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Every kid in this group wants to fly. Every kid in this group has too much ballast. Mr. Nak's Angry Management group is a place for misfits. A place for stories. And, man, does this crew have stories. There's Angus Bethune and Sarah Byrnes, who can hide from everyone but each other. Together, they will embark on a road trip full of haunting endings and glimmering beginnings. And Montana West, who doesn't step down from a challenge. Not even when the challenge comes from her adoptive dad, who's leading the school board to censor the article she wrote for the school paper. And straightlaced Matt Miller, who had never been friends with outspoken genius Marcus James. Until one tragic week-a week they'd do anything to change-brings them closer than Matt could have ever imagined. Chris Crutcher fills these three stories with raw emotion. They are about insecurity, anger, and prejudice. But they are also about love, freedom, and power. About surviving. And hope.
These six powerful short stories chronicle bits of the lives of characters, major and minor, who have walked the rugged terrain of Chris Crutcher's earlier works. They also introduce some new and unforgettable personalities who may well be heard from again in future books. As with all Crutcher's work, these are stories about athletes, and yet they are not sport stories. They are tales of love and death, bigotry and heroism, of real people doing their best even when that best isn't very good. Crutcher's straightforward style and total honesty have earned him an admiring audience and made readers of many nonreaders.
Still troubled by his older brother's violent suicide, eighteen-year-old Dillon becomes deeply involved in the terrible secret of his friend Jennifer, who feels she can tell no one what her stepfather is doing to her.
Willie Weaver used to be a hero. Now he's nothing. Willie is a top athlete, the star of the legendary game against Crazy Horse Electric. Then a freak accident robs him of his once-amazing physical talents. Betrayed by his family, his girlfriend, and his own body, Willie's on the run, penniless and terrified on the streets, where he must fight to rebuild both his body and his life.
Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world. How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho? First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on--not his superstar quarterback brother, Cody, not his parents, not his coach, no one. Next, he decides to become the best 127-pound football player Trout High has ever seen; to give his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine; and to help the local drunk clean up his act. And then there's Dallas Suzuki. Amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki, who may or may not give Ben the time of day. Really, she's first on the list. Living with a secret isn't easy, though, and Ben's resolve begins to crumble . . . especially when he realizes that he isn't the only person in Trout with secrets.
This story is about a therapist's investigation of the abduction and murder of the young daughter of one of his patients and focuses on child abuse.
If Devin Mack can't actually fight his father, he's going to fight everyone he can find on the football field. This short story from the collection Guys Read: The Sports Pages is a winner.
Bo Brewster has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. Following angry outbursts at his football coach and English teacher that have cost him his spot on the football team and moved him dangerously close to expulsion from school, he turns to the only adult he believes will listen: Larry King. In his letters to Larry, Bo describes his quest for excellence on his own terms. No more coaches for me, he tells the talk show icon, no more dads. I'm going to be a triathlete, an Ironman. Relegated to Mr. Nak's before-school Anger Management group (which he initially believes to be populated with future serial killers and freeway snipers), Bo meets a hard-edged, down-on-their-luck pack of survivors with stainless steel shields against the world that Bo comes to see are not so different from his own. It is here he meets and falls in love with Shelly, a future American Gladiator, whose passion for physical challenge more than matches his. Ironman is a funny, sometimes heartbreaking story about growing up in the heart of struggle. It is about standing up, getting knocked down, and standing up again. It is about being heard--and learning to listen.
Do You Know: A good reason to be phobic about oysters and olives? That you can step inside a roaring coal furnace and feet cool? That Jesus had an older brother? How shutting your mouth can help you avoid brain surgery? How to avoid cow-pies during your baptism? How to survive in the winter wilderness with only a fishing pole and a sausage? Chris Crutcher knows the answers to these things and more. And once you have read about Chris Crutcher's life as a dateless, broken-toothed, scabbed-over, God-fearing dweeb, and once you have contemplated his ascension to the buckskin-upholstered throne of the King of the Mild Frontier, you will close this book, close your eyes and hold it to your chest, and say, "I, too, can be an author." Hell, anyone can.
Period 8. An hour a day. You can hang out. You can eat your lunch. You can talk. Or listen. Or neither. Or both. Nothing is off-limits. The only rule is that you keep it real; that you tell the truth. Heller High senior Paul Baum--aka Paulie Bomb--tells the truth. Not the "Wow, that's an ugly sweater" variety of truth, but the other kind. The truth that matters. It might be hard. It often hurts. But Paulie doesn't know how not to tell it. When he tells his girlfriend Hannah the life-altering, messed-up, awful truth, his life falls apart. The truth can get complicated, fast. But someone in Period 8 is lying. And Paulie, Hannah, and just about everyone else who stops by the safe haven of the P-8 room daily are deceived. And when a classmate goes missing and the mystery of her disappearance seeps beyond P-8 and into every hour of the day, all hell breaks loose.
Louie Banks has it made. He's got a starting spot on the football team, good friends, and a smart, beautiful girlfriend who loves him as much as he loves her. Early in the fall, he sees all his ideas of fair play go up in smoke; by spring, what he cares about most has been destroyed. How can Louie keep going when he's lost everything?
Billy Bartholomew has an audacious soul, and he knows it. Why? Because it's all he has left. He's dead. Eddie Proffit has an equally audacious soul, but he doesn't know it. He's still alive. These days, Billy and Eddie meet on the sledding hill, where they used to spend countless hours -- until Billy kicked a stack of Sheetrock over on himself, breaking his neck and effectively hitting tilt on his Earthgame. The two were inseparable friends. They still are. And Billy is not about to let a little thing like death stop him from hanging in there with Eddie in his epic struggle to get his life back on track.
Sarah Byrnes and Eric have been friends for years. When they were children, his fat and her terrible scars made them both outcasts. Later, although swimming slimmed Eric, she stayed his closest friend. Now Sarah Byrnes -- the smartest, toughest person Eric has ever known -- sits silent in a hospital. Eric must uncover the terrible secret she's hiding, before its dark currents pull them both under.
Stotan: A cross between a Stoic and a Spartin It's the last swimming season for Walker, Nortie, Lion, and Jeff, and their coach is building their self-discipline in a grueling four-hour-a-day test of stamina designed to bring them to the outer edge of their capabilities. As it turns out, Stotan Week is also the week in which secrets are revealed, and the four friends must draw upon their new strengths for an endurance they never knew they'd need.
Intellectually and athletically gifted, T. J., a multiracial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school's less popular students.
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