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3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,797 Ratings  ·  1,066 Reviews
Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in gray, broken Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish Mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, he takes care of his disabled grandfather, and at school he’s called “White Rabbit”, the only white kid on the varsity basketball team. He’s always dreamed of getting out somehow with his girlfriend, Er ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published March 5th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 14, 2012 Tatiana rated it liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kirkus
Shelves: ya, ala-ya-2013, 2012
As seen on The Readventurer

There is not nearly enough YA books about friendships. For some strange reason, romantic relationships are promoted as more important. While I agree that at some point in life you do meet that special person who becomes your partner in everything, up until that point it is friends that help you out, support you, accompany you through life.

Friendship, the healing, supporting, non-judgmental type of friendship, is what Boy21 is about. Or is supposed to be about.

I love th
What a peculiar book. I'm not saying it was necessarily too offbeat but it was different in a way I didn't expect it to be. In a good way. In an excellent way actually.

Finley is heading into his senior year. Things look good for the most part. As good as things can be with living in Belmont--a town run by the Irish mob. He's been training all summer with his girlfriend Erin for basketball season. They both are on basketball teams. Erin is a star on the girls’ team and is pinning her hopes on ge
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*

Q, is for Quick

1.5 Stars

You can lose yourself in repetition – quiet your thoughts; I learned the value of this at a very young age.

Boy21 is my second Matthew Quick novel, and as far as comparability goes I have to say that I liked Silver Linings Playbook much more than this one.

I mentioned in a recent review (The Knife of Never Letting Go, I believe) that there is a timeframe within a story where a telegraphed secret has to be shared – a writer can either win me over or lose me entirely based
Jan 14, 2015 MLE rated it it was ok
Shelves: yad
Going into this book I thought it was going to be a story about friendship, and how that changes each boy's life, but I was very disappointed. It felt like the friendship was never given the chance to develop, and was almost an afterthought, and not the central theme of the story like the synopsis seemed to suggest.

I liked Finley, and I felt for his struggles, and his work ethic. I liked that not being a star basketball player didn’t keep Finley from working harder than the anyone else on the te
May 01, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laura by: Cara
4.5 Stars

“You don’t always get to pick the role you’re going to play in life, but it’s good to play whatever role you got the best way you can.”

Fate and its fun little twists can bring people together. When we need a push or hand, life seems to provide inspiration or help in one form or another. I believe with all my heart that we bump into and find people in this world when we need them the most. No matter how far we have to go—through time, land, space, or high school. In Matthew Quick’s Boy 2
Mar 31, 2015 Cari rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5 Stars

My Opinion Of This Book: Absolutely stunning book!

I wasn't really expecting much from this book since the blurb sounded pretty strange, but my goodness did this book blow my mind! Everything about this book was fabulous.

Finley: Finley is our main character. Instantly, there was this connected - and when I say 'instantly', I mean from like chapter 1. I honestly feel like me and Finley are one and the same (except I'm a gi
May 09, 2012 Noelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Finley's entire life is basketball and he trains tirelessly even though he's nowhere near the best player on the team. As his dad says, effort can outwork talent. Basketball consumes his every waking thought and he wouldn't have it any other way. Without basketball and the team he'd have too much time to remember all of the things he's desperate to forget. Russ is new to town, a basketball phenom who's love of the game died with his parents. Now he's calling himself Boy21, saying he's an alien l ...more
May 10, 2013 Ami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review said EVERYTHING I wanted to say.

While I mostly thought it was a good concept of friendship, as well as personal conflict of love and basketball, alas, I was disappointed to feel that the conflict (and the idea) never really fully developed. The friendship was overshadowed. I never really got to see Finley and Russ connecting over basketball. Plus the Irish mob plot was a bit too much for me to completely enjoyed this book. Too many things at once. I am sure I will be happier if the
I think I have some sort of crying disorder. Seriously. The characters in this book have their tragedies and vulnerable emotional moments, both big and small, and it's all very authentic, but c'mon.

Next thing I know, I will be crying at heartwarming television commercials.

Oh wait, that's already happened. I need to read something funny, like NOW.

Real review later. This will be a good one for reluctant teen readers who want something both unusual and serious that doesn't talk down to them.

