by Chris Crutcher, 1986
Classification: YA Fiction
Age Level: 14+
Subjects: Friendship, teams, high school
Reader’s annotation: Four high school swimmers volunteer for a grueling week of training in preparation for their final season as a team.
Main characters: Walter Dupree (narrator), has older parents who are not much involved in his life
Nortie Wheeler, works with young kids at a daycare
Jeff Hawkins, formerly with the Marine reserves
Lionel “Lion” Serbousek, an orphan who lives alone in a run-down apartment
Max Il Song, swim coach, Korean
Elaine, also a swimmer, friend of the team
Devnee, Walker’s girlfriend
Marty O’Brian, a schoolmate who promotes a local newsletter called “Aryan Press”
Gail Stevens, school administrator
Summary: Frost High School swimming coach Max Il Song devises a challenge for his four man team: Stotan Week, in which each athlete will strive to become a cross between a Stoic and a Spartan. Together, best friends and teammates Walker, Nortie, Jeff and Lion push themselves past their known limits and find not only a higher level of athletic performance but also a deeper understanding of life and friendship.
Controversial content: Racism, violence, child abuse.