

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