[I edi
Sarah (YA Love)
**I just finished reading this again as a read aloud. I love this book. 10/17/12**

Review originally posted at Y.A. Love

Plain and simple, Boy21 is a GREAT book. I was on the search for a quality read aloud for my freshmen English classes, so I picked up Boy21 on a whim. I wanted to read it anyway, but I kept thinking about my 3rd hour freshmen class that’s primarily boys who don’t enjoy reading. Boy21 seemed like the perfect fit for them, so I went with my hunch and started reading it. As soon as
Jan 23, 2016 Irshad rated it liked it
Honestly the only reason why I picked up another Matthew Quick novel was because of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
It was one of my favourites back in 2015 and the brilliance of that book made me pick up another book by the same author. Thankfully I was not disappointed. I mean yeah this novel isn't as amazing as the other but still, it was good.

Boy21 follows Finely, an 18 year old boy who plays basketball and his jersey number is 21. He has a girlfriend named Erin who also plays basketball and th
Michael Tham
Feb 14, 2016 Michael Tham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book has been very thorough, its extremely detailed and only because of Matthew Quick's craft. I absolutely love it! He manages to make one verb/noun/adjective a real stand out in that particular moment, and I love that because its quick(no pun intended), filled with thought and deep with emotion. Another thing I also loved is that I could really relate to this book, since i indeed do play basketball and know all about the game. It really gave me an arousing feeling and made the book a whole ...more
Ella Fitzgerald-I'm beginning to see the light

WOW! This book was not what I expected it to be at all. I didn't expect to sympathize or connect to this book, because I felt like it would be JUST about basketball (Sport ,in general, are not my forte). Boy, was I wrong. This book has probably been the book I've connected to the most.

Why is it that some people are born into fantastic situations and others wait their whole lives for a break?

Friends and characters like Finley rarely exist in real li
Cait (Paper Fury)
I really loved Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, so HECK YEAH, I was up for another of his books. Boy21 was freakishly different and didn't connect with me I don't do the sport thing. Why do people always fight over a ball? SHARE IT, FOOLS. Didn't you learn that in preschool?

This is me with anything to do with sport:
Yeah. No.

As long as you like basketball, this book should be awesome for you, because the writing is GREAT. Matthew Quick is the master of writ
Apr 07, 2013 Cay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
5 stars

What made me pick Boy21 up? I've been trying to come up with the answer for about an hour now, but it's just not something I can explain, not in objective terms. It was like my spider sense was tingling or something. I only knew that this book would be something different, in a good way. I hadn't read anything by Matthew Quick before, or even heard of him. Yet everything about this book called to me. The title, the cover, the blurb - everything.

When I started the book, other than it's g
Mar 02, 2013 Owen rated it it was ok
(2/1/13) My school’s book club chose this book because the author is coming to be a speaker at the annual writing conference. It was chosen I guess so we can ask him questions about it at the conference. I also have to write a small review for the school newspaper so I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do that…

Here’s the thing. I don’t like basketball. I don’t like playing it, watching it; I think it’s pretty boring. But it is a huge deal at my school. The basketball team is doing really well (s
Aug 22, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult
Wow. Oh. Wow.

I did not know what to expect from this book. The cover didn't really appeal to me, but the gal at the Little Brown booth at IRA 2011 told me I HAD TO read it.

Wow. Oh. Wow.

She was right. This is a gorgeous book. A strange, wonderful, heartbreaking book. I read this in less than a day, I couldn't put it down. Once you start reading about Finley, and Erin, and Russ (who might be from space) you will not be able to stop.

This book comes out in March 2012, according to the back of the Ad
Erin Cataldi
Dec 26, 2013 Erin Cataldi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
I didn't even read the description, I saw it was written by Mathew Quick and I started reading. Two hours later I was crying in a bathtub and screaming at my cat. This book is intense. I was quite literally hooked from the very first sentence. I started reading it at dinner and I couldn't put it down, so naturally I took it in the tub with me to continue. An hour later I was crying in freezing cold water and yelling at the kitten to shut up and stop headbutting the door. It was so good I couldn' ...more
Mar 12, 2014 Jenn rated it really liked it
I loved "The Silver Linings Playbook" film (I've seen it several times now) and wanted to read the book, but since my sister gave me this to read, I started my Matthew Quick intro with this. And I'm glad I did! The protagonist and narrator, Finley, is intriguing: terse to the point of non-verbal, because of trauma that is only hinted at and never completely revealed in graphic detail (thank goodness!) is a lovely person with which to navigate the extremely impoverished and violent world somewher ...more
Om Manghani
Oct 13, 2015 Om Manghani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grade-8
One of my favorite novels so far this year- Boy 21 really did relate to me in many ways.

Overall, I enjoyed seeing "Boy 21" develop as a person. At the start, he was trying to fit in, but as the tides turned, he ended up coaching the main character through a very tough time. It was almost as if the two characters swapped roles, and the author just changed the names at the end. This definitely made the book very interesting.

