Customer Reviews for

Boy21

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Matthew Quick's prior novels focus on damaged characters that en

Matthew Quick's prior novels focus on damaged characters that end up relying on their network of friends and family to overcome emotional as well as practical problems. Be it his adult debut The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel (soon to be a major motion picture directe...
Matthew Quick's prior novels focus on damaged characters that end up relying on their network of friends and family to overcome emotional as well as practical problems. Be it his adult debut The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel (soon to be a major motion picture directed by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper) or his Young Adult debut Sorta Like a Rock Star, Quick crafts unique voices that carry readers through tribulations.

It is important to understand this -- despite what you may believe you prefer in a good book (plot, romance, drama, humor) none of it matters if the VOICE doesn't work. If the narrator irritates you or lies to you or withholds information without reason, you may become frustrated. If you understand what the narrator cares about -- even if they keep secrets -- you will be engaged.

In Boy21, Quick continues his tradition of troubled characters with strong voices. A self-professed 'minimal speaker' (he literally responds with nods and gestures early on, but does speak), main character Finley is harboring a tragedy that occurred before the first page of the novel. He loses himself in the rituals of basketball and his loving, true relationship with Erin. We know from page one what and who he cares about, and it's one of the prime rules of fiction: show the reader what the character cares about and the reader will care, too.

Set in the fictional town of Belmont -- a blue collar Philly suburb populated by Irish and African Americans -- Finley has no sense of the possibilities of the world. Basketball, family, Erin -- these are the things that matter. Or, simply the things that exist and do not wound.

Quick then introduces the brilliant, fascinating titular character: Boy21. The setup involves Finley being asked to mentor Boy21 as he transitions from a well-to-do lifestyle in California after a tragedy of his own, but doing so risks Finley's basketball season and his relationship with Erin. Because Boy21 believes something crazy. About outer space. I can't give more away without truly ruining some of the first few scenes of Boy21's appearance in the novel -- but it is hilarious and nearly surreal.

To be clear: this is not a sports book. It's easy to say but needs to be stressed since reading about sports can be a dull experience for non-sports fans. As with The Silver Linings Playbook (where football dominates the main character's mind but not the plot), basketball here is part of the landscape and experience of the characters. It's important to them, but Quick isn't forcing us to read about 4 periods of HS basketball. I admire Quick's ability to describe sports in a way that makes fans and non-fans understand the true importance of the activities. It's not about whether Finley scores a winning shot or succeeds in practice. It's about Finley's need for a ritual to ensure he does not crumble beneath the stress of life, his town, and his tragedy.

The other strength in this and Quick's other novels is the spikes of humor. While not a comedy, plenty of images and dialogue exchanges had me laughing out loud. Like this: HA ha! or ha HA! or HAHA! While you are not asked to laugh at the mental health issues the characters suffer from, you are reminded through the humor that even the troubled, tragic people in this world exist on a day-to-day level. They can be depressed but smile; they can be sad but make a joke.

If you're already a fan of Quick's work -- even if you've only read Silver Linings -- this novel will definitely satisfy you. Adult readers have nothing to fear as there's a complexity to the structure of the novel that makes the book rewarding beyond the story (I mention this for people who might think Quick writes a simpler type of fiction for YA readers -- he doesn't.)

If you're new to Quick, you cannot go wrong by starting with Boy21 -- there's humor and truth and love and conversations that have to be re-read to be appreciated. I suspect lots of readers will start here and happily jump to Silver Linings or Sorta Like a Rock Star. Huzzah!

posted by EvanRoskos on March 7, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I highly recommend this book!

This book is a great read for any young adult or adult with themes of teens dealing with death, high school difficulties, sports, love, poverty...

posted by 6158274 on April 4, 2012

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Matthew Quick's prior novels focus on damaged characters that en

    Matthew Quick's prior novels focus on damaged characters that end up relying on their network of friends and family to overcome emotional as well as practical problems. Be it his adult debut The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel (soon to be a major motion picture directed by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper) or his Young Adult debut Sorta Like a Rock Star, Quick crafts unique voices that carry readers through tribulations.

    It is important to understand this -- despite what you may believe you prefer in a good book (plot, romance, drama, humor) none of it matters if the VOICE doesn't work. If the narrator irritates you or lies to you or withholds information without reason, you may become frustrated. If you understand what the narrator cares about -- even if they keep secrets -- you will be engaged.

    In Boy21, Quick continues his tradition of troubled characters with strong voices. A self-professed 'minimal speaker' (he literally responds with nods and gestures early on, but does speak), main character Finley is harboring a tragedy that occurred before the first page of the novel. He loses himself in the rituals of basketball and his loving, true relationship with Erin. We know from page one what and who he cares about, and it's one of the prime rules of fiction: show the reader what the character cares about and the reader will care, too.

    Set in the fictional town of Belmont -- a blue collar Philly suburb populated by Irish and African Americans -- Finley has no sense of the possibilities of the world. Basketball, family, Erin -- these are the things that matter. Or, simply the things that exist and do not wound.

