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Boy21 Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Quick, Matthew
ISBN: 0316127965     ISBN-13: 9780316127967
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
    OUR PRICE: $9.89  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: June 2013
Annotation: Finley, an unnaturally quiet boy who is the only white player on his high school's varsity basketball team, lives in a dismal Pennsylvania town that is ruled by the Irish mob, and when his coach asks him to mentor a troubled African American student who has transferred there from an elite private school in California, he finds that they have a lot in common in spite of their apparent differences.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Emotional problems of teenagers; Juvenile fiction.
Irish Americans; Juvenile fiction.
Gangsters; Juvenile fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2010047995
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 5.25" W x 0.75" (0.55 lbs) 250 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 151132
Reading Level: 4.9   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 8.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q59531
Reading Level: 5.4   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 14.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall)
When Russ moves to Irish-mob-ruled Bellmont after his parents' murder, the school's basketball coach turns to team leader Finley to help him acclimate but also to convince former-phenom Russ to play ball again; since the tragedy he goes only by "Boy21" and insists he's from outer space. Authentic dialogue and deft character development ensure our emotional investment in these richly complex boys.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #3)
When Russ moves to decrepit, race-torn, Irish-mob-ruled Bellmont after his parents' brutal murder, the school's basketball coach (a family friend) turns to team leader Finley to help him acclimate, but also to convince former-phenom Russ to play ball again; since the tragedy he goes only by "Boy21" and insists he's from outer space. Despite inherent awkwardness, the two boys are immediately comfortable together: reserved, compassionate narrator Finley doesn't push Boy21 to be someone he's not ready to be, and a tender friendship develops. That basketball is only a cursory detail in their relationship becomes clearer when tragedy also strikes Finley's life and basketball "just doesn't seem so important anymore." Russ's alien alter ego gracefully, almost unnoticeably, dissolves as he sees his friend in similar anguish; his coping as Boy21 suddenly seems like a logical reaction to such disorienting pain. Fascination with the cosmos is a recurring theme, both as acknowledgment of our tininess within the enormous universe and as a soothing force of stability. Every aspect of this multilayered novel harmonizes: secondary characters such as Finley's girlfriend Erin and his handicapped grandfather are artfully likable; non-gratuitous threads of organized crime and violence add grittiness and are woven through the plot with finesse; excellently set-up twists display Quick's mastery of pacing; authentic dialogue and deft character development ensure both our emotional investment in these richly complex boys and also our empathizing with their main commonality -- feeling like "you're not the person on the outside that you are on the inside." katrina hedeen Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 January #3)

High school senior Finley has always hoped that his basketball skills will help him escape the dead-end streets of Bellmont, a racially divided town outside Philadelphia, where his future seems bleak. As the only white guy on his school's basketball team, Finley is acutely aware of the uneasy relationship between Bellmont's substantial Irish- and African-American populations. Then Finley's coach introduces him to Russ, a black teenager who, ever since his parents were murdered, has retreated into a strange internal world, claiming to be an extraterrestrial known as Boy21. As Finley and Boy21's friendship slowly strengthens, they help each other change and grow; both boys attempt to understand past tragedies in their lives, as well as a new one involving Finley's girlfriend, Erin, which further disrupts Finley's understanding of the world. As in Sorta Like a Rock Star, Quick comes perilously close to overstuffing his story with offbeat characters and brutal twists of fate. Yet his emotionally raw tale retains a delicate sense of hope and optimism, making it a real gut punch of a read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 March)

Gr 8 Up—High school senior Finley lives with his widowed father and disabled grandfather and dreams of escaping the violence, Irish mob, and racial conflicts of Bellmont, near Philadelphia. His passions are basketball and his girlfriend, Erin. The only white player on his team, Finley trains intensively for his final season as point guard. When Coach Wilkins tells him that Russell Allen, a sensational but troubled basketball player, is enrolling in his school, Finley is puzzled by the coach's insistence that he befriend Russ. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, the two boys gradually connect. As Russ begins to emerge from the emotional trauma of his parents' murder, Coach Wilkins is determined to have him play, costing Finley his starting position and #21 jersey. Then, Erin is the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Finley's world is upended, and this time Russ offers comfort. Mysteriously denied access to hospitalized Erin, Finley learns that she was a target of gang violence and has been safely "relocated." Throughout this page-turner, Finley's stoic, pensive, compassionate demeanor; Russ's intriguing obsession with outer space; the conflict between friends over basketball; and Erin and Finley's commitment to each other ring true. Coach Wilkins's manipulation of Finley and the team sports dilemma of merit vs. talent will spark discussion. Although Irish mob connections with Finley's family and Erin's brother are briefly mentioned, Erin's accident and the abrupt conclusion that sends her and Finley into hiding, under mob protection, are not well explained. Nonetheless, characters are memorable and well developed; dialogue is crisp and authentic; and issues of responsibility, fairness, and loyalty will engage readers.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts,

[Page 171]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.