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) to find their places in a school that has no place for them, the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to carve out their own turf. T. J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacketunattainable for most, exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T. J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter Highwill be an effective carving 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 meetspiloted by Icko, the permanent resident of All, Night Fitnesssoon becomes the cocoon inside which they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to bloom.
Chris Crutcher is in top form with a cast of charactersadults, children, and teenagersfighting 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.
"Featuring narrator T.J. Jones's darkly ironic appraisal of the high school sports arena, this gripping tale of smalltown prejudice delivers a frank, powerful message about social issues and ills," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)