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3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A runaway boy with nothing finds everything he needs, including a family, in the most unlikely of places--at a racetrack.
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 12, 2011 Randi rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Though short and sweet, this book touches upon domestic abuse, racism, grief, self-identity, and morality.
Jul 04, 2009 bjneary rated it it was amazing
Gaston Giambanco, Jr., known as Gas by his family and friends is one of my favorite characters. Gas’ life before his dear mother was killed in a car accident was a happy one even though his dad held so many jobs because of his explosive temper and prejudice. Gas loved the memories of riding horses with his mom and dad at the stables where he worked. As a junior in high school, he was still the smallest in his class but when Gas was on a horses’ back, he didn’t feel the all consuming weight of be ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Feb 14, 2010 Jennifer Wardrip rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

After losing his mother in a tragic accident, Gaston Giambanco, Jr., known as Gas, decides that best thing he can do is leave his drunken, abusive father and head off on his own. He hops on the back of a chicken truck with a bunch of illegal Mexican workers and takes his chances as he heads north.

Growing up in Texas, Gas has been surrounded by illegal workers everyone calls beaners. That didn't seem to matter until his mother was ki
Oct 31, 2010 Christina rated it really liked it
Just in time for the Breeder's Cup, I read this novel set in the horse racing world. Seventeen-year-old Gaston "Gas" Giambanco has learned to hate Mexicans from his abusive bigoted father, who drinks to excess ever since the death of his wife (Gas' mom) in a car accident and takes out his anger and helplessness on his son. So Gas, a short young man with a chip on his shoulder about his stature, runs away, and ends up at a Thoroughbred racetrack, working alongside several "beaners" as he derisive ...more
Sep 09, 2009 Krystle rated it really liked it

That’s all I have to say about this book. Okay, sure, it won’t get remembered for its writing, which is direct, plain, and has not a bit of extraneous descriptions or fluff, but it packed quite a punch.

There were only 151 pages in all. Quite short, but in it, the author managed to touch on the themes of domestic abuse, racism, grief, the search for one’s own self-identity, and sticking up for what’s morally right. Homestretch touched on the darker side of horse racing, dealing with dr
Aug 03, 2013 Alicia rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gaston Giambanco Jr. grew up listening to his father complain about illegal Mexicans taking his jobs. When Gas’ mother dies in a car accident involving a Mexican in the country illegally, his xenophobia grows. So does his father’s temper and drinking. It finally gets bad enough that Gas runs away, and finds himself riding in the back of a chicken truck with the “beaners” he hates so much.

The other occupants of the truck are on their way to jobs at a racetrack in Arkansas. Gas finds work at the
May 20, 2011 MizziQ rated it liked it
This was a simple, small book. Although I think it had more meaning in it than all the pages. Valponi fits a lot of diffrent sub-plots into his stories, so you never REALLY know what's gonna happen. That's what I like about his books. It is a great read for waiting. It keeps you intrested but its not a "edge of your seat" type book either. Like with a lot of Valponi's books I wish they were longer and had MORE in them, but it leaves you satisfied. Its quickly paced so there's not much room for e ...more
Gaston (Gas) Giambanco's mom died in a car accident when an immigrant from Mexico with no paperwork was trying to escape the immigration police. Gas is grief-stricken. His dad is, too, and he tries to console himself through alcohol. While drunk , he goes into rages and beats on Gas. After one beating too many, Gas runs away and ends up working in a racing stable with many, many Mexicans.

Good story for getting perspective on stereotypes. Also good for reluctant readers due to almost constant act
Mrs. Tongate
Jun 16, 2010 Mrs. Tongate rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
Death of a mother in a tragic car accident driven by an illegal Mexican in Texas; A father who drinks and is abusive to Gas; Gas can't take it any longer so he leaves and ends up working at a racetrack in Arkansas with 3 other Mexican guys; Gas has to work hard and is exposed to some horrible illegal racing techniques.
Liza Wiemer
There is pain and triumph in this powerful novel by the king of urban fiction. Read this and think about who are the mentors/role models in your life, what inner strengths you can draw upon, and what prejudices you need to let go of!
Oct 12, 2009 Patricia rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-fiction
A runaway boy prejudiced against Mexicans finds a home at a racetrack, and help from the very people he blames for his mother's death. For older teen readers.
NormaJean Lutz
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Mar 26, 2012
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Kusuka Wureh rated it it was amazing
Mar 12, 2015
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Oct 21, 2010
Anne rated it it was ok
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Dec 17, 2009
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Dec 28, 2013
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