Title: Whale Talk
Author: Chris Crutcher
Summary: Chris Crutcher is one of those unique writers who manages to get his work challenged almost as often as he receives literary awards and lands on best book lists. Whale Talk is perhaps one of his most controversial and one of his best. It’s told from the point of view of T.J. Jones, a black, Japanese, white high school senior born to a hippie, drug-using mom and adopted as a toddler by a loving white couple. While T.J. may be the narrator, this is not just his story. It’s also the story of a group of misfit teens who are inspired to achieve something of their own, a little mixed race girl struggling against a brutal home life, a good man who spends every day trying to make up for a 20+ year old horrible accident, and the racism and prejudice that tie their lives together.
Who will like this book: While the basic plot of this story centers around T.J. assembling and leading a rag-tag swim team populated with the biggest school misfits, this isn’t just a book for sports fiction fans. This book delves into topics of child abuse, racism, and bullying with a raw honesty that is heartbreaking at times.
If you like this, try this:Any other books by Chris Crutcher, Speakby Laurie Halse Anderson, Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Recommended by: Jen, Branch Teen Librarian