Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Whale Talk” as Want to Read:
Whale Talk
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Whale Talk

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  9,711 Ratings  ·  965 Reviews
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), the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to find their places in a school that has no place for them. T.J. is convinced that a varsity ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 10th 2002 by Laurel Leaf (first published April 10th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Whale Talk, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Taylor Siedel
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
this is the last of the "banned books" lot. i liked it more than i thought i would, and i think i liked it more than this three-star indicates, but i am somehow unable to give it a four. because this star-rating system is just too scientific and important, right?

i almost didn't read this one. i read what it was about - an all-boy swim team called the mermen who are social misfits but who bond together on their long bus trips where they share their secrets and learn to trust one another and learn
Wendy F
Wonderful! 4.5 stars!

Maybe it's the person inside me who hates athletics, but loves inspiring athletic movies? I mean, who doesn't get weepy when watching Remember the Titans, or who isn't a shameless Varsity Blues fan! Rudy? Radio? MIGHTY DUCKS! Bad News Bears... I could go on and on, I love them so much. I love them almost as much as dance movies. Bring on the 'Not another Sports Movie' parody! I'll be there, because I've just about seen 'em all! I mean, they're so much fun and they feel so go
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting story, but way too much happening in it. There is more than one book included in this one book. While it intrigued me and kept me reading, I felt like the author was tackling too much within the pages of this one book. I couldn't decide what the major theme was because there were so many from which to choose. Very strong language was included throughout the book. In addition, difficult topics were addressed including domestic violence, child abuse, racism, intense bullying, sexual re ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-read-again
While this book includes great issues that no doubt need to be addressed in young adult literature, I felt it lacked something more important: a believable and relatable main character. We felt that TJ was painted as an aloof but successful and sometimes over-zealous youth but came off more like a pretentious snob. What he did for the lesser characters in the novel was generous but his motives were a little off-putting and he spoke too highly of himself frequently. The rest of the characters see ...more
Jessica Abarquez
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi (Yup. Still here.)
What a great book about the power of friendship and the human spirit. It is rare to find smart and honest YA books out there about real everyday issues that are often overlooked or not talked about. I loved the mix of humor and truth in this book and found myself really rooting for this rag tag group of young men. TJ is an awesome protagonist and his father is quite possibly one of the best YA fathers I have ever met. (view spoiler) ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Finished. Some language, lots of dialogue by the author that clearly belies that the's a therapist. In fact the whole story is mostly a tale of an abusive, racist man harassing his ex and her kids and the family that protects them against the backdrop of a sports story. The sports aspect of the story is fairly original. In order to help out a mentally challenged kids being bullied for wearing his dead brother's letter jacket, the protagonist, an athletic multiracial adopted boy (these details ar ...more
T.J. is a natural born athlete but due to his background has a problem with authority and refuses to play team sports at his sports crazed high school. That is, until he hatches a plan to start a swim team of rejects and to get the whole team varsity letter jackets. Showing the jock centered power structure of the school what it really means to be sportsmen.

This is another of Chris Crutcher's fast paced well-written sports centered novels that skillfully melds sporting endeavors with serious so
Maximillian Jackson
Oct 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-412
When you start reading Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher, you might take the wonderful humor and cynicism of the main character, T.J., as a sign that this is going to be the usual coming-of-age, snarky-teen-protagonist tale common in YAL. The guy is named “The Tao Jones” for Pete’s sake; the jokes practically write themselves. However, some readers might glance over the very heavy and heart-wrenching back-story of T.J. because of his humor, but his tragedy is a better foreshadowing of the themes of t ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book makes my makes my month after a series of bore-me-brainless, I’ve-read-you-before reads. WHALE TALK is most definitely a favorite. It’s sweet and deep; smart and funny… and then ends on this ache-y note. I love love love so many things in it:

First,that it’s all about the underdog, because those? There were many here. Most of them have a sadness to share, but despite that (because of that?) there’s this bond that’s built up slowly… so, I found that a sweet progression. Second, that th
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Relations? 1 2 Nov 30, 2017 10:31PM  
Book Cover 1 5 Jan 31, 2014 09:00PM  
  • Fat Kid Rules the World
  • The Arizona Kid
  • America
  • Bucking the Sarge
  • Purple Heart
  • The First Part Last (Heaven, #2)
  • A Step from Heaven
  • True Believer (Make Lemonade, #2)
  • The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
  • Fallen Angels
  • It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
  • Night Hoops
  • We All Fall Down
  • Borderline
  • Alt Ed
  • Son of the Mob (Son of the Mob, #1)
  • Mexican Whiteboy
  • The Drowning of Stephan Jones
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
More about Chris Crutcher...
“...racist thought and action says far more about the person they come from than the person they are directed at.” 192 likes
“I walk outside and scream at the top of my lungs, and it maybe travels two blocks. A whale unleashes his cry, and it travels hundreds or even thousands of miles. Every whale in the ocean will at one time or another run into that song. And I figure whales probably don't edit. If they think it, they say it...Whale talk is the truth, and in a very short period of time, if you're a whale, you know exactly what it is to be you.” 46 likes
More quotes…