by Chris Crutcher, 1987
Classification: YA Fiction
Age Level: 14+
Subjects: accident & aftermath, disappointment, friendship, family
Reader’s annotation: When a near-drowning leaves him crippled, star athlete Willie Weaver is forced to confront a life much different from the one he thought he was supposed to live.
Main characters: Willie Weaver—a gifted athlete and the formidable pitcher on his town’s baseball team
Big Will—Willie’s father who is deeply proud of his athletic son and who has always related to Willie through sports
Sandy Weaver—Willie’s mother who blames herself for the loss of baby Missy to SIDS
Johnny Rivers—Willie’s best friend who enjoys telling longwinded jokes that end in cheesy puns
Jenny Blackburn—Willie’s longtime best friend and new girlfriend, a star athlete in her own right who particularly excels in basketball
Summary: A near-drowning leaves star athlete Willie Weaver damaged, a devastating blow for the Weaver family who never healed from the death of baby Missy. Willie is bewildered by his sudden handicap. With his best friend/girlfriend drifting away and his father increasingly frustrated, Willie senses the need for a new environment in which he can sort out his new identity. He boards a bus and ends up in Oakland where he finds an unlikely savior in a pimp named Lacey who sets Willie up at a school offering “One More Last Chance.” Can Willie, and the family and friends he’s left behind, ever recover from the tragedy?
Controversial Content: Racism