Goodreads Summary: "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."
I am not a sports person. I don't play sports, I'm simply not coordinated or athletic enough. I don't watch sports, I tend to get bored really easily. So when I saw that this book revolved around basketball I assumed that it wasn't going to be one for me. But I had gone through something similar with a book that my Adolescent Literature professor had made us read, The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane, which is a book about a girl who decides she wants to play baseball. So I decided to put my assumptions aside and give the book the old college try.
I am so glad that I did.
It didn't take long at all for me to fall into the rhythm of the story, I found myself drawn to these people almost immediately. I wanted to know more about these characters, these oh so very quirky characters. I felt for them. I wanted them to be happy. I wanted to know what made them tick, what made them the way that they were. I wanted to know their history, their present and have an idea of what their futures may hold for them. For me, this is the sign of an amazing book. These characters were real to me.
There was so much history to the book, and I'm not talking about the kind that you learn from those gargantuan textbooks but rather the kind that forms the baggage these characters carry around. You know from the beginning that there is a story there. You know that something happened, something big. You're just never sure what. Hints are dropped throughout the book, you get hunches or hypothesis' but it isn't until the end when things are finally cleared up. Somewhat. Because after all, some secrets were meant to be kept.
Boy 21 tugged at my heartstrings, it brought back painful memories, and in some ways helped me to look at them through a new lens. I'm giving Boy 21 by Matthew Quick a five out of five stars review. This has been one of those books that truly touched my heart and I will be passing it around to all of my loved ones, Boy 21 is without a doubt a must-read.