One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story by T. Glen Coughlin, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story

One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story

4.3 6
by T. Glen Coughlin

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They're all just one shot away

It's senior year and the last season for Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor on the Molly Pitcher High School varsity wrestling team. And they all want the same thing: to win.

But Diggy's got to compete with his older brother's legacy, and now he's in danger of losing his spot to the newcomer, Trevor. Not to mention he's got girl


They're all just one shot away

It's senior year and the last season for Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor on the Molly Pitcher High School varsity wrestling team. And they all want the same thing: to win.

But Diggy's got to compete with his older brother's legacy, and now he's in danger of losing his spot to the newcomer, Trevor. Not to mention he's got girl problems. Jimmy's got the cops on his tail and a girlfriend who looks down on him. Then Diggy does the unthinkable—he betrays a teammate. Can the team forgive him? And can he forgive himself?

With the pressure building and loyalties splintering, Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor have got one shot to make weight and get onto the mat. Because pinning your opponent is about more than just winning.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—New Jersey high school seniors Trevor, Jimmy, and Diggy are troubled teammates on the varsity wrestling team. Trevor is dealing with his father's death in a car accident and his mother's new relationship with their landlord. Team captain Jimmy is tormented by guilt after reluctantly helping his father steal lumber from a construction site. Diggy rebels against his father's relentless physical and verbal abuse about his weight, performance, and his older brother's wrestling stardom. Trevor defeats Diggy in a weight-class challenge, bumping him to a heavier class. Infuriated, the teen breaks team rules and seeks revenge by stealing Trevor's beloved dog. Jimmy joins Trevor in his search for the pet, which leads to a brutal, almost fatal, confrontation. This story unfolds in alternating chapters from each boy's perspective. Although wrestling is the connection, motivator, and potential scholarship source for the protagonists, their tumultuous personal lives, parental conflicts, and insecure relationships with girlfriends overshadow the few sports moments. Adult role models are practically nonexistent. This somber tale includes vivid adolescent characters, intense confrontations, gritty dialogue, sexual encounters, and life after high school angst.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC
VOYA - Matthew Weaver
Three wrestlers want to pull themselves up out of crummy existences to become champions. Trevor's father died, so he and his mother have moved into the motel she manages at the behest of her boss. Jimmy wants to be a PE teacher, but he is balancing a pretty girlfriend with medical aspirations with a shady father who drags him along on a lumber theft, and now the cops are sniffing around. Diggy cheats at wrestling in a bid to live up to his older brother's past success and is looking at his first real romance with team manager, Jane the Stain, so called because of the birthmark on her face and a tainted reputation. Trevor and Diggy are vying for the same weight class. As each guy works through his issues with his father, girls, and his teammates, Coughlin straddles the line between gritty and sobering, allowing very little sun (or heart) to shine onto the wrestling mat. It mostly works because of the competitive environment, but there are very few root-able characters. Coughlin goes out of his way to show them in as harsh a light as possible. He is most enamored of Diggy, who appears to be unlikable on purpose, a tragic hero, a cautionary tale, but it does not make for a pleasant experience. Wrestlers might eat up the story, while the rest of us get close enough to smell the sweat and get the blood splatter, but find it is not really a place we want to be. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Three high school wrestlers enter their senior year vying for a winning record that will allow them to get out of their town and move on with their lives. Jimmy O'Shea is trying to escape his father's illegal business deals before it is known that he was forced into taking part. Protecting his father and his mother proves to be more difficult than the wrestling moves on the mat. Trevor Crow's father has died in a car accident and his mother is now dating a new man. Trevor is holding onto his father's memory by reliving his father's wrestling career. As a Native American, Trevor is also searching for his own identity amidst the jokes and jeers of high school classmates. The lead jokester is Diggy Masters, the younger brother of Molly Pitcher High School Wall of Champions wrestler, Nick. Their father pushes him to join his brother on the Wall, but it looks like Trevor is going to be standing in his way. After the initial wrestling bout for weight class ends up in stitches for Diggy, he swears that Trevor will pay and begins a series of events that almost kills his teammate. This is a gritty novel, with language and violence, broken dreams and ill-advised desires. The sub plot of boys and their fathers is also not a gentle one, but then, wrestling does not favor the timid. There is a fine line between aggression and destruction and this novel demonstrates what happens when the two are confused. For high school readers only. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
Three wrestlers in their senior year and last season are desperate to leave their unhappy lives behind as they compete with each other and themselves in this gritty story. Trevor is haunted by his father, who died the year before, and angry at his mother, who moves them into the seedy motel she manages for a friend. Jimmy aspires to become a teacher and coach, but he's saddled with an abusive, alcoholic father who steals building supplies. Overwhelmed by pressure to live up to his older brother's past success, Diggy cheats at wrestling. The three also work through complicated relationships with girlfriends. Trevor and Diggy vie for the same weight class, and Trevor's displacement of Diggy prompts a betrayal that threatens to destroy the team. The characters have equal measures of positive and negative attributes, but none are likable. Coughlin's passion for and knowledge of wrestling is apparent in this fast-paced, vivid narrative that is often compelling but never light. This novel will inevitably appeal to boys, especially fans of stories in which sports figures prominently. A compelling story, but a dark, heavy and humorless one without much hope. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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File size:
506 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

T. Glen Coughlin is the acclaimed author of two novels, The Hero of New York and Steady Eddie, as well as a number of short stories. An avid wrestling enthusiast, Glen began attending matches and tournaments in 2002 when his son started wrestling as a high school freshman. He still actively follows high school and college wrestling. He was raised in New York and currently lives in New Jersey with his family.

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