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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  9,359 ratings  ·  1,713 reviews
You can lose yourself in repetition--quiet your thoughts; I learned the value of this at a very young age.

Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights, and Finley is left to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He's al
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Adam Tam The book is about an 18 year old boy by the name of Finley. He and his girlfriend play basketball for the team. Everything is going well when a new bo…moreThe book is about an 18 year old boy by the name of Finley. He and his girlfriend play basketball for the team. Everything is going well when a new boy by code name Boy21 goes to the school, and that changes everything because Boy21 plays basketball, and he will have to compete with Finley.

TL;DR: There's romance as well as sports competition in the book (less)
Hunter Could be real you don't know.…moreCould be real you don't know.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,359 ratings  ·  1,713 reviews

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May 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kirkus
Shelves: 2012, ya
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
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Great! I read this in just one sitting!
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is now my second favorite Matthew Quick book behind Silver Linings Playbook. The last one of his I read was so