Books before food (and any sort of comfortable life).
Summary: Willie Weaver is a teenage legend in his Montana hometown — the baseball genius who single-handedly secures his team’s victory against the batting boys sponsored by Crazy Horse Electric. He is a hero, an all-star, a wonder boy…until a boating accident leaves him bloodstained, crippled, and robbed of his dreams. How does a teenage boy whose whole world revolves around athletic excellence rebuild his life when sports are no longer an option? Willie makes the only choice he sees as viable: he packs his bags, climbs on a bus and leaves the memories of his old life behind. Willie lands on the mean streets of Oakland, California and finds his challenges have only just begun. After enrolling in classes at an inner-city alternative school, Willie begins to see himself through new eyes. Willie Weaver discovers he can never go back to the way things were after fate makes its random strike. He discovers his only practical choice is to move forward, with courage and honesty and hard-won strength.
This book is one of the BEST books Chris Crutcher has ever written. The story line is so heart wrenching. After Willie gets hurt, he gives up on life because he knows he will never be able to do the things he loves ever again. I won’t ruin the ending (because that would be terrible of me), but I will say that it is completely unexpected. Don’t lie: everyone expects books (without sequels) to have perfect, happy endings, especially in young adult novels. But the fact that this book’s ending takes a turn for the unexpected makes it almost unique, not to mention more real and believable. I really loved this book, and anyone who wants a good coming-of-age story will love this book, too.