Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











{July 17, 2013}   {Review} Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

whaleFrom Goodreads: 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), the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to find their places in a school that has no place for them. T.J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacket–exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T.J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High–will also be an effective 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 soon becomes the space where they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to grow. Together they’ll fight for dignity in a world where tragedy and comedy dance side by side, where a moment’s inattention can bring lifelong heartache, and where true acceptance is the only prescription for what ails us.

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This isn’t a book I would normally pick up to read because sports novels really aren’t my thing, but since I am seriously lacking sports novels on my Outside Reading List for my students, and students keep asking me to add more, I read this novel on the recommendation of the school librarian.

Overall, it was a good story.  It’s well written and deals with many emotional topics, such as bullying, abuse, hatred, and even death.  Crutcher treads lightly, and I liked how he broached each topic throughout his novel, making this a great MG or YA read.  Although not really a swim team, T.J. Jones brings together a band of misfits who, through practice, swim meets, and long bus rides, learn to trust one another.  Through their personal stories that they share with one another, readers are further able to connect with them on a deeper level, and I enjoyed this aspect of the novel.  While I wasn’t necessarily a fan of T.J. and his cocky demeanor, I don’t think he means any harm; he’s just trying to do right by those around him and to dispel the bullying and prejudice others hold against himself, his friends, and even his family.  The ending is somewhat depressing, in my opinion, but overall it works to bring everything together and I thought it was a good read.  If you have any younger males looking for a good story, especially if they’re into sports, then I highly recommend this novel to them. Three stars.

3 stars

I borrowed this novel from the library.

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