If you love basketball, or sports in general, this is amazing. Not only
Heidi Branch
May 18, 2016 Heidi Branch rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It's both gritty and almost sweet or childishly innocent at times. Don't let the cover or title fool you; it's realistic fiction all the way. A little off the beaten path, but as the third book by Matthew Quick I've read, it's the norm! Highly recommend.
Paula Guinto
Thank you, Matthew Quick, for writing this novel. You gave a quiet boy a voice, young love a simple but powerful image and built a beautiful story around friendship, suffering, healing and recovery. Your language was accessible but your ability to hold on to that one piece of information at just the right time meant effective storytelling. Thank you. My students will want to pick this one up once I book-talk it in class. I already know of one reluctant reader who couldn't put your pages and Finl ...more
Oct 13, 2015 RababAlkhalas rated it really liked it
I was not accept much from this book. I was not excited about it because I thought it's just about basketball, and I don't care about it. However, when I started to read boy21, the story was becoming more and more exiting. Also I think the cover looks cool. It is just plain and simple.

what I like about this book is, taking my mind way and not paying attention to the time or feeling bored. Once I started to read about Finley, and Erin, and Russ, who are the main characters, I was not able to sto
Jun 16, 2016 Avery rated it liked it
Shelves: book-outlet

My third Matthew Quick novel and, I have to say, the other two I read, that were more adult(Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now) were more interesting.

What I did like was that I was able, to an extent, relate to Finley: quiet, tries hard to please other people, even if it means destroying himself--which most tend to judge as having a weak backbone and will easily manipulate. But he's also passionate. Also, Russ(el)/Boy21, reminds me of one of my close buddies, especially i
Jun 13, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Boy21 is my school's Freshman summer reading book so I decided to pick up a copy. Can I just say that I'm jealous my students have this book, and a lot of other great choices for their summer reading?

I found Boy21 engaging from the get-go, the opening flashback was well done because it focuses so much on the emotions of the character. Something I notice is that even though Finley isn't one to use lots of feelings words, there is still so much emotion present in his narration. As a reader we kno
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
Jul 31, 2014 Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk) rated it it was amazing
It's really hard to write something that intense about this story as the story itself - it's sad but yet full of hope, full of belief that a better life is possible, that miracles might really happen. Maybe not as spectacular as in the movies or books, however little miracles of everyday life, something to be really thankful for. Simply beautiful.
Emily Bradley-dorman
"Whenever I think the world is ugly - that life has no meaning at all - I remind myself that this is here, always waiting for me."

I think that even if I combed through every word in the English language I wouldn't be able to find the right ones to describe just how amazing this book is. It's Epic with a capital E! The story itself is relatively simple and yet it's characters are complex and the writing effortless. Boy21 drags you into its pages from the very first sentence and doesn't let you
Kelly Hager
Mar 06, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
Finley's whole world is basketball. He lives in a poor town with his father and grandfather (who's in a wheelchair; taking care of him is one of Finley's main responsibilities). He loves his family but really, he just wants to get out of Bellmont with his girlfriend, Erin. And basketball is the way out for both of them (Erin is also really good). And then his coach gives him an assignment: there's going to be a new student, Russ. His parents were murdered, and he's currently going through a hard ...more
Nov 10, 2013 April rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe that I’ve read three Matthew Quick books in ONE year. That seems like kind of an indulgence for me. You see, typically I might read one, MAYBE two books by an author within a year but never three. Yet, I could not resist Quick’s books. He’s got this writing style that just speaks to me. I feel like his books are short but each sentence, each phrase gives me an old one-two jab straight in the feelings. Boy21 by Matthew Quick had me feeling apprehensive at first, until I remembere ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Rane rated it liked it
I received a signed copy of this book through the goodreads First-read program.

Boy21 is a coming of age story about a boy, Finley, who has a deep passion for basketball, without much talent. He develops an unexpected friendship with another boy, Russ aka "Boy21," who has a lot of talent, but little interest in the sport. The two are very similar and, at the same time, very different within their similarities.

The relationship between these two is interesting, but I felt it could have been explor
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Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Matthew lives with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
More about Matthew Quick...

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“Someday an opportunity will come. Think about Harry Potter. His life is terrible, but then a letter arrives, he gets on a train, and everything is different for him afterward. Better. Magical."
"That's just a story."
"So are we- we're stories too.”
“I can always look up at the cosmos and marvel, no matter what happens. And when I look up at it, I feel as though my problems are small. I don't know why, but it always makes me feel better.” 19 likes
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