“A smartly written, thoroughly engrossing tale.”—Publishers Weekly
“A fast-paced novel with stark language . . . readers will be sympathetic to the pair’s plight.”—School Library Journal
“Nicely written with a sprinkling of humor amid the pages of action and adventure.”—VOYA
This fast-paced thriller set in Oregon blends elements of science fiction and a Gary Paulsen-like survival story with a coming-of-age tale about a rebellious teenager and his dog. Logan, at 14, has not seen his father since he was seven. His stepfather, Robert ("the All-Knowing Dictator of Everything"), wants to send him to Blue Mountain Camp for Boys, a kind of boot camp run by an ex-marine, but opts for a dog instead, to teach Logan "the value of discipline and responsibility." Choosing Jack, a feral stray, rather than the purebred Robert prefers, gives Logan the upper hand-but not for long. The author makes clear that Logan is not a bad kid; his small acts of rebellion simply tend to escalate. For instance, when Logan takes Jack into a local deli, the deli owner's dog menaces the two and things reel out of control. So it's off to Blue Mountain for the teen. Meanwhile, a mysterious virus begins spreading from dogs to humans, its progress tracked in a series of increasingly ominous e-mail messages, newspaper clippings, faxes, etc., interspersed throughout the narrative. The story's third plot line involves a reclusive scientist, the only one who can create an antidote to the deadly disease-but he requires an immune dog. Ehrenhaft (the Techies series) keeps things moving at a rapid clip, with tension and violence mounting incrementally as the story lines converge. If the bittersweet ending stretches credibility, this is still a smartly written, thoroughly engrossing tale. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Seventeen-year-old misfit Logan adopts a stray dog named Jack, but she is not the purebred animal that his stepfather, Robert, had in mind to teach Logan responsibility. Nevertheless, Logan and Jack form an immediate bond. After Logan is sent to boot camp for exploding a mini-mart microwave, he and Jack escape their respective "captors" and miraculously find each other in nearby woods. Logan, cut off from civilization, is not aware of the spreading disease turning family dogs into vicious animals, nor of the fear that has taken over. When the two are nearly starving and Jack is beaten by a vigilante group, Logan is forced to seek help from his estranged scientist father, who eventually discovers that Jack is the key to creating an antidote. This book is nicely written with a sprinkling of humor amid the pages of action and adventure. The reader might disagree with Logan's decisions, however, making it difficult to connect with his character. The plot is almost too coincidental-Logan happens to pass out near a car that happens to belong to his estranged father, who happens to be the one scientist to have studied this type of disease. As with many dog novels, this story ends with Jack's death. Still, Logan learns a thing or two about holding his temper, and he comes to better understand why both his father and stepfather behave the way they do. This novel would be a good recommendation for younger males looking for an adventurous story without a science fiction base. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Delacorte, 236p,
Gr 6-9-In this boy-and-his-dog tale with a twist, Logan Moore, 14, doesn't measure up to the expectations of his mom and stepdad, and is friendless at school. His one interest, inventing electronic gadgets, only gives vent to mischievous impulses. The teen lacks direction and self-esteem until he adopts Jack, a wild and mangy mutt. Initially, Logan is a reluctant caregiver, but real affection and trust soon blossom between the two as he proves himself to be a loving and effective trainer. The twist is provided by the emergence of a deadly and contagious disease that causes infected canines to become vicious before they die. These events are revealed through textual inserts (news reports, e-mails, etc.). A parallel story line involves a renegade scientist who may hold the key to developing a vaccine against POS, which can be developed from the blood of an immune animal. The disparate plots come together as Logan, running away with Jack from mandatory quarantine or worse, stumbles upon the scientist, who turns out to be his biological father, whom he hasn't seen in years. The dog proves to be immune and provides the life-saving solution to the scientific puzzle but sadly dies from brutal injuries inflicted by vigilantes. Last Dog is a fast-paced novel with stark language, and readers will be sympathetic to the pair's plight. However, one-dimensional characters and an unconvincing denouement ultimately reduce the book to the equivalent of a fast-food meal.-Mary Ann Carcich, Mattituck-Laurel Public Library, Mattituck, NY Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Warning: the dog dies. Actually, most of the dogs on the West Coast die here, victims either of a prion plague (think Mad Cow Disease) that turns them suddenly vicious in its last stages, or of systematic extermination. Worse yet, bitten humans turn out to be susceptible, too. Ehrenhaft, author of entries in the Bone Chillers series, places Logan, an Oregon teenager with family problems, and Jack, a wild dog he’s tamed who turns out to be immune to the plague, and therefore the key to a cure, against a backdrop of rising governmental and public panic. The two escape the plague, but not the panic: losing themselves in the woods despite the best efforts of Logan’s bad-news stepfather to keep them separately captive, the two fugitives are finally forced to place themselves in the care of Logan’s estranged father (a brilliant epidemiologist, forsooth) after Jack is brutally beaten by vigilante exterminators. Though happenstance plays a large role in the plot, and the author has a tendency to trot in typecast characters, then summarily drop them, disaster-tale fans with a taste for the lurid will not be let down by this melodramatic, if predictable, chiller. (Fiction. 11-13)