Running Loose

Running Loose

4.1 37
by Chris Crutcher

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Louie Banks isn't the boy who has everything, but he's not complaining.

In his senior year of high school Louie has good friends, a starting spot on the football team, and a terrific girlfriend, Becky.

Maybe it was too good to last. All at once,everything turns sour when Louie is tossed off the football team for taking a stand against the coach, who


Louie Banks isn't the boy who has everything, but he's not complaining.

In his senior year of high school Louie has good friends, a starting spot on the football team, and a terrific girlfriend, Becky.

Maybe it was too good to last. All at once,everything turns sour when Louie is tossed off the football team for taking a stand against the coach, who ordered an illegal hit against an opposing player. Luckily he's supported by his parents, his bestfriend, and Becky. Louie can face anything as long as he has her love. The tragedy strikes.

Now everything in life seerns unfair to Louie. People say he acting crazy. Can he let go of his anger and reach for something new to believe in?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this first novel, a boy's senior year in high school goes awry when he's kicked off the football team for taking a stand against the coach, and his girlfriend is killed in a car accident. PW found this ``a tightly plotted, compelling talecompassionate, funny and sensitive.'' (12-up)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Crutcher's sports training has aided his writing. " I always thought that a lot of my great ideas and strengths came from competing. I used to find that place where I'd get in the zone and not get tired, and I feel that when I'm really interested in a conversation or psychological concept. I see myself as a writer in very much the same way I see myself as an athlete. When I get into a good story, then the story will carry itself." Crutcher's talent is evident in Running Loose, in which Louie learns about love, death, sportsmanship, and integrity as well as football.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Running Loose

Chapter One

The year started out pretty smooth. Probably would have ended up that way, too, if Becky had stayed around or if I hadn't quit the football team and made myself look like the Jerk of the Universe, though I still say quitting was the only thing to do, and I wouldn't change that.

I mean, Norm let me buy the pickup at the end of last summer, I had two pretty good jobs so the money was rolling in, and I finally got a starting spot on the football team.

And I had Becky.

I wasn't doing bad in school either. My grades weren't world-beaters; but two of my senior English compositions were entered in the State Prose and Poetry Fair down in Boise, and the Daily Statesman even printed one of them. In fact, some guy from the paper called me long distance to tell me to keep them in mind if I decided to go to college and major in journalism. Got to thinking I was pretty hot stuff. Seemed like all I had to do was shove 'er in neutral and coast on in to graduation. But when it goes, man, it goes.

We play eight-man football in Trout, mostly because in any given year at least two teams in the league couldn't field an eleven-man team without using their cheerleaders. In Idaho, if your student body doesn't have more than 125 people in it, you can play eight-man ball. Any more than that, you have to play eleven. There's not a school in our league that comes close. This wouldn't be any kind of big deal except that it's real hard for anyone from an eight-man team to get a college scholarship. Most colleges don't even consider it football.

I'm not talking about myself. I couldn't get a football scholarship to TreasureValley Community College as a blocking dummy the way I play, if you want to be honest about it. But Carter-he's our quarterback and my best friend-and Boomer Cowans--he's our running back and definitely not my best friend--might be good enough. Our team hasn't lost a game in three years, and those guys are the reason. Carter's big and strong and fast and smart, and he can throw the ball a mile. Boomer's bigger and probably stronger and almost as fast and dumber than a cinder block. But he's mean, and you can't hurt him because he doesn't care, and he has a lot of natural instinct for the game. At least that's what Coach Lednecky says. Lednecky's the cinder block that Boomer's dumber than. Me, I'd just try to get a decent catch once in a while and let those guys do their stuff.

Anyway, Carter and Boomer are probably going to get a shot at some college ball next year because we got a lot of press for winning the State Eight-Man Championship three years running and because Lednecky was able to persuade a couple of scouts from C of I and Ricks College to come take a look. He even sent some game films up to the U.

