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Boy21
Cover of Boy21
Boy21
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From Matthew Quick, the author of The Silver-Linings Playbook, comes a powerful young adult novel about basketball, outer-space and friendship.


You can lose yourself in repetition--quiet your thoughts; I learned the value of this at a very young age.

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 to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He's always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.


Russ has just moved to the neighborhood, and 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, but answers only to the name Boy21--taken from his former jersey number.


As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need. span

From Matthew Quick, the author of The Silver-Linings Playbook, comes a powerful young adult novel about basketball, outer-space and friendship.


You can lose yourself in repetition--quiet your thoughts; I learned the value of this at a very young age.

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 to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He's always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.


Russ has just moved to the neighborhood, and 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, but answers only to the name Boy21--taken from his former jersey number.


As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need. span

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.9
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and three young adult novels, Sorta Like a Rock Star, Boy21, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Little, Brown & Co.). His work has received many honors--including a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention--been translated into many languages, and called "beautiful...first-rate" by The New York Times Book Review. The Weinstein Company and David O. Russell have adapted The Silver Linings Playbook into a film starring Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. Matthew lives in Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Alicia Bessette. His website is www.matthewquickwriter.com.

Reviews-
  • DOGO Books roygbv - Boy 21 by:Matthew Quick Have you a ever wondered what it is like to live in a neighborhood full of drug dealers, being one of the many white kids in the community. Well the kid in a book called Boy 21 by Matthew Quick, lives this life. Although all of these problems might be distracting, this boy named Finley, keeps himself away from all of these problems by playing his favorite sport, basketball. This is a great book because as I read on, the story was getting better and better. In this book, Finley is a high schooler that plays on the basketball varsity team and he has a girlfriend named Erin who also plays basketball. Finley lives in a neighborhood ruled by drugs, violence, and Irish mobs. His nickname is "White Rabbit" because he is, well white and he eats a lot of carrots. Everything was normal until Finley's coach tells him to help a new kid named Russ, who came to this school after a family tragedy and use to be a basketball star. Now Russ is called "Boy21". Finley has to help Russ even if it means giving up some things. Later on in the book, the two boys realize that Russ coming to the school was a good thing. I really enjoyed reading this book but in the beginning of the book, it was a little inappropriate but other than that, the book was great. I mostly loved when the author makes you infer what will happen next in this book. I'd say that this book is a real page turner because the author kept pulling the reader in about every other page. Mathew Quick is a 42 year old man who is most known for writing a bestselling book called "The Silver Linings Playbook". I believe that this book is kind of unique in its own way. I don't think that any other book was like this one. And the kind of people who would like to read this book are people who like a little bit of drama and sports and the age group for this book would be 13 and up.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 16, 2012
    High school senior Finley has always hoped that his basketball skills will help him escape the dead-end streets of Bellmont, a racially divided town outside Philadelphia, where his future seems bleak. As the only white guy on his school’s basketball team, Finley is acutely aware of the uneasy relationship between Bellmont’s substantial Irish- and African-American populations. Then Finley’s coach introduces him to Russ, a black teenager who, ever since his parents were murdered, has retreated into a strange internal world, claiming to be an extraterrestrial known as Boy21. As Finley and Boy21’s friendship slowly strengthens, they help each other change and grow; both boys attempt to understand past tragedies in their lives, as well as a new one involving Finley’s girlfriend, Erin, which further disrupts Finley’s understanding of the world. As in Sorta Like a Rock Star, Quick comes perilously close to overstuffing his story with offbeat characters and brutal twists of fate. Yet his emotionally raw tale retains a delicate sense of hope and optimism, making it a real gut punch of a read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from February 1, 2012
    In a town partially controlled by the Irish mob, a quiet friendship develops between two basketball players. Finley doesn't say much, and his basketball teammates fondly call him White Rabbit, both for his quiet demeanor and for being the only white player on his high school team. He is surprised but willing when his coach introduces him to Russ Washington and asks Finley to look after him. Russ, a nationally recognized athlete, is experiencing post-traumatic stress after the murder of his parents. While there are hints that something in Finley's own past makes this assignment particularly relevant, Finley quietly but firmly refuses to discuss his own history with other characters or with readers. Instead, they see the friendship among the two boys and Finley's girlfriend, Erin, gently unfold and the mysteries surrounding Russ deepen. Does Russ want to play basketball or not? Does he really believe he is an alien called Boy21? The answers here are satisfying but never simple, and the setting, a working-class town where asking too many questions can have deadly consequences, is a bleak, haunting foil to the boys' comfortable silence. Family relationships are well-drawn, and foreshadowing is effective without being predictable. A story that, like Finley, expresses a lot in relatively few words. (Fiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2012

    Gr 8 Up-High school senior Finley lives with his widowed father and disabled grandfather and dreams of escaping the violence, Irish mob, and racial conflicts of Bellmont, near Philadelphia. His passions are basketball and his girlfriend, Erin. The only white player on his team, Finley trains intensively for his final season as point guard. When Coach Wilkins tells him that Russell Allen, a sensational but troubled basketball player, is enrolling in his school, Finley is puzzled by the coach's insistence that he befriend Russ. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, the two boys gradually connect. As Russ begins to emerge from the emotional trauma of his parents' murder, Coach Wilkins is determined to have him play, costing Finley his starting position and #21 jersey. Then, Erin is the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Finley's world is upended, and this time Russ offers comfort. Mysteriously denied access to hospitalized Erin, Finley learns that she was a target of gang violence and has been safely "relocated." Throughout this page-turner, Finley's stoic, pensive, compassionate demeanor; Russ's intriguing obsession with outer space; the conflict between friends over basketball; and Erin and Finley's commitment to each other ring true. Coach Wilkins's manipulation of Finley and the team sports dilemma of merit vs. talent will spark discussion. Although Irish mob connections with Finley's family and Erin's brother are briefly mentioned, Erin's accident and the abrupt conclusion that sends her and Finley into hiding, under mob protection, are not well explained. Nonetheless, characters are memorable and well developed; dialogue is crisp and authentic; and issues of responsibility, fairness, and loyalty will engage readers.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts,

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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