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Last Safe Place On Earth Hardcover – February 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 161 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385320523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385320528
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,492,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this perceptive, chilling look at censorship and religious fanaticism, tenth-grader Todd and his family discover that their secure suburban community is no protection against obsessive, destructive ideas when Todd's little sister is brainwashed into hating and fearing Halloween. The compelling plot and Todd's likeable narrative help bring the complex issues home to young readers. An ALA Best Book for Young Adults. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Fifteen-year-old Todd's dreams of a girlfriend seem on the verge of coming true when demure Laurel, a new student, becomes his kid sister Marnie's regular baby-sitter. But sweet-seeming Laurel has a strange effect on Marnie. As Peck's (Unfinished Portrait of Jessica) taut, suspenseful novel gradually reveals, Laurel's family belongs to a Christian group that seeks to ban Halloween traditions ("It is dangerous enough that children are brainwashed by the supernatural, witchcraft, devil worship, and heathen decorations throughout their grade-school years") and, worse, to eliminate books from the high school curricula, including Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl (it "clearly asserts all religions are equally valid"). Todd and his family join forces to undo Laurel's damage to Marnie and-on a grander scale-to fight for the civil liberties of the students and the community at large; in the process, they realize the importance of looking beyond people's carefully constructed facades. By portraying Laurel and her fellow prayer group members as vulnerable and troubled rather than simply opinionated, and by grounding the story in everyday details, Peck gets his message across clearly, and without much smugness. A highly topical tale. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Richard Peck has written over twenty novels, and in the process has become one of America's most highly respected writers for young adults. A versatile writer, he is beloved by middle graders as well as young adults for his mysteries and coming-of-age novels. He now lives in New York City. In addition to writing, he spends a great deal of time traveling around the country attending speaking engagements at conferences, schools and libraries...Mr. Peck has won a number of major awards for the body of his work, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award from School Library Journal, the National Council of Teachers of English/ALAN Award, and the 1991 Medallion from the University of Southern Mississippi. Virtually every publication and association in the field of children s literature has recommended his books, including Mystery Writers of America which twice gave him their Edgar Allan Poe Award. Dial Books for Young Readers is honored to welcome Richard Peck to its list with Lost in Cyberspace and its sequel The Great Interactive Dream Machine...

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book teaches people about the different thoughts and religions of other people. This book shows how personal thoughts and beliefs can tear apart friends, and even family. In the book, Todd, a high school sophomore, carries on a normal life. He goes to school, works, fights with his siblings, and does teenage things. Then, Laurel comes to babysit his little sister Marnie. Todd thinks she is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Laurel begins to talk to Marnie about what is bad and good, and what will get her to heaven. Laurel tells her that Halloween is bad and involves witches and demons. Marnie had been looking forward to Halloween because she was making her own witch costume. Marnie begins to become frightened by what Laurel is telling her and tells her parents. This brings about a lot of problems within the community. The book ends in a peaceful way with Todd realizing know one is perfect, and everybody is different. I give this book three stars because I really enjoyed reading it, and learned about different religious beliefs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Knoll on April 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book as a teenager and could relate to the problems in life Todd faced.
Todd is 15 years old in the 10th grade. He lives in Walden Woods a nice dressed up suburb. His family moved here because they thought it was a safe sane neighborhood to raise their kids but they soon learn the reality that no place as is safe as their own house. He is not the most popular kid in school but gets by with a few close friends and his sister Diana who is the same age. Todd developes a crush on his little sister Marnie's baby sister not realizing what she was about. Todd learnes the hard way he is wrong when Laurel, the baby sitter tries and almost succeeds in brainwashing Marnie that Holloween is bad and that the Devel is everywhere. This book tought me that you don't always know people the way you think you do and that no one is as normal as you.
This is an easy reader I recomend to any one out there looking for a mind bogling plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 2003
Format: Library Binding
Todd, the main character in the book is in tenth grade. Everyone in his town thinks they live in a picture perfect town and community. They soon realize that not everything is what it seems. They also find out that outside forces are not going to stop influencing their towns and their children. Todd's little sister starts getting horrible nightmares and wakes up screaming in the night. The parents think that removing all the bad books from the library will eliminate the nightmares and influences that books, TV/media have on kids. It is a story about censorship and trying to keep kids in a "bubble" away from the rest of the world. I enjoyed this book because it was easy to understand and it was a good mystery and suspenseful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia on May 14, 2003
Format: Library Binding
Todd, the main character in the book is in tenth grade. Everyone in his town thinks they live in a picture perfect town and community. They soon realize that not everything is what it seems. They also find out that outside forces are not going to stop influencing their towns and their children. Todd's little sister starts getting horrible nightmares and wakes up screaming in the night. The parents think that removing all the bad books from the library will eliminate the nightmares and influences that books, TV/media have on kids. It is a story about censorship and trying to keep kids in a "bubble" away from the rest of the world. I enjoyed this book because it was easy to understand and it was a good mystery and suspenseful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia on May 14, 2003
Format: Library Binding
Todd, the main character in the book is in tenth grade. Everyone in his town thinks they live in a picture perfect town and community. They soon realize that not everything is what it seems. They also find out that outside forces are not going to stop influencing their towns and their children. Todd�s little sister starts getting horrible nightmares and wakes up screaming in the night. The parents think that removing all the bad books from the library will eliminate the nightmares and influences that books, TV/media have on kids. It is a story about censorship and trying to keep kids in a �bubble� away from the rest of the world. I enjoyed this book because it was easy to understand and it was a good mystery and suspenseful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on February 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I began reading this book, I was unsure if I would like it or not. But soon after beginning, I found myself caught up in the plotline. The way Peck so vividly describes the world we live in, as well as the false sense of security that many have, struck me. What was particularly fascinating was how he captured the attitudes of high schoolers, how they wish to be "cool", and the uncertainty many people experience below placid facades. This book is a must-read for anyone, young or old, male or female, "cool" or not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
this book really made me aware of evil in the world, and how even though something looks nice and civilized, it can be bad. the way that laurel made the little girl into a brainwashed weirdo when she babysat was a great plot twist. i give this book a nine instead of a ten because the story never really ended. i didnt feel the sense of closure that i always feel when i finish a book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Smithee on December 28, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Richard Peck has weaved a story that is well written, extremely interesting, believable and relevant.
Engagingly narrated in the first person by main character Todd Tobin, the book reveals the Tobins to be crafted as an All-American family. They are not perfect, however, in the vein of Leave it to Beaver or Ozzie and Harriet. This family has its flaws, questions its actions and makes mistakes. You can easily believe that they are based on a real family.
In addition to the excellent writing and characterization, the text touches on some alarmingly real and modern issues facing families today. One of the Tobin family helps organize an AIDS seminar which is virtually ignored by the conservative community. Todd's best friend has an alcoholic mother. The Tobin's babysitter is from a religious fanatic family and has corrupted the youngest daughter's mind in a way that borders on child abuse. Several members of the community are trying to ban books from the school library because they do not show Christianity in a superior position to other religions. Mr. Peck does not resolve all these issues and there aren't any easy answers, just like real life.
These are all important issues that touch the livesof all. Everyone should be required to read this book.
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