Sometimes I feel kind of sorry for Boomer. I mean, even with all the crap I got into this year, my future doesn't look that bad. I don't think I did anything that can't be fixed, though you might get some argument there from Lednecky or Jasper, who runs this place. I've got a few irons in the fire. But I don't know about Boomer. If he doesn't make it playing ball-which doesn't seem too likely, considering you'd have to add three points to his grade point average to bring it up to an F--he's going to be setting chokers and top-loading his old man's logging truck for the rest of his fife or at least until he has a kid to do it for him. It doesn't seem like there's much of what makes the rest of us shine in Boomer. I mean, the only time he laughs is when someone else is getting screwed. And he's always talking about making it with some girl he's never touched and adding some weirdball garbage that, if it had really happened, would cheapen her. Like he said he took Adrienne Klinner down to the drive-in in Boise, and when she was out going to the bathroom, he poked a hole in the bottom of the popcorn box and stuck 01' Norton up through. (Boomer's dad doesn't let him cuss-beats him up when he hears it-so Boomer calls his "thing" 01' Norton.) Anyway, then he held the box in his lap, and when she'd eaten down about halfway (three-quarters would be more like it), she got a handful. Said she shrieked at first, but then she started playing with it and went crazy. Crap like that. He's so dumb he doesn't know every jerk in the world has told that story. I mean, Adrienne Klinner would have poured her Coke into the box and taken a bus back to Trout.

I almost lost my Iife when I said I didn't believe that story, which is why most of the time I don't feel sorry for Boomer at all, because he scares me to death. I know if I gave him half a reason, he'd tear off my arms and beat me with the bloody stubs. He's hated me ever since we were in grade school and I asked his dad if he really lost his logging truck down a jelly roll. That might sound strange if you don't know what a jelly roll is. None of the streets in...

Running Loose
. Copyright (c) by Chris Crutcher . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

