Boy21 – Matthew Quick

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Sports, Romance, Death, Friendship, Crime


Never in a million years would I have seen that coming. Ever. I knew my reading of this book would be different, because while there are other YA Fiction authors who explore the themes Matthew Quick does, such as family death, loneliness or even crime, he explores them in such a unique way that I can’t help but be captivated… and befuddled.

And yet, wow. It’s not even the ending that took my breath away; it’s the beginning and middle too. It’s really hard, I think, to be bored by this book. It might be slow, and the main protagonist might be quiet, but there’s something about it that makes you feel like you’re reading something special and that if you put it down and forget about it, you’ll be missing on a potentially one-time-only experience.

The story is narrated by Finley, a quiet high school basketball player with a long-time best friend and girlfriend—Erin—who is a kickass B-ball player as well. Finley’s everyday life is altered by the new kid in town—Russ—who refers to himself as Boy21, an alien who is visiting Earth to learn about emotions. Finley must show Russ around and help him get through his family tragedy. The problem is that Russ is a basketball God and if he feels well enough to play again, he’ll steal Finley’s spot on the team for sure.

Matthew Quick kept me guessing. I wish some things were handled differently, but the way the author handled them was realistic and fair, too. Life isn’t fair, but Matthew Quick tried to be fair to his protagonists. I respect that.


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