The Ride Home

  • Pages:112
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:rural bus rides, making friends, dealing with enemies, mental health, bullying
  • Pub Date:02/14/2023
  • Fry Level:2.1
  • Lexile:HL490L
  • ATOS:3.5
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Y

Mark is a city kid who has come to a small town to live with his grandmother after his mom goes into rehab.

Mark 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 nonstop and someone even tries to set Mark’s seat on fire. He quickly decides that all these kids are too strange and does his best to avoid them. But when tragedy strikes, Mark learns that he has more in common with these country kids than he had ever imagined.

“This is an accessible narrative with a layered reading experience.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“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.”
– CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"If you like a quick read this book is for you."
– Canadian Children's Book News, student takeover edition
“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.”
– Must Read Lit: K thru YA
“Delightfully poignant...Will hook all middle school readers into [the] story with language they will understand and find amusing.”
– The Ormsby Review
BC and Yukon Book Prizes, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize   | 2021  |  Short-listed
Chocolate Lily Awards   | 2022  |  Short-listed