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Losers Bracket

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  115 reviews
When it comes to family, Annie is in the losers bracket. While her foster parents are great (mostly), her birth mom, Nancy, and her sister, Sheila, would not have been her first picks. And no matter how many times Annie tries to write them out of her life, she always gets sucked back into their drama. But when a family argument breaks out at one of Annie’s swim meets and h ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Greenwillow Books
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  402 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Julie Daniels
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, middle-grade, ya
Wow. This book and the feels! I don't even know where to start but a little of it hit me especially hard. Full review to come closer to release day. Thanks to Harper Children's for the aadvance copy for review.
Loser's bracket -- starting a difficult fight already behind...Like Annie Boots and her Nancy, sister, Sheila, and nephew, Frankie.

Loser's bracket -- the side of the bracket that requires you to play more games to get to the finals. Annie deliberately loses the first game of a tourney to give her mom and sister MORE time to come to her games, in the hopes of spending some time together.

Loser's bracket -- the concept of always playing catch up, never being in charge of your future,
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I am usually a huge fan of Chris Crutcher's work, but Losers Bracket falls short for me. It is the story of Annie, a foster child whose desperate need to be loved by her biological family almost destroys her chance at a real future. Annie's voice gets stronger as the book nears its end, but I just did not buy her story from the start. The author does a good job of showing how difficult life can be for foster families in general, as well as the families that the foster kids leave behind. Losers B ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The narrator of this novel is a high school senior named Annie Boots. Annie has had a tough life, bouncing between her tres dysfunctional family and a foster one. There is no question she's been dealt a hard lot. However, this seems to be a case of tell rather than show. Annie mentions the difficulties frequently and seems to feel pretty darn sorry for herself. Granted, she is so entitled. However, as a reader, it got on my nerves because I prefer to develop my own impressions of characters rath ...more
**This review and others on my blog, Falconer's Library**

How do I love Chris Crutcher? Let me count the ways. There's his foul mouthed, big hearted FB rants about the state of the country and the role of old white guys like himself. There's the humor that slides into even his darkest books. There's the way his work is all rooted firmly in eastern Washington/northern Idaho, just like he is. There's the way he populates that territory with diversity, and is honest about how challenging it is to li
Ms. Yingling
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Annie is a high school senior who has a lot of family problems. Her bio mom, Nancy, lost custody some time ago due to extreme neglect and drug use, and Annie has been living with the Howards for a number of years, and she gets along well with their son, Marvin, who is about her age. Annie's sport is basketball, and she's hoping to get some college scholarships, but she is using the off season to swim, a sport at which she does not excel. The one good thin
Katy Noyes
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 'mad as a bucket of frogs' family, a fostered daughter struggling with loyalties, and a missing boy...

Annie has the maddest birth family I think I've ever read about, the sort you see on TV but pray doesn't really exist. Put through the system so many times, they KNOW the answers to the parenting tests, yet Annie was regularly removed into foster care. And now her nephew is in the same situation with her sister Sheila.

Now in a secure foster family, Annie is nearly through high school, she's p
Annie reminds me of a friend growing up-- drawn and pulled back into the dysfunctionality of her biological family's issues though she has a stable foster family to encourage her. It's the draw and the need to stay connected even when you shouldn't. It's the affect of drugs and neglect and apathetic parenting.

So Annie about-faces on her sports of choice (basketball) to swimming and pushes through a scary incident where her nephew that she keeps close ties with goes missing. Ultimately as the gl
Christie Bane
Maybe I would've liked this book more if I was a troubled teen; I don't know.

