Books before food (and any sort of comfortable life).
Summary: Representing one-third of his community’s minority population (“I’m black. And Japanese. And white”), T.J. Jones voices a darkly ironic appraisal of the high school sports arena. Despite his natural athletic ability, T.J. has steered away from organized sports until his senior year, when Mr. Simet, a favorite English teacher, implores him to help form a swim team for the school and thereby help the teacher save his job. T.J. sees an opportunity to get revenge on the establishment and invites outcasts to participate on the team; he ends up with “a representative from each extreme of the educational spectrum, a muscle man, a giant, a chameleon, and a psychopath.” As might be expected, he accomplishes his mission: his motley crew of swimmers is despised by more conventional athletes (and coaches). The swimmers face many obstacles, but their dedication to their sport and each other grows stronger with every meet. The book’s shocking climax will force readers to re-examine their own values and may cause them to alter their perception of individuals pegged as “losers.”
Chris Crutcher, I love you. He has brought readers yet another outstanding novel based on acceptance. We actually receive this novel first semester of junior year at my school, but Crutcher’s work is not something you can wait for. Haha. This book was so amazing I even recommended it to my mom, who reads diddly squat. If I wasn’t so tired, I might have read it in one sitting. It grabs you and pulls you into it and the subplot with a little girl named Heidi had me in tears. This book really teaches you lessons in equality and racism and child abuse. Guys, if the school gives it to you free, read it. It’s definitely worth the time.