Author: Matthew Quick
Published: March 5, 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
Praise for "Boy21"!!
It is by far the best contemporary book for boys that I have ever read!!
Imagine if you will someone like Bruce Wayne. His parents get murdered and he decides to become Batman to protect the greater good.
Now flip it and imagine that Bruce Wayne is still a boy, his parents are still murdered, but Bruce isn't Batman.... he just wants everyone to believe that he is. He's just an average kid that starts talking crazy.
That's how I took Russel.
His parents were murdered in California and he was sent to a group home for kids who sufferer traumatic events. This is where Russ became Boy 21. Boy 21 is from outer space. His parents sent him on a mission to study human emotions. Boy 21 believes that his parents will be back for him soon once he gets all the data collected for his mission.
In Philadelphia lives a boy named Finley. Finley is a senior, lives with his dad and grandpa, has a girlfriend, and loves basketball. Finley doesn't have a mother. She died when he was younger. Finely doesn't like to talk about it.
One day, Finley's basketball coach asks him for a favor. He wants him to meet the new boy who is starting school. He's a superstar at basketball but that's all he tells him. That is the day that Finley meets Boy 21.
Coach wants Finley to show him the ropes around school. Russel is used to going to a prep school while Finley's school is very much urban. Boy 21 on the other hand has never been to a human school. Coach forgot to mention that part.
This book is just freaking all around great! It's a story of hopes, diversity, and learning to overcome life's curve ball... or should I say.... Free Throw?
The characters are fabulous! They are definitely real boys! No talk about your feeling boys or boys who write music in the shower.... They are REAL!
While the main focus is Finley trying to get Boy 21 out of his shell there is also an underlining story line that involves the Irish Mob, racism, and being oppressed by where you live and who you are related to. Because of that... it makes this book even more enjoyable. It was refreshing to read about the real world's vampires and werewolves.
I do admit that there were some times when I felt that Finley acted a tad bit younger than his 17/18 year old character. But I think that might have been what the author was shooting for. If you ask any kid if they would like to read about someone younger or older than themselves, they will most likely request to read about someone older than themselves. My son always does. At times, I believe that Finley does act more like a 14 year old boy.... but like I said... that was brilliant for the author to do because I think this book is perfect for thirteen - fifteen year old boys.
But girls... fear not... this book is great for you to! I just really want to push the BOY CARD because they appear to be more sexist when they read. I am actually looking forward to suggesting to my son to read this book next.
This book never let me down. With short chapters I found it to be an easy and quite enjoyable read. The characters were real and the plot was very clever. I think anyone who reads this book will close the book with a big smile on their face.
Paranormal Wastelands would like to thank the folks at Little, Brown Books for supplying us with an arc of this fabulous book.