Title: Boy 21
Author: Matthew Quick
Release Date: March 2012
Published By: Little, Brown
Goodreads Rating: 4.25 stars
Review: Finley's only escape is basketball amid the racially charged tensions of his town, even though his nickname is "White Rabbit" as the sole white member of the team. Still, he holds hope that his girlfriend Erin and his magic jersey number - 21 - will save him. Then Russ, a former basketball phenomenon whose life was turned upside down by tragedy, moves to town and will only respond to the name "Boy21" and has an unusual obsession with outer space. Soon it seems that Boy21 may be the only answer for both of them.
I have read another novel, Sorta Like A Rock Star, by the same author in the past and greatly enjoyed it, so it was with high expectations that I approached this book. And just as I had hoped, I ended up really liking BOY 21, though I didn't find it as good as the former. Just as I have grown to expect from Matthew Quick, the story is told with the somewhat quirky and offbeat tone that has made readers everywhere love his previous novel and will make them love this one.
Of course, a story as charged as this one would be terribly amiss if there wasn't a hefty element of emotion involved, and there certainly was. This was an endearing novel that melted my heart at points as I read about the unlikely but close friendship forged between these two contrasting boys, separated by far more than just their racial differences - and brought together in spite of it. It takes a certain grace to write a book like this one about damaged teenagers healing, but if anyone could pull it off, it's Matthew Quick.
If there's one thing I could change about this novel, it's the development of certain other aspects of the storyline. There were several on-going plot threads but not all of them were expanded to the extent they could have been, and instead the book ended, leaving me wanting to know more. This book could have been so much more satisfying if the author had gone more in-depth with these facets.
All in all, BOY 21 was an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoyed Matthew Quick's first novel. From an endearing story with an emotional cast of characters to a unique voice and tone, this is a book that can touch anyone's heart. The ending did not leave me as satisfied as I had hoped, but this is still a very solid novel that will win over many readers.