The first-person narrator of this book, Annie, comes from a messed-up, white-trash, drug-addled family. Her mother Nancy is fat and gross and always with some loser guy or another. Her older sister Sheila is a mess and well on the way to becoming just like Nancy. Her nephew Frankie is troubled to the extent that he likes to smear his own poop into the cracks of walls and floors. Somehow Annie had the good fortune to en
Annie definitely comes from a messed up family, but she's actually pretty together. It was only when others start to interfere that her life becomes crazy. I liked how she tried to keep in touch with her blood family, knowing that where she was was better for her in the long run. Annie really learned a lot about herself over the book and by the end was in a good place, one where she can be free with all of her families.
Kelley Treece
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Chris Crutcher’s, Loser’s Bracket, family matters... a lot Annie Boots. Loser’s Bracket introduces us to the unpredictable Boots family and into the life of Annie who tries to balance foster home and bio family. The characters are relatable and endearing in their own quirky ways. As a reader I found myself rooting for Annie the whole way! I couldn’t put this one down!!
Janine Darragh
I love me some Chris Crutcher, and his latest did not disappoint. Thoughtfully addressed issues of foster care, family, trauma, and friendship. The narcissist in me loved that there was a minor character named Janine who is a swimmer at Whitworth University in Spokane ;)
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will never not love anything that Chris Crutcher writes. Tough and gritty, but Crutcher's kids always have at least one excellent, caring (but often complicated) adult who helps them navigate the sometimes shitty reality they face. Love this main character and all the other characters who support and cheer her on.
Audiobook was good. I wanted a deeper emotional connection to the characters. This just grazed the surface.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Dymocks Joondalup
I received an ARC copy of Loser's Bracket through my local book club the Dymocks Joondalup YA Book club.
I went into this book blind, I didn't read the blurb prior to throwing myself into it, and if I'm honest I wasn't expecting much having had a recent downward spiral with books published under the '"YA"' moniker.

I was however pleasantly surprised by Chris Crutcher's novel. The story revolves around our protagonist Annie who is a foster child (teenager) and her struggles with finding a balance
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: reader's who like gritty young adult books
I've read Chris Crutcher's books for years, but last week was the first time I saw him speak in public! His latest book is set in Spokane, Washington, and a central event in the book was Hoopfest, the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Annie Boots was drawn to her "bio" family (mother and sister) like a horse to water. But their relationship was tragically dysfunctional --every single interaction. Every June, Annie made sure her basketball team lost the first game and wins the rest so she can ...more
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is true Crutcher, from his heart. When I met Chris Crutcher years ago he told us about his work, not as an author, but as a therapist especially helping to protect children. His character shows up in this story.
Annie is in a long term foster care family and at age 17 has a year before she will be on her own. She has conflicts with her foster dad, and often sneaks off to see her bio family who have multiple issues. Her older sister, who has a 5 year old son who she conveniently drops off wit
Ted Lehmann
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of YA Novels, Crutcher Fans, People who like a good novel that reads quick
Loser’s Bracket by Chris Crutcher

I met Chris Crutcher at a National Council of Teachers of English convention in Orlando (could have been Anaheim) in the late 1980’s where he was giving a presentation on Young Adult fiction. He was a trim, handsome, athletic looking man who was a school counselor and an athlete. Someone asked him what set young adult fiction aside from other fiction works. He responded, “The length.” I was intrigued, bought a couple of his books and devoured them avidly. I was
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The thing I like most about Chris Crutcher as both an author and a person is that he doesn’t pull any punches; he presents things as they are in all of their complexity. As Sharon the librarian in LOSERS BRACKET says, “Good stories come from life…And for most writers, it’s the easiest place to start” (p. 152). Crutcher has long pulled from his experiences working with children and families to craft honest and real stories that reflect the realities that many children and young adults face. LOSER ...more
Ellen Klock
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unless you are playing during March Madness where a lose is an automatic ejection from further play, there are two pathways to winning a basketball tournament. You can win your way to the top spot, or you can lose and play the other losers into the winner's circle.

That's the way Annie Boots prefers to win, by playing the other losers then besting the winning team in Loser's Bracket by Chris Crutcher. This route may take a little longer, but it gives her a better chance of meeting up with her fa
Hannah Rae
I've loved Chris Crutcher for years. That being said, I did not love this book. There were some things about it that I liked, though. For instance, it was sort of fun to read something told from a girl's perspective. Crutcher rarely includes main characters who are female, and Loser's Bracket not only includes a lead female, but Annie Boots is actually the narrator.