    Quick then introduces the brilliant, fascinating titular character: Boy21. The setup involves Finley being asked to mentor Boy21 as he transitions from a well-to-do lifestyle in California after a tragedy of his own, but doing so risks Finley's basketball season and his relationship with Erin. Because Boy21 believes something crazy. About outer space. I can't give more away without truly ruining some of the first few scenes of Boy21's appearance in the novel -- but it is hilarious and nearly surreal.

    To be clear: this is not a sports book. It's easy to say but needs to be stressed since reading about sports can be a dull experience for non-sports fans. As with The Silver Linings Playbook (where football dominates the main character's mind but not the plot), basketball here is part of the landscape and experience of the characters. It's important to them, but Quick isn't forcing us to read about 4 periods of HS basketball. I admire Quick's ability to describe sports in a way that makes fans and non-fans understand the true importance of the activities. It's not about whether Finley scores a winning shot or succeeds in practice. It's about Finley's need for a ritual to ensure he does not crumble beneath the stress of life, his town, and his tragedy.

    The other strength in this and Quick's other novels is the spikes of humor. While not a comedy, plenty of images and dialogue exchanges had me laughing out loud. Like this: HA ha! or ha HA! or HAHA! While you are not asked to laugh at the mental health issues the characters suffer from, you are reminded through the humor that even the troubled, tragic people in this world exist on a day-to-day level. They can be depressed but smile; they can be sad but make a joke.

    If you're already a fan of Quick's work -- even if you've only read Silver Linings -- this novel will definitely satisfy you. Adult readers have nothing to fear as there's a complexity to the structure of the novel that makes the book rewarding beyond the story (I mention this for people who might think Quick writes a simpler type of fiction for YA readers -- he doesn't.)

    If you're new to Quick, you cannot go wrong by starting with Boy21 -- there's humor and truth and love and conversations that have to be re-read to be appreciated. I suspect lots of readers will start here and happily jump to Silver Linings or Sorta Like a Rock Star. Huzzah!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Taking place on the rough, gang and mob run streets of Bellmon



    Taking place on the rough, gang and mob run streets of Bellmont, Pennsylvania, BOY21 centers around the reserved, dedicated Finley McManus. Finley's world is centered around basketball. His every waking moment is focused on working towards a future away from Bellmont, with his equally basketball driven girlfriend Erin. It's a future they're convinced only basketball will give them. When Russ Washington moves to Bellmont, Finley's coach forces him to befriend Russ. Russ' parents have been murdered, leading to his mental breakdown. He only answers to the name Boy21. When Finley realizes helping Russ may lead to the loss of what he holds most important, he discovers what his life is really worth living for.

    I don't even know where to begin with BOY21. The short answer would be: it blew me away. This book, so quiet and internally focused within Finley, doesn't offer big action sequences or fireworks. But the quiet desperation Finley experiences, the sheer resolve he exhibits in the face of his obstacles does what the huge, explosive moments in books often don't. They left me, as the reader, wide open, exposed. I felt so drawn in to Finley's experiences that there were moments I held my breath, waiting for his reaction, or tearing up, as he struggled to do what was right.

    BOY21 is largely about emotional trauma and its effect on the young psyche. Finley, who underwent a horrific experience as a child, deals with his through basketball, using the order of the routines to hold tight to control amongst the chaos. Russ is a basketball prodigy. After the death of his parents, though, he gives up basketball to become Boy 21, and believes himself to be an alien, awaiting his parents to return to Earth to take him away. He focuses on outer space; the stars, the galaxies, and uses that to maintain control over the remains of his life, and possibly keep others at a distance. Finley believes he will be the one to help Russ, if he can at all. Never realizing that Russ, although he appears to be a bit insane, may be helping him in turn.

    I believe there are certain books out there that if presented to the right person at the right time, have the ability to change lives. BOY21 could be that book for teen boys. Don't get me wrong. This book could and should be enjoyed by everyone, but there is something about it that makes me want to put a copy in the hands of every boy I know. Finley is an everyman. He could be the next young man who crosses your path. He doesn't have a special paranormal ability, nor is he the guy all the girls want. But he is a hard-working, loyal, respectful and caring person who always tries to do the right thing, no matter the cost to himself. Any young man can find a piece of themselves in his character. As a parent, I can't wait for the day I'm able to put this book in my son's hands. And that, is a gift.


    Favorite Quote ~

    "I think I know what's best for Russell.
    I think about what good friends do.
    I take off my number 21 practice jersey and toss it to Boy21." (pg.115)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    MORE!!!!

    This book was amazimgni really hope he rights a second book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    This book is kinda like an awesome, non-sucky version of KPax. I

    This book is kinda like an awesome, non-sucky version of KPax. I read this book a while back and forgot to write a review for it. Then I realized it was coming out soon (or now has) and HAD to bang out some positive press for it.

