The Ride Home

The Ride Home

by Gail Anderson-Dargatz


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Mark is a city kid who has come to a small town to live with his grandmother after his mom goes into rehab. He has to take a school bus home for the first time. The long, noisy ride home is nothing like riding city transit. There’s some kind of secret code of knowing where you’re allowed to sit, the kids scream non-stop, and there’s pudding and cheese flying through the air. Someone even tries to set Mark’s seat on fire. Mark quickly decides that all these kids are nuts and does his best to avoid interacting with any of them. But when the bus is involved in a serious accident, Mark has to work with a couple of other students to get everybody to safety. He soon learns that he has more in common with these rural kids than he would ever have imagined. In turns funny and heartbreaking, The Ride Home is about learning that not everything is as it seems and that everyone has a story.

Editorial Reviews

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Appeal to readers who are most interested in realistic stories…A simple slice of life book with a pretty good lesson learned in the end. Recommended.

student takeover edition Canadian Children's Book News

"If you like a quick read this book is for you."

Must Read Lit: K thru YA

Recommended for middle school and reluctant high school readers. Very good choice for libraries and families. Current topics, high interest and smooth writing at a lower reading level.

Kirkus Reviews

A move lands Mark on a rowdy school bus fraught with both social and meteorological peril.

Canadian middle schooler Mark can no longer ride public transit since he's left the big city. Instead, after changing schools in mid-November, he's forced to take the hourslong school bus route. His grandmother encourages him to make friends, but Mark sees little in these small-town folk who, frankly, act like wild animals. He faces an irate driver, gross public displays of affection, pyromaniacs, and snack-food projectiles. Plus, there are all these unspoken rules foreign to him. Mark just wants to survive the ride. However, harsh weather conditions make the roads snowy and icy, which lands the bus stuck on some train tracks due to an accident. This title offers a low decoding level of mastery, so it's accessible to a wide range of readers. Yet the simplicity does not compromise the storytelling or the realistic depth of the characters. In fact, Mark comes to realize that the other passengers are more than they appear. Even he is eventually forced to admit the reason for his move—a bipolar single mother who recently attempted suicide. Bullying and complicated family lives make for empathetic plot beats for this evidently all-white cast of characters.

This is an accessible narrative with a layered reading experience. (Fiction. 10-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459821422
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Series: Orca Currents Series
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 1,112,902
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile: HL490L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews