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The Last dog on Earth

by Daniel Ehrenhaft


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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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.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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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 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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