Orca Soundings: “Last Ride” and “Back”

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Last Ride by Laura Langston

Back by Norah McClintock

I’m excited about seeing the READ 180 classes again soon, so I want to recommend a few more Orca Soundings books that I’ve read recently. You’re going to love these the same way you’ve been drawn into the Bluford series, Night Fall and Southside High.

Last Ride

In Last Ride, Tom is haunted by the ghost of his best friend Logan. He sees him everywhere and can even smell the cherry Twizzlers that Logan was always chewing. Tom had pushed Logan into an illegal street race, and now Logan is dead. Tom is out of the hospital, but his medical bills are astonishing, and his mom is unable to keep up with the payments.

Tom works at Ray’s garage, where they alter cars—illegally—to be better street performance vehicles. Ray seems to steal many of the parts that he uses to transform cars. What’s even worse is that he expects Tom to pay for all the work done on his car, or he will take it away and have someone else race it.

But Tom can’t make the money without racing, and he’s promised Hannah, Logan’s old girlfriend, that he will never race again. Tom has developed a crush on Hannah. Maybe that’s why Logan is haunting him. Should he keep his promise never to race again in the face of mounting money pressures and terrible odds of winning Hannah.


In Back, Jojo, the neighborhood bully, is back after spending two years in prison for beating Eden Withrow. Eden was just stepping in to help Shauna, Jojo’s very pregnant girlfriend. Jojo had been harassing Shauna, demanding that she get an abortion, but she had refused. When Jojo and his friends started pushing her on the street, Eden tried to help. But the beating he receives is so bad that his brain is damaged, and he lies in a permanent coma in a care facility.

All the neighbors fear Jojo. Eden was college-bound, the most promising kid in the neighborhood. Now his younger brother Ardell is also college-bound. But when he sees Jojo back and walking free, he can’t believe it. He’s been taking martial arts classes, buffing up for this moment. He wants revenge and is coming up with some pretty creative plans to get it. But when Shauna comes into the neighborhood to visit Jojo and make sure that the baby sees his daddy, Ardell’s world turns dark. His brother is as good as dead because he helped Shauna and probably saved her baby before it was born. How can Shauna do this?

Back is my favorite Orca Soundings book so far. The end surprised me, and I think there has to be a sequel—I need to figure out which book it is. The author, Norah McClintock is my favorite author of quick reads. You might just want to read her books one after the other. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
This entry was posted in Family Problems, Fiction, Hi-Low/Quick Read, Read 180, Young Adult Literature and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Orca Soundings: “Last Ride” and “Back”

  1. Ms. Waddle says:

    After reading “Last Ride ,” I realized that “Exit Point” can be a sequel to it. It might be more fun to read them in order.

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