This book houses three short stories — with extensions of characters we’ve met before — from teens in Mr. Nak’s “Angry Management” class. Fans have long been asking Crutcher why he hasn’t had sequels of books like Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and Whale Talk or written an entire book for Angus Bethune. Crutcher addresses these questions in the foreword, and then, while these are not traditional sequels, gives readers the chance to reconnect with some of their favorites. While it might be nice to read the original books/stories so that you can get to know the characters better, it certainly isn’t necessary for readers to be able to enjoy this book.
Angus Bethune [Athletic Shorts] and Sarah Byrnes [Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes] seem an unlikely pair, but they soon form a bond that neither can deny. They decide to take a road trip to give Sarah a second chance at the closure she so desperately needs, and end up coming away with a much better understanding of just how well each of them can fill a void in the other’s life.
Montana West [The Sledding Hill] takes a stand in front of the school board again — this time to stand up for the school newspaper. Montana refuses to take no for an answer when the principal bans her article on medical marijuana. Since her adoptive father is the president of the school board, the conflict soon becomes more than a school issue and Montana has to decide whether she is going to back down or move out.
John Simet [Whale Talk] and Matt Miller [Deadline] come together in a story about Marcus James — the only black student, who is also openly gay, in a “sundown town” in Washington. Marcus is a Rhodes Scholar and an open water swimmer, so he clearly understands hard work and perseverance. When he finds a pink noose on his locker, though, he begins to recognize how long the road to graduation will be. This final story was eye-opening, gut-wrenching, and impossible to forget.