    I wasn't sure about this book when I first picked it up, it had a disconcerting cover and mentioned basketball. Yes, I know. I am the lamest lame in Lamesville for judging a book on those two things, but I read and loved it afterwards, so who cares now, eh?

    This book was SO MUCH MORE than I was expecting. It starts off with the utter intrigue of KPax-ian Boy21's history, and blends into more about the main character Finley's coming into and surviving his own less-than-perfect life. Together, they are forced to cope with their horrible pasts and deal with their futures. This book paints an incredibly gritty and realistic portrait of the world we live in. Oh, and there's the Irish mafia. Which is both cool and terrifying and should be present in more books.

    Now I am going to dedicate and entire paragraph to something I cannot expressly say. Why? Cause it's a giant spoiler. But there are so few times when something happens in a book and then there is THE PERFECT REACTION. One where the main character reacts exactly how you want them too, the other characters do exactly what you want them to do and it's so perfect and poetic and brilliant it's like it was divined by the gods. This book had that. Without saying anything, I was reading, said plot twist happened, then there was some much needed waiting and then... PERFECT MOMENT and I screamed `YES' like some kind of hyped up adrenaline junkie. *angels sing, trumpets sound* Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

    I wouldn't call this book a "hard contemporary" exactly, but I wouldn't call it light either. It's just very honest and blunt, but marvelous. Sadly, there is no sequel (no really, I'd LOVE a sequel for this), but I will certainly be checking out more of Matthew Quick's work. And on a very final note, if NONE OF THIS has convinced you, I will use this tidbit of information. Not only does Finley and his friends read Harry Potter, but there are several references and allusions to Harry Potter. Awesome.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    I highly recommend this book!

    This book is a great read for any young adult or adult with themes of teens dealing with death, high school difficulties, sports, love, poverty...

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Love it!

    Great story. Keeps your attention. Quick read! I want more!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    ANOTHER UNIVERSAL DUNK BROUGHT TO US BY MATTHEW QUICK!!!!!!!!



    ANOTHER UNIVERSAL DUNK BROUGHT TO US BY MATTHEW QUICK!!!!!!!!

    A gem of a book.
    Matthew Quick crosses, once again, ALL barriers of age, ethnicity, gander, economics, and "society".

    "Boy21" is a quantum treasure chest. Every chapter opens up yet another chest filled with gifts and gems....
    Pearls of Wisdom...Jades of Awareness...Shooting Stars of Joy...

    The story itself is amazing. In the grittiness of its "real" outer world, "Boy21" also gives us answers and even more questions with its open inner world.
    So much is said in few words....

    It leads to moments of opening ourself to our knowing and, also, to more than we know.

    Matthew Quick shares the world of young-adult with the universe...
    and All of us can relate to this world...
    those/these times of knowing and not knowing at the same time,
    of certainty and uncertainty in the same moment,
    and just taking the steps we do ?????

    this is....ANOTHER "Q" BOOK....FOR ALL of US to READ............

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    SO EXCITED!

    A huge fan of this author! The Silver Linings Playbook and Sorta Like a Rock Star were great and I am excited to get my hands on a copy of Boy21! Counting the days, Mr. Matthew Quick! YES!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    Wow

    Could someone please tell me why persons who have read the book come and tell you everything about the book!! Come on now people! Please Stop telling the story before I or anyone else gets the chance to read it., and I'm speaking for a lot of folks believe me! You nook wanna be writers need to take your free time to come up with your own book instead of given persons who HAVE NOT read the book time to enjoy the book... You story tellers really make it impossiable for persons like myself who wanna buy the book but won't because you have already given the plot away... Stop it damn!

    Devotion143

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    Bad

    Bad

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    An extraordinary read for all walks of life

    After his third novel, BOY21, Matthew Quick is 3 for 3. Like Q's other novels, BOY21 stretches the imagination to its limits without compromising the story's real-world validity. So many aspects of Boy21 left me in awe. I often found myself rereading a line over and over to soak it in. His writing style is unique and his narration incorporates just the right touch of stream of consciousness, allowing readers to feel as though they're actually living the story. Q appeals to all walks of life, and besides developing plots that are very pertinent to today's America, his stories resonate with universal and timeless truths.
    With its unique blend of themes, BOY21 depicts the reality of urban America and delves into the good, the bad, and the ugly, but leaves readers with hope and a special appreciation for the natural world around us. More importantly, Q illuminates complexities that provide key insights to interpersonal and group relationships, especially for young readers. Mental health, family, and friendship are a few particular areas that he explores with incredible honesty and creativity. Teens or adults, readers will be refreshed to learn that Q is passionate and writes with a purpose, and that they can expect Q to continue delivering exceptional work.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2014

    Repost

    Kiss your hand three times and repost three times then lift up your pillow

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    To bmw

    Yes. I got a laptop yesterday.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    To kayla

    Good what kind like apple?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 2, 2013

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