121 Express

( 1 )

Overview

I tried not to act nervous. I took a deep breath, straightened my back and stepped onto the 121 Express. Everyone says it's hell on wheels.

The students of the 121 Express are infamous for bad behavior. Lucas knows his role on the bus will determine his social standing at his new school. When a cool troublemaker singles him out, he saves himself by teasing another kid. His ploy works, and soon Lucas is right in the center of the mayhem on the bus. He loves his new popularity, ...

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121 Express

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Overview

I tried not to act nervous. I took a deep breath, straightened my back and stepped onto the 121 Express. Everyone says it's hell on wheels.

The students of the 121 Express are infamous for bad behavior. Lucas knows his role on the bus will determine his social standing at his new school. When a cool troublemaker singles him out, he saves himself by teasing another kid. His ploy works, and soon Lucas is right in the center of the mayhem on the bus. He loves his new popularity, but when the fun and games get out of control, Lucas begins to question his choices.

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Editorial Reviews

Montreal Review of Books
"Explores weighty topics - racism, self-respect, compassion - without preaching, through an honest narrator to whom readers can relate."
CM Magazine
"The plot and characters...provide good basic morals for teens who read at a lower level. Recommended."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"Teens will appreciate the desire to fit in with the cool crowd and will laugh at the pranks."
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Children's Literature - Ashley Beck
Lucas Sampson, new to Lorne Crest Academy, is looking to change his reputation as the "brainiac" to something much different. After he is assigned to ride the 121 Express bus home from school every day, Lucas finds that the only way to gain this much coveted popularity is to stir up a little mischief. The 121 Express has a long standing record of misbehavior, and the Montreal Transit Corporation has even threatened to suspend its services in response. Despite his conscience nagging him to do the right thing, Lucas begins to join in the fun with the troublemakers in the back of the bus. His plan to shed his past and hide his brilliance goes according to plan until one of his pranks goes too far. Covering the pages with teen angst and the ultimate internal conflict of Lucas finding out who he is, Monique Polak shares with us the many mischievous adventures of the 121 Express. Addressing some of the struggles most tweens face while growing up, this book helps shed light on these topics from a point-of-view with which readers can identify. With a plot containing lessons in self-confidence, morals, and values, this book can be utilized in Health and Science classrooms to address emotional and mental health issues that plague adolescents in today's schools. Reviewer: Ashley Beck
Jacob Stratman
The novel begins with a letter from the Montreal Transit Corporation to Principal John Mallard stating that the 121 Express will be discontinued if student behavior does not improve. Not only is Lucas Samson the new kid at school, he's also the new kid on the rowdiest bus in the district, the 121 Express. Branded a "braniac" at his previous school, Lucas attempts to become popular by befriending the trouble-makers who sit at the back of the bus: Pierce, Jake, Georgie, Kellie, and Pierre. However, that means he must help the "cool kids" by ridiculing the "nerds" at the front of the bus. Reluctant readers will enjoy the characters' antics on the bus, the quick-witted dialogue, and the narrative pacing; yet, teachers will appreciate Polak's desire to create characters who must tackle issues like prejudice, respect, acceptance, and integrity on a daily basis. Reviewer: Jacob Stratman,
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551439761
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Series: Orca Currents Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,381,366
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Monique Polak has written many novels for young adults, including her historical novel, What World Is Left, which won the 2009 Quebec Writers' Federation Prize for Children's and Young Adult Literature. In addition to writing award-winning books for youth, Monique Polak teaches English and Humanities at Marianopolis College in Montreal, Quebec, and also works as a freelance journalist. Monique lives in Montreal with her husband, a newspaper man.

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Read an Excerpt

"Cut it out!" the driver shouted. He might have said it again, but I couldn't tell for sure over all the noise.

In a weird way, I was having fun. When some of the kids around me started laughing, I laughed too. I reached for the ball of paper that had landed on the floor and threw it as hard as I could toward the back of the bus.

"Hey, new guy!" a voice called. "You pitch like a girl!"

I bristled. It was my own fault; I'd called attention to myself.

I knew whatever I did next was important. This was what my mom would call a defining moment. She says life is all about defining moments, only most people miss them. They're too busy doing other stuff.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Teens in control

    An Orca Currents selection, high interest for struggling readers. Lucas has just moved to Montreal and rides the 121 Express bus to and from school. It is well-known throughout the school and the transit company for being full of troublemakers, and Lucas finds that the reputation is well-earned. He sees that the cool teens ride in the back and the nerds are seated quietly in the front and knows he doesn't want to be a nerd. This book is full of teen pranks, some worse than others. There is the one drawback to the book- it seems unrealistic that the pranks would be allowed to continue and even escalate to the extent that they did. Teens will appreciate the desire to fit in with the cool crowd and will laugh at the pranks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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