Title: Last Chance: A Robyn Hunter Mystery
Author: Norah McClintock
Publication Year: 2006
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from the library at school
After reading You Can Run and realizing that it wasn’t the first book in the series, I wanted to go back and read Last Chance as soon as I could, so that the story and characters were still fresh in my mind. This was definitely a good thing, since this book definitely cleared up some of the ambiguities and vague references that sort of confused me in the next one. This was good.
It didn’t actually clear everything up, though! A large part of the plot is about how Nick and Robyn meet up while volunteering at an animal shelter, and how they go from a hate to like relationship. Basically, Robyn has to be there doing community service for being arrested at an animal rights protest, and Nick is there doing an anger-management program for kids who have committed violent offences to train “last chance” dogs so that they can hopefully become adoptable. Very soon after they meet, Robyn realizes that they’ve actually come across each other before: in junior high, when Robyn saw Nick running away from a room where he and another kid she didn’t recognize had stolen a lot of the money that Robyn and her friends had just raised for charity. She had turned him in. You can see, then, why they take a dislike to each other in the beginning.
The rest of the book navigates their experiences at the animal shelter and fleshes out Robyn’s relationships with her parents. Robyn suspects Nick of doing other bad things, but also sort of likes him, even though she doesn’t know why, so they continue their antagonistic relationship. Ultimately, Nick ends up being arrested again, and everything falls apart at the clinic and elsewhere. Things progress from there, and although some of it was predictable, it still had enough details and proper pacing to keep me entertained.
There was one thing that I didn’t like: at the beginning of You Can Run, Robyn basically states that she and Nick are sort of in a relationship, but at the end of Last Chance, they have just started to speak to each other in a civil and positive way. I really wish there wasn’t that big of a gap between the timelines, especially as it regards the development of their relationship, something that is rather important in You Can Run.
While I still wish I had read these in order, I don’t think it really matters if you do. I picked up new details from Last Chance, but nothing that was crucial or too important to miss.