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Vision Quest

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  214 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
From acclaimed author Terry Davis comes the cult classic, Vision Quest, which was called “the truest novel about growing up since The Catcher in the Rye” by New York Times bestselling author John Irving.

Louden Swain is a high school wrestler who is working hard to cut his weight down. All he wants is to win his weight division in the state championships
Published by Bantam Books (first published October 25th 1979)
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Jul 22, 2008 Vaughan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in a Catcher in the Rye coming of age story
Technically, this is a Young Adult novel, but I don't want to ghettoize one of the greatest books I"ve ever read (and re-read.) Was made into a movie back in 85 or 6 with Linda Fiorentino and Matthew Modine--Madonna's Crazy For You was on the soundtrack, but I digress. About a high school wrestler who gains weight in order to wrestle the best wrestler in the state. Apparently author Terry Davis was mentored by Chris Crutcher and this is definitely a case of the student eclipsing the teacher as i ...more
Jan 28, 2009 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terry Davis was one of my favorite writing teachers when I was in college. Our fiction writing class got to read this book on its way to publication. I fell in love with protagonist Louden Swain. This achingly honest, real coming-of-age story is well worth a read.
Brett Starr
Apr 21, 2010 Brett Starr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vision Quest" is one of the movies that all wrestlers covet, however I never even knew the book existed until recently.

The book isn't exactly like the movie, so if your like me and just finding the book after you've loved the movie for years, all I can tell you is, in the book, Louden never wrestles Shute and Shute's first name isn't Brian, its Gary??

Terry Davis is a great writer and this book is written very well. For a novel written about being a teenager and a high school wrestler, you'd be
Jun 07, 2008 AE rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally tracked down a copy of the book that inspired the movie I've watched like 58502855 billion times. I already liked the character Loudin Swain--hell I even named one of my characters after him--but I really fell in love with him through the book, which is much more nuanced than the movie. Matthew Modine was a great Loudin, because though his expressions and thoughts he was able to fill in the gaps the movie created. Still going back and really getting to know this character was definitel ...more
Michael Ladd
Sep 11, 2011 Michael Ladd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm calm as I enter the circle. Behind me trails a brief tradition. It's made up, but it's mine. Win or lose, the river flows again.

Shute and I cross and shake hands. The whistle blows. Through me flows the power to blast Grand Coulee Dam to smithereens.
Aug 03, 2008 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claudia by: Chris Crutcher
Terry Davis is the reason Chris Crutcher is a published author. This novel is sooo much better than the film. The ending is very courageous for a new author. My guys really have to ponder it...and pondering is a good thing!
Hezekiah James
Oct 16, 2007 Hezekiah James added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I recently found out (through this site) that one of my favorite high school movies came from this book. The book is really different, but mostly because of time and place.

I loved the pacing and the insight this book has.

It really reveals the best part of the male libido.

The second greatest story ever told.
Oct 30, 2016 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this will probably be one of the first books I give my son to read when he starts high school. A really steady book that avoids a lot of the tright pitfalls that books of this ilk often blunder into.
Mar 03, 2016 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vision Quest by Terry Davis, the coming of age novel, is a superb gem. I keep returning to it for repeated readings. I am rewarded with the gift of the protagonist, Louden Swain's unabashed candor and uproarious humor. I, as a reader, sense his aches, growing pains, and finite epiphanies. Louden, the wrestler, doggedly preparing to face the fiercest wrestling opponent in the state, by cutting weight while attempting to retain strength, is at the height of his youth. Yet Louden is grappling with ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Few YA novels provoke nostalgia in me the way Robert Cormier’s do–I’ve read and re-read Fade so many times. Recently, though, a friend recommended Vision Quest, a 1979 YA novel by Terry Davis. She had recently re-read it and was reminded of the compelling protagonist and the strong story line.

Louden Swain, an 18 year old wrestler who plans to graduate early, has to prepare for his match, write his senior thesis, and negotiate a reorganized family as his parents recently split. This story chronic
Oct 23, 2011 Robbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All, teens
Vision Quest is a unique coming of age novel that builds into a satisfactory, near perfect ending. It's about a 17- or 18-year-old (going on 40) high school senior whose spiritual voyage compels him to drop 2 weight classes in order to wrestle the only other kid in Washington state who might be better than him.

The most famous American novel of this tome is Catcher in the Rye. Unlike Mr. Salinger's book, however, our protagonist here is a more realistic, easier-to-relate-to person. He isn't an u
I absolutely adored this book when I read it in high school, so much so that it was one of the "books of my growing up" that I stored away in a trunk as I packed up my childhood after high school graduation. There is also a horrendous movie version, which I don't recommend.

