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Review: Boy 21

August 30, 2014

Boy 21

Finley lives in a rough neighborhood with his father and grandfather.  His saving graces are basketball and his girlfriend Erin.  Erin’s the one with real basketball skills and the two of them have plans for those skills to get them out of Bellmont.  Still, Finley wants to have a great senior season so he and Erin work hard over the summer.

When Boy 21 moves to town, Coach asks Finley to take him under his wing.  Boy 21 has been traumatized and Coach wants Finley to help him out.  The problem is, Boy 21 is a basketball powerhouse who could end up with Finley’s position if he encourages him to play.

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick is hard to describe – it’s a coming of age story that takes on a lot of issues.  Issues like mental health, race relations, love, violence, and loyalty.   It might sound like there’s a lot going on in this book, and there is, but it works so well.  I loved this book!

Told from the point of view of Finley, a self proclaimed “minimal speaker,” the story is tight and fast paced.  I adored Finley from the start and was curious about his story.  When his past is finally revealed, my heart broke for him.  Erin is a great character as well – she’s strong and kind and doesn’t need a boyfriend to have an identity.

I don’t want to say too much more for fear of spoiling things.  Don’t be put off by the basketball background – this isn’t a book about sports.  It’s about a character who happens to play a sport and it made me laugh and cry.

The audio version of Boy 21 is narrated by Ben Lukens and he does an amazing job!  He was absolutely perfect for this book.  I was hooked from the very start and was sad when the book ended.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2014 6:40 am

    I really liked this too. I think if another author had tackled this subject, I wouldn’t have liked it nearly as much. Matthew Quick writes with so much humor and heart!

  2. August 30, 2014 9:39 am

    This looks like a good one. And I do really like a book where a female protagonist doesn’t need a man/boy to thrive. I just had that with Queen Sugar (Natalie Baszile) and Looking for Me (Beth Hoffman) before that.

  3. August 30, 2014 10:19 am

    Great review! Love that cover and when you said it was excellent on audio I was sold! 🙂

  4. Patty permalink
    August 30, 2014 10:42 am

    You have made this sound like a must read!

  5. August 30, 2014 2:57 pm

    great review. I think I was hooked when I read the name Finley!

  6. August 30, 2014 3:34 pm

    This sounds great, Kathy! Your enthusiasm really comes across.

  7. August 30, 2014 5:33 pm

    Aww I loved the audio of Boy21 too. Matthew Quick is the best.Your review makes me want to read it again!

  8. August 30, 2014 9:55 pm

    I agree, don’t miss this book, it is wonderful!

  9. August 31, 2014 5:24 am

    Hm, I do not think it’s the book for me

  10. August 31, 2014 10:17 am

    Oh, I want to read this one now! Actually I think I want to listen to it. I’m linking this one to LISTEN UP! Audiobook reviews for August on my blog.

  11. sandynawrot permalink
    August 31, 2014 10:41 am

    I’ve heard so many incredible things about this author. I really need to give him a try!

  12. August 31, 2014 7:22 pm

    This book has been on my tbr list for years now! You make it sound like a such a winner. I need to read it soon. Great review!

  13. September 2, 2014 12:11 pm

    sounds like a good read that works well as audio!

  14. bookingmama permalink
    September 3, 2014 9:15 am

    I read this one and unfortunately forgot to review it. Loved it as well!!!

  15. Jennifer permalink
    September 6, 2014 3:23 pm

    Wow. This sounds like a really powerful book!

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