Release Date: March 5, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown
Author Info: Website | Twitter
Buy the Book: Amazon | IndieBound
Add It: Goodreads | Shelfari
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.This book is kinda like an awesome, non-sucky version of KPax. I read this book a while back and forgot to write a review for it. Then I realized it was coming out soon (or now has) and HAD to bang out some positive press for it.
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.
So before I officially had my #10pagetrials, I still had a pile of books that I have, but are still suspect for some reason or other. This book had a disconcerting cover and mentioned basketball. Yes, I know. I am the lamest lame in Lamesville for judging a book on those two things, but I read and loved it afterwards, so who cares now, eh?
This book was SO MUCH MORE than I was expecting. It starts off with the utter intrigue of KPax-ian Boy21’s history, and blends into more about the main character Finley’s coming into and surviving his own less-than-perfect life. Together, they are forced to cope with their horrible pasts and deal with their futures. This book paints an incredibly gritty and realistic portrait of the world we live in. Oh, and there’s the Irish mafia. Which is both cool and terrifying and should be present in more books.
Now I am going to dedicate and entire paragraph to something I cannot expressly say. Why? Cause it’s a giant spoiler. But there are so few times when something happens in a book and then there is THE PERFECT REACTION. One where the main character reacts exactly how you want them too, the other characters do exactly what you want them to do and it’s so perfect and poetic and brilliant it’s like it was divined by the gods. This book had that. Without saying anything, I was reading, said plot twist happened, then there was some much needed waiting and then... PERFECT MOMENT and I screamed ‘YES’ like some kind of hyped up adrenaline junkie. *angels sing, trumpets sound* Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.
I wouldn’t call this book a “hard contemporary” exactly, but I wouldn’t call it light either. It’s just very honest and blunt, but marvelous. Sadly, there is no sequel (no really, I’d LOVE a sequel for this), but I will certainly be checking out more of Matthew Quick’s work. And on a very final note, if NONE OF THIS has convinced you, I will use this tidbit of information. Not only does Finley and his friends read Harry Potter, but there are several references and allusions to Harry Potter. Awesome.