Whale Talk

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1427 0
Whale Talk
Age Range
14+
Release Date
January 30, 2018
ISBN
9780062687753
Buy This Book
      

A varsity letter jacket: it's exclusive, nearly unattainable, revered . . . and everything that's screwed up about Cutter High, as far as T. J. Jones is concerned. That's why T. J. is determined to have the Cutter All Night Mermen—the unlikeliest swim team a high school has ever seen—earn letter jackets of their own. It won't be easy. For one thing, they don't even have a pool. They will fight for their dignity, they will fight with each other, and sometimes they will just fight. And then they will realize that a single moment can bring lifelong heartache or lifelong friendship. For T. J. and his crew of misfits, the quest may be far more valuable than the reward.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Great New Cover on a Classic
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

T.J. lives in a small conservative Northwest town where his mixed race heritage sets him apart. He was adopted by a couple who have their own issues, but are very supportive and as understanding as parents of a teen can be. After a run in with Rich Marshall, a local hunter and supporter of school athletics, Mr. Simet suggests that T.J. channel his energy and start a school swim team. There are challenges, like having to practice at the All Night pool, but soon T.J. has assembled a collection of quirky misfits from his school and is leading the team. Mr. Simet is very busy, but promises to help in a bit, and the group gets support from an unlikely source in Oliver, an older man who is living in the All Night gym and trying to avoid detection. Finishing up high school and applying to colleges is hard enough, but T.J. finds himself getting enmeshed in the life of Heidi, a girl he meets through the therapist he still occasionally see. Heidi is the daughter of the woman Rich Marshall loved in high school... and a black man who was later paralyzed in a sports accident. Marshall is terribly abusive, and Heidi ends up being cared for by T.J.'s family. Heidi's mother occasionally stays with them, and Rich frequently shows up at the house trying to get to his family. The swim team does well, and T.J. is able to improve his own situation, but things worsen with Heidi's. It doesn't help when T.J. sees high school girls in abusive relationships and tries to understand why they stay. When a tragedy occurs, T.J. finds out some family secrets which help him go on with his life.
Good Points
Crutcher writes compelling stories, and uses his background as a counselor to add riveting details. This was originally written in 2001, so there are a few things that feel dated. T.J. and Heidi's racial background might still be unusual in the Northwest, but it is very common in Ohio. Unfortunately, the domestic abuse issues are all too fresh. T.J.'s father is a Vietnam veteran who had trouble readjusting to civilian life; today, someone of that age would be a grandparent. The book holds up well, but it doesn't hurt to alert readers that it is an older title in case they have questions.

The details about swimming are great. Mr. Crutcher must have been a competitive swimmer, and perhaps even a coach. It's good to see T.J. finding a positive outlet for his anger management issues, and also to see him take a positive leadership role. Interim Coach Oliver is an interesting addition to the group of athletes, all of whom face challenges of their own.

Crutcher is a master of the young adult problem novel, and his books should be on the top of the To Be Read pile of all fans of John Green, Carl Deuker, and Miranda Kenneally.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Unleashed
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the terrifying sequel to The Haunted, Hendricks discovers that...
Paint by Sticker Kids: Dinosaurs: Create 10 Pictures One Sticker at a Time!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Create pictures of 10 awesome dinosaurs... with stickers! ...
Tad
Tad
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
From Benji Davies, the award-winning creator of The Storm Whale...
Go Get 'Em, Tiger! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The perfect picture book to celebrate every milestone from the...
A World of Opposites
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From ALONE and TOGETHER to ABOVE and BELOW, Gray Malin’s...
The Voting Booth
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Stonewall Award-winning author Brandy Colbert comes an all-in-one-day love...
Now & When
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Jenny Han and Christine Riccio comes a...
Dating Makes Perfect
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because...
Now That I've Found You
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Now That I've Found You is a YA novel about...
Entwined
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sometimes love gets a bit twisted. ...
A Girl in Three Parts
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
I can split myself in two . . . something...
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of...
Scarlet Odyssey
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in...
Honor Lost (The Honors, #3)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Quick-thinking Leviathan pilot Zara Cole must stop a planet-eating monster...
If...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Take a fantastical journey through an inspiring world where anything...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The power of the dragon totems is no longer a...

Latest Member Reviews

Tad
Tad
 
4.5
"TAD is a colorful and engaging journey into the water, as we follow Tad, a tadpole. Tad lives with her..."
Go Get 'Em, Tiger! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
5.0
"GO GET 'EM, TIGER! is a brightly colored and delightful picture book of encouragement. The book features a tiger ("you")..."
If...
 
3.5
"IF... is an imaginative picture book that features artwork imagining impossible scenarios in artwork, with simple text to correspond. For..."
The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath: A Fairy Tale to Help You Feel Better (Feel-Good Fairy Tales)
 
4.0
"THE THREE LITTLE YOGIS AND THE WOLF WHO LOST HIS BREATH is a great picture book that teaches children meditation..."
Rival Magic
 
3.0
"Antonia, wizarding apprentice to Master Betrys, may not be the best at actual magic, but she tries her absolute best..."
Be Our Guest!
 
4.0
"BE OUR GUEST! is a colorful book of photographs. The book takes us to a hotel, where a monkey named..."
Hat Tricks
 
3.0
"HAT TRICKS is a story of magic. Hattie the rabbit pops out of her magic hat to perform some magic...."
Stanley's Toolbox
 
4.5
"STANLEY'S TOOLBOX is a delightful board book that shows many tools in action as Stanley helps to repair Little Woo's..."
Spring Is Here!
 
5.0
"SPRING IS HERE! is a delightful board book that features several animals in the springtime setting. The book is extra..."
Lali's Feather
 
5.0
"LALI'S FEATHER is a delightful and colorful picture book that explores birds and imagination. Lali is playing when she finds..."
A Friend for Mole
 
3.5
"A FRIEND FOR MOLE is a cute picture book that speaks to unlikely friendships and shared experiences. Mole is happy..."
 
5.0
"This book is a winner the moment a reader lays eyes on that cover--and the title. My niece--who is picky..."
 
5.0
"This book is absolutely adorable. Dragons can suddenly show up wherever the characters are and they have to..."
The Girl and the Ghost
 
4.0
"5 Reasons to Read THE GIRL AND THE GHOST 1.) Beautiful prose- This was my first time..."
Brother's Keeper
 
5.0
"BROTHER'S KEEPER is a highly engrossing and heartfelt read about a 12-year-old girl and her dangerous journey from North to..."
Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention
 
5.0
"IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION is a delightful, rhyming book about staying true to yourself and getting creative. Izzy..."
The Welcome Wagon
 
3.0
"THE WELCOME WAGON features four friends who decide to welcome a new family to Cubby Hill. As they travel to..."
Once Upon a Crime: Batman Tales
 
3.5
"BATMAN TALES: ONCE UPON A CRIME reimagines fairytales as Batman stories. There are four main stories in this graphic novel...."
Finder, Coal Mine Dog
 
4.5
"Thomas' father perished in a mining accident, so when his mother became ill and died, he ended up with his..."
Bo the Brave
 
5.0
"BO THE BRAVE is a delightful story about courage and not judging others too quickly. Bo lives with her brothers,..."