I also found it interesting to read about the connection a foster child may feel toward her biological family, even if that biologi
Sylvs (NOVELty)
ARC Given in exchange for an honest review

I don’t think I’ve been more divided about a book review as I currently am with this book. Was it good or was it bad? Did I even enjoy it? To be honest it’s a hard question to answer for me. At the start I had no idea what was happening (which made me almost stop reading the book) but I pushed through and thought it picked up a little bit in the middle but not enough to make me think “WHOA! I LOVE THIS BOOK!” but it was enough to make me rate it roughly
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
So...I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book, but it sure wasn't this! When I finished the last page and hubby asked what I thought of it, I didn't even have the words. I told him I was going to need to process it. It's been a couple days now, and I'm still processing. It was so...raw. Rich, but filled with pain and confusion and some seriously messed up love. And yet, I think the power here comes from the message. You see, no matter how messed up our pasts may be...due to o ...more
John Clark
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a porcupine speeding toward a train wreck and you have the Zen capsulation of this book. Annie Boots is extremely prickly for very good reasons. She pretty much parented herself as a child, thanks, or rather no thanks to her absent mostly zoned out father and her overweight, thieving, drug addict/alcoholic mother, Nancy. She was rescued by Wiz, her social worker and the somewhat straight-laced, but very supportive foster parents he found for her. Annie's smart, athletic and uber prickly. ...more
Mr. Trapp
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Popular author Chris Crutcher creates a memorable protagonist named Annie Boots in Loser’s Bracket. Although the plot is fairly predictable, the many diverse characters besides Annie is what makes this book a success as well. First of all, the main character Annie is a foster care child trying to survive her last year of high school. Despite her mother Nancy’s flaws, Annie is still drawn to her and her biological family. In fact, Annie convinces her teammates to always lose their first basketbal ...more
Alison Paulette
Annie Boots lives in two worlds- that of her low-class bio family the Boots and that of her upper middle class foster family the Howards. Even though she knows she shouldn't, she constantly looks for her bio family in the stands of her sporting events. In fact, she deliberately looses the first fame in tournaments so that she will have to play more games in the loser's bracket, giving them more time to show up.

Her bio family reads like a caricature of "white trash trailer park". Mr. Crutcher pa
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Foster kid, Annie Boots, knows her bio mom, Nancy, and stepsister, Sheila, are toxic, but is inexplicably drawn to them and their squabbles and addictions. Plus, she feels compelled to provide Sheila’s young son, Frankie, with some familial support. Adoptive parents, Pop and Momma Howard barely tolerate Frankie’s visits, and discourage any contact that will derail Annie’s chance at a basketball scholarship. When Annie joins the swim team with friend, Leah, Pop attributes the bouncing from sport- ...more
Nice to read another new one from Chris Crutcher. Good solid realistic book with a main character you are rooting for to succeed despite her crazy family. Annie, a senior, lives with great foster parents and a supportive younger foster brother. She is an excellent athlete; her drug addict mom lost custody of her after years of bouncing her in and out of foster care, so Annie sneaks in visits when her mom shows up to watch her play tournament basketball, because it's a public place and because An ...more
Savannah Garner
I would like to give a huge thank you to Harper Collins Publishing for providing me an early copy in exchange for a honest review!

The Loser's Bracket is about a young girl named Annie Boots who has always felt like she is on the losing side of life. In her home, athletically, and even with her divided foster and biological family members. Annie would go against her foster family's wishes and visit her bio dead beat mom. When both families end up seeing each other at Annie's swim meet an argument
Jacob Weiner
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Losers Bracket
By Chris Crutcher

1.) Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher was an up and down read for me. Often times I was confused what was going on in the story but it mostly all made sense at the end of each page. I liked the reality of the book and i found some parts easily relatable which made the reading experience more enjoyable.

2.) Losers Bracket helps answer one of our essential questions; How do individuals develop core values and beliefs? This book explains how people develop core values
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Chris Crutcher's writing is controversial, and has been frequently challenged and even banned by individuals who want to censor his books by removing them from libraries and classrooms. Running Loose and Athletic Shorts were on the ALA's top 100 list of most frequently challenged books for 1990-2000. His books generally feature teens coping with serious problems, including abusive parents, racial ...more
“Darlin’,” he says, draining his coffee cup, “I can come up with solutions all day long and you can come up with reasons. Either you take control or all you’ve got left is reasons.” 0 likes
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