Monday, May 7, 2012


Boy21 by Matthew Quick, March 5, 2012. 250 pages. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Source: Publisher for review.
Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights and Finley is left alone to take care of his disabled grandfather. He's always dreamed of somehow getting out, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.

Russ has just moved to the neighborhood. The life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he won't pick up a basketball, and yet answers only to the name Boy21—taken from his former jersey number.

As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, "Boy21" may turn out to be the answer they both need. Matthew Quick, the acclaimed author of Sorta Like a Rock Star, brings readers a moving novel about hope, recovery, and redemption.
First  Sentence:
Sometimes I pretend that shooting hoops in my backyard is my earliest memory.
Boy21 ended up being one book that I cannot say enough good things about. Which is strange since I usually find books told from the male POV to be very hit-and-miss (mainly do to language). I'm just going to say this now, read Boy21...

Where on earth to begin...While I like books where sports play a big role, I was little nervous about Boy21 because I knew that the book was going to have some racial tension, the mob, drugs and I wasn't sure how the author was going to handle the various elements. That being said, I thought the author did an excellent job on keeping perspective on the characters and what they were going through (both Finley and Russ are dealing with the deaths of family) while still keeping that edge of darkness that could sweep them away.

What really make this one great read would have to be that even though there's a lot of bad in the way things work in Bellmont, there's also a lot of good when you really delve deep into the story. I also liked that main focus of the book was indeed about hope, recovery and redemption (as it says in the synopsis).
While I may not have liked a few of the characters, okay, mainly the coach who only really cared about winning and not about Russ' mental health. I thought that the characters were pretty well balanced in regards to the they played in the book. I also that it was fascinting (in a weird way) the similarities between Finley and Russ and basketball.

Finley was definitely a different type of character for me, and that may be the reason I enjoyed his story so much. I thought he made an interesting character because he was not the most confident person and it took nearly loosing the girl he loved for him and fight for what he wanted. Plus it was interesting to see how much he and his life changed from the beginning to the end of the book. His story is one that you do not want to miss out on.
Russ is a hard character to write about because what I want to say is spoiler filled. While he may have acted a little on the odd side, I thought it was an interesting/different way to portray a character. Although, I am glad to say that I was right with the whole Boy21 thing. Even though at first Russ was an extremely sad character to read about, I liked how he tried to keep from stealing Finley's spot on the team.
So, what did I love the most about Boy21, well, that would have to be Mr. Quick's writing and his ability to weave a story from the very beginning and would not let me what would happen to Finley, Erin and Russ. I also thought that he did a great job capturing the feeling of struggle that those of Bellmont dealt with or ignored on a daily basis.
Even with the violence that is present in Boy21, from the Irish Mob to gangs, there's not a thing that have to complain about in this book because the author, Matthew Quick, does such an excellent job of blending it into the story without bogging it down and losing focus on what the book is really about.    
Final Verdict: Boy21, beautifully harsh, with an ending that will leave you completely satisfied.

Boy21 earns 4.5 out of 5 pineapples.


  1. I loved Boy21. I can't believe how much I loved it. Thebstorybwas so simply heartbreaking. I can't believe how real Quick made the characters and their surroundings. I'm glad you loved it, too.
    Nice review!

    1. I know! I thought it sounded interesting, but I did not think I was going to love it as much as I did. Quick definitely did an excellent job on the whole book.


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