I was told that I would highly enjoy this book when I was made to read it for school, but I was highly disappointed. It deals with a lot of difficult subject matter (abuse, racism, outcasts, etc.) and I found it to be quite disturbing. It is not a book I would've read in my spare time because the material is not what I personally am interested in. However, on a positive note, it does address the issues in the book quite well and Mr. Crutcher has very good reasons to write about what he did. In the end though, it was a little to "eye-opening" for me.
T.J. is a natural born athlete but due to his background has a problem with authority and refuses to play team sports at his sports crazed high school. That is, until he hatches a plan to start a swim team of rejects and to get the whole team varsity letter jackets. Showing the jock centered power structure of the school what it really means to be sportsmen.
This is another of Chris Crutcher's fast paced well-written sports centered novels that skillfully melds sporting endeavors with serious social issues. Crutcher's books are full of characters that you wish you knew in real life. Even the heavies have their facets and one can often glean what makes the villain the villain. Given that these are written about high-school aged protagonists who are active in sports, they're naturals for engaging the interest of reluctant teen male readers. And the material that they cover makes them well worth reading for people of any age.
At moments this book is laugh out loud funny and there are other moments that make even a jaded old stoic a bit misty eyed. By all means, check it out for yourself.