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Running Loose 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Marin V More than 1 year ago
Attending a very small-town high school in Idaho, Louie Banks finds his senior year to be by far his most eventful, both in a good way and a bad way. He was a starting player on the varsity football team, had a gorgeous girlfriend, AND an alibi for all his wrongdoings when it came to the principal. In football season Louie experienced one extremely bewildering call that left his mind reeling and his thoughts about coach had taken to a much different course. When spring came, tragedy struck. All he had in the world meant nothing in comparison to what had just happened. Banks had changed. He now looked at life with more caution, with more authority. I enjoyed this book greatly and have no doubt that you'll share the same thoughts. What intrigued me most was how accurate the situations seemed in this book. Entirely able to relate to, this novel will nearly bring tears to your eyes. Recommendations include, but are not limited to: realistic fiction readers, athletes, melodrama-goers, and/or if you enjoy deep, loving relationships! I assure you, the time put into "Running Loose" will most certainly be worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you think this book was horrible yomusr not have read it and whoever told you it was horrible must not have read it either. The first chris crutcher bokk i read instantly addicted. Read it forreal and r Then post u fatA
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Louie Banks is a senior in high school who lives in Salmon River. He started working two jobs which allowed him to buy his dads truck. Louie worked all summer long working out with his best friend Carter trying to get in shape for the upcoming football season. It was the first year that he made the starting eight on the football team. They only play with eight people because it's a small town and they only play small towns also. He met a very nice girl that he has always liked. Her name was Becky Sanders and she was a cheerleader. One day, she walked up to him and said do you want to get a drink after school. Louie was surprised and said he would. They started hanging out a lot more and they eventually started dating each other. She realized that he was becoming a great football player and she supported him a lot. The Salmon River football team was the best around where they lived and they always went undefeated. This year, one of the teams from the town nearby got s African American player,Washington, from California and he made their team super good. The coach said the only way to win is to hurt the him. The game came, and he was doing extremely well and coach wasn't happy. The team's meanest player, Boomer had a shot at him and took it. He nailed Washington and hurt him badly and he had to get taken off the field in an ambulance. Louie flipped out and got ejected from the game because he didn't think it was right. The next day he went to school and the principal suspended him and then told him he can't play any other sport this year. He didn't think that was fair nor his parents or Becky. After suspension, the new assistant football coach was the head coach of tracl. He wanted Louie to run track for him to keep him from getting in trouble. They went to the principal and the coach of the football team and the principal said no were not letting him. Eventually, after a lot of arguing, they finally agreed to let him run track. He ended up doing really good and making it to regionals where he placed fourth in state and fifth in world. Reviewer: Taylor Budden
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! It starts out talking about the characters. The characters are very realistic and are easy to relate to if you are in the same situation. Louie banks has a starting position on the football team, the most beautiful cheerleader in the school, and his friends love him. But one evening it all starts going very wrong. All of the sudden he loses everything except Becky, his girlfriend. Everything seems to get a little better, but then he loses the only thing he had left. He goes on and runs track and beats Washington, a black football player,who is part of the reason he lost it all. I would recommend this book to seventh grade and up. If you are into sports you should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Running Loose is a book about Louie, a senior football player from Trout, Idaho who finds himself in the hardest decision of his life when his coach intentionally has the players hurt the only player in the way of their state championship. Louie has to choose the team or following his moral beliefs and quitting the team. Along with his girlfriend, Becky, family, and friends he makes the hardest decision of his life that effects him forever. Crutcher really involves the reader in the book and it relates well to teenagers. The book was one of the best books I have ever read. It is one of those books that you can't put down once you start it. The book has some serious themes, but it also has its funny and entertaining points. I would recommend this book to teenagers. Girls and guys both will enjoy this book. The book is not all about football, so you don't have to be a football lover to read the book, but football lovers will also enjoy the book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for summer reading. This book is one of those that you start reading and you cant stop. I almost started to cry when Beckys accident happend.If you like sports you'll like this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author faces the never ending racial problems bravely resulting in a truly spectular novel. It's spellbounding, and I recommend it to anyone who like deeply affecting books
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think running loose was an okay book. I didnt really understand what was going on some of the time. But I think the story line is good. And it has a great ending. I just think it needs to be more interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Running Loose is a breathtaking novel by a master of the trade. It takes place in a school type atmosphere. Louie, a senior, worked dilgently to get a starting spot on the high school football team, but is faced with difficult times when his coach orders an illegal hit against an opposeing player. It also has a superb cast of charaecters, each with their own storyline. I would give this book an excellent rating. It is pretty much a one of a kind book. I would reccomend this book to ages 12 and up due to some language and sexual content.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Recommended age for this book would be 8th grade and up. It is a very good book for the young adult reader. Relates to teenagers, things every teenager will deal with. It goes through the ups and downs of life, and really makes you think. Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst book ever
sam1996 More than 1 year ago
In my opinion I think that the novel Running Loose is all in all a good book, however it is not the best book I have ever read. I would still recommend this novel to any reader 12 years old and up as well as any football players who have girlfriends that they really love. In this novel there is a young adult named Louie Banks who starts out with being just another substitute for the team. His occupation is cleaning up at a bar in the morning. However he does not have it all that bad but he does not end up having it all that well either. Louie's parents helped guide him on the appropriate path to having a better and safer life which is better for his whole family. Louie's dad Norm is his biggest influence in his life. He also has many friends that help him when he is going through some rough times. Along the way he loses his beloved Becky which is one of the problems that he faces in this novel. Later in Louie's high school year he makes a critical decision that could potentially ruin his high school year and it just about does, Louie decided it was time to resign his position on the school football team . When you think that his life would start heading in the right direction it does not, it only became worse from that moment on. Towards the end of this novel Louie learns that the girl of his dreams Becky has died from an unspecified cause. Louie said something in front of everybody at the funeral, he knew he looked unethical after saying all those things. He was thinking to mow the lawn at the church for the whole summer, but he didnt do it.
richard69 More than 1 year ago
Running loose it a very interesting book about life. Its a book about life and sports problems that the main character encounters in the story. We recommend this book to anybody that wants a good story or anyone who just need something to read. The book is read in first person view by the main character. The author writes the book using real life drama and depressing moments to keep the reader connected to the book. Running loose has some comic relief during the sad and depressing moments to help reliefs the stress and somewhat intense feelings in the story. It has racial profiling in some spots during the story. What we liked to this book was that it relates to real life and some of us can connect to some if the events that happens in this book. Its realistic and makes sense most of the times. Some of us had a few road bumps during the story. What we disliked about this story was the story slowly gets sad and gets depressing through out the events and actions in the book. Some of us didn't like the book at all. Also that it didn't really take place fro around our time so some of the situations we wouldn't really know how to compare or relate to because things change over time. Most of us didn't like the characters in the book and the way they acted and because of the choices the main character made. Over all it was a very well written book and most of us would recommend it to anyone who wants a good story or is just trying to pass time. Its took awhile to read but was worth the time because it was a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book running loose was a slow book that got good in the middle and slow in the end again. I would recommend this book to people who like football and remember what it was like to be in high school. The book on the other hand has a terrible ending that makes you question why you read it in the first place. Besides the slow beginning and a terrible ending it was an okay book. There are bullies, friends and girl friends and it gives you the whole high school experience. I do not like football very much so I did not like this book. There's a guy named boomer who always picks on the main character Louie. Boomer constantly lies like most high school students do. He talks about his girlfriend Becky and they got into a fight. Louie stands up for what he believes in when Louie was playing football the other team had a guy named Washington who was very fast runner and great quarter back. Boomer got instructions from his couch give him an illegal sack that cost the other team the game. Louie tells the couch that was an illegal move but the couch was in on it. Louie got removed off the football team for standing up. He made a big deal out of something that he should not have. This wrecked a lot of things in his life. I will not spoil the ending for anyone who will read this book. It's a great book if you're in high school. This book does use mature language in some parts and does talk about some sexual parts and other things. Basically it's all about things that go on in high school.
CherryPie5 More than 1 year ago
I believe this story was very compelling and up-beat. More or less an up to date read that was easy, emotional and at the same time very interesting. The author uses an easy style of writing that is not hard to read or understand, and provides an amazing input to the characters and the way they feel. Chris Crutcher also writes to get his readers mind guessing what will happen next. As well the book makes me feel as though I should be able to fight through any problem that I may face. Any body form the age of 12 and up could read this book in my opinion male or female and it would be an outstanding read.
A young man is faced with a multitude of challenges such as facing his Senior yr. in high school well having a starting spot on the football team, and having an amazingly gorgeous to die for girlfriend. His coach puts Him in one of the biggest pickles of his life and at the same time has to struggle with the death of his girlfriend. The author uses excellent narrative and realistic dialogue to help explain the significance of the situation. As well as provide quality characterization that makes you want to not stop reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i read Deadline and its absolutly my favorite book EVER. but in deadline it talks about all these charactors and about Becky's death. are these two books related? like this one is about Ben Wolf's coach when he was young?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Running Loose, written by Chris Crutcher is a novel that includes the genres of comedy, drama, adolescence, and action. The main theme of this book is about the trials in a journey through adolescence. The novel is about a teenage boy, named Louie Banks living in Idaho who faces many of these trials and must struggle to survive them. Some of the problems include his football team, his girlfriend, and the attempt to be popular. All in all, this book is a wonderful collaboration of an average teen's high school experience. Chris Crutcher grew up in Idaho, and particicpated in many sports including, distance running and swimming. This is mostly why he does such a great job writing about sports in his stories. Chris Crutcher has been given many awards but Running Loose in particular won the Best Books for Young Adult Readers award in 1983. One main point in this book is to work hard, and you will succeed. Louie Banks wanted to be on his high school football team so badly that he would do anything for it. Not only was he working full time and focusing on schoolwork, but he had trained everyday with his best friend Carter so that he would be ahead of everybody else once football tryouts came along. He didn't just make the team, but he earned the starting spot as wide reciever. This goes to show that if you want something so badly, then if you strive hard enough, you will achieve that goal. Another main point in the novel is to not let the happenings in life affect your happiness. In other words, if there are some dilemmas in your life, you can feel a bit sad, but dont dwell on them for a long time or let it get you down. Move on and use it as a motivator to do well. Louie had faced many problems throughout his high school life but he moved on in his life and continued to make himself a better person. In my opinion, this book entrigued me greatly. It incorporated all of the experiences within a teenage boy and that helped keep my interest throughout the book. I liked the humor throughout the book, it balanced itself out with the sad moments and made them easier to handle. The writing style is very easy to comprehend and provides little if no confusion. I was also easily able to imagine the setting. I defintitely recommend this book to any high school student who likes sports. This book would mostly attract guys because that is what the main character is, but the novel could also be interesting to girls.