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About the Author

Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.


"Featuring narrator T.J. Jones's darkly ironic appraisal of the high school sports arena, this gripping tale of smalltown prejudice delivers a frank, powerful message about social issues and ills," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 8 Up-T. J. Jones, the mixed-race, larger-than-life, heroic, first-person narrator of this novel, lays out the events of his senior year, with many digressions along the way. The central plot involves T. J.'s efforts to put together a swim team of misfits, as he tries to upset the balance of power at his central Washington high school, where jocks and the narrow-minded rule. However, a number of subplots deal with racism, child abuse, and the efforts of the protagonist's adopted father to come to grips with a terrible mistake in his past. Crutcher uses a broad brush in an undeniably robust and energetic story that is also somewhat messy and over the top in places. T. J. himself is witty, self-assured, fearless, intelligent, and wise beyond his years. In fact, he has all of these qualities in such abundance that he's not an entirely plausible character. The novel's ending sweeps to a crescendo of emotions, as T. J.'s mentally tortured father saves a life and atones for past sins by diving in front of a bullet and dying in his son's arms. Young adults with a taste for melodrama will undeniably enjoy this effort. More discerning readers will have to look harder for the lovely passages and truths that aren't delivered with a hammer.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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