Author: Chris Crutcher
Genre: YA fiction
Challenges: YA, POC
Rating: 5 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library
Summary (from the inside flap): There's bad news and good news about the Cutter High School swim team. The bad news is that they don't have a pool. The good news is that only one of them can swim anyway. A group of misfits brought together by T.J. Jones (the J is redundant) to find their places in a school that has no place for them, the Cutter All Nigh Mermen struggle to carve out their own turf. TJ is convinced that a varsity letter jacket--unattainable for most, exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as TJ is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High--will be an effective carving tool. He's right. He's also wrong. Still, it's always the quest that counts. And the bus on which the Mermen travel to swim meets--piloted by Icko, the permanent resident of All Night Fitness soon becomes the cocoon inside which they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to bloom.
Review: No student should finish high school without reading Chris Crutcher! This is the second book by him that I've read in the past 3 days and I loved this one as much as Angry Management. Crutcher has a way with characters, plot, emotion, and finesse.
- Characters--All the characters are so real in this book. From the small bi-racial girl who is warped by her bigoted "father" to the main character who wants to fix all the wrongs in the world to the cast of the swim team, all outsiders who just want to be accepted and not have to hang out alone. I believed every one of them and could understand where they were coming from. Well, not the racist a**holes, but I have met people like them and Crutcher did a great job at portraying their anger and fear.
- Plot--I swam in high school and part of college so the swim team stuff was great for me. But, even if you never swim, you'll like this one. A swim team is just the vehicle for the rest of the story: hatred, fear, family, loyalty, overcoming obstacles, and more.
- Emotion--I love it when a book makes me feel something. While reading this book I was angry, disgusted, afraid for the characters, sad, and hopeful. What a ride!
What's your favorite Chris Crutcher book?