I didn't love it as much this time through, but could see why I liked it at an earlier age. The book took place 20 years before my high school experience and the main character's life was so much freer than mine was. His paren
Benjamin Duffy
This book contravenes so many of my usual tastes in reading material that it's a wonder that I love it so much, but I do. It's written in present tense, which normally grates on me horribly. There's really next to no conflict to speak of, none of the build and release of dramatic tension that are the hallmarks of the typical novel's plot. It is a first-person account of three or four months in the life of a high school senior, as he goes to school, works as a bellhop at a hotel, and trains for a ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Aimee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults, young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2011 Robbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vision Quest
by Terry Davis
256 pages
Delacorte Books for Young Readers

James Louden cutting weight until his body can't handle it anymore. Unable to eat or drink much, he worries his peers around him. The goal for any high school wrestler is to win the state championship. For James he had one obastacle, he had to beat Shoot. Shoot was the best around, and James had cut 2 weight classes just to wrestle him. One helper on his way to this goal was his girlfriend Carla who he experiences his
Sep 18, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a big deal for me in high school. I had heard of the movie from my father and wrestlers from his era and naturally had to see it. I came to find that the movie was based on a book. Of course I immediately tracked down a copy and read it, then read it again... And then again. I passed it along to anyone who was interested after hearing me preach about it from my soap box. It wasn't simply my pride in and love for the sport that made me love it, it actually was perfect in almost ever ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Andrew rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2010 Merredith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-or-2-stars
This book wasn’t that good. Im not sure why I kept reading. I guess I wanted to see what would happen. The whole thing is about a high school senior boy who is basically starving himself so that he can get to the right weight in his wrestling, to wrestle this one guy. I wanted to see, will he die or something from being too anorexic? Will he win or lose the match? The ending is the stupidest ending ever. I cant say what the ending is. But upon coming to the ending I thought WOW. I just read the ...more
Phil Jensen
Sep 24, 2016 Phil Jensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If your biggest complaint about Vision Quest the movie is that it was only 107 minutes long, then you should go read this book. Terry Davis is credited as a writer on the film, and you can tell because entire scenes and dialogue made it in untouched. All the characters are a bit different, and the ending is less Hollywood, but in all it's a more faithful book-to-movie adaptation than I would've expected.

I'm not going to go into it with any detail. If you love the movie, read the book. If you've
Mark Stuller
May 28, 2013 Mark Stuller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exciting wrestling book as Louden Swain, climbs to victory. An 18 year old high school student, who has a dream. To beat the seemingly unbeatable "Kuch". This year he wants to be something more than just a high school student, so he sets his limits high. Beating Kuch is his "Vision Quest" this year. The book venture into Loudens blood, sweat, and tears as he trains for his match. This is an inspiring story, that keeps attention. This is a short read, but action packed. I would recommend it to ...more
Ms. Yingling
I can definitely understand why so many readers love this book about wrestling, but it is NOT middle grade appropriate. Aside from the language, there are far too many "health class issues" that arise. I'm also fairly sure that the portrayal of one friend who styles himself as a Native American is politically incorrect. Compelling and well-written, I don't know that this holds up across the decades as well as it could have.
Ann Caris
Dec 15, 2015 Ann Caris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long awaited read

I loved the movie based on this book from the first time I saw it in high school. To this day, I watch it if it comes on tv and love the soundtrack. I was excited to see it as a kindle suggestion, so I pre-ordered it. The book varies from the movie as expected, but it is well written. The ending, I loved and hated at the same time. I was sad that the book was over.
Jun 12, 2016 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great as a character study but very weak on plot, this offers plenty of insightful moments and is refreshing in its sexual explicitness...but it often bogs down in details and flashes back and forth between the present and past so much that it struggles to maintain any story momentum it generates. Still worth a read.
Aaron Hanlin
Mar 12, 2013 Aaron Hanlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book, not only about wrestling, but also about growing up. The book is about a high school wrestler fighting to stay healthy and to provide for his family. This book relates very well to wrestlers. I recommend this book to any wrestler and anyone wanting to read a book about how hard it can be to grow up.
Todd Wilson
Jul 16, 2014 Todd Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book multiple times, and own a first edition hardcover from 1979. I knew of the movie first, and found the book in my HS library. I've read it probably ten times. I love the book, and I've gotten to know Terry Davis a little bit through emails, he is a great guy and an awesome writer.
Actually I tried to read it but just couldn't get into it. I had bought this book years ago, after having seen the movie with Matthew Modine, and I'm sorry to say the movie was much better. Usually this is not the case.
Feb 12, 2011 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this as a punk long ago and it just took me by storm. In truth, I know I'd five star it back then, so I'm not sure why I knock one off here -- probably because it lands in the category of books I'd be afraid to reread for fear of saying, "Is that all there is?"
Mary Lynn
Apr 07, 2008 Mary Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great young adult novel about a high school wrestler. There was a movie made in the 80s based on this book. The book is a bit more introspective (and a little slow in places), but I recommend it for those who like YA and/or intelligent sports stories.
David Wilkie
Mar 24, 2012 David Wilkie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book of which my favorite movie is based on, which is about the sport I love. Wish I could have found a Carla when I was in High School!
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Terry Davis is an American novelist who lives near Spokane, Washington, and is a professor emeritus of English at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU Mankato), where he taught Creative writing – fiction and screenwriting – as well as adolescent literature. Davis, who has been a high school English teacher and a wrestling coach, is the author of three novels for young adults: Vision Quest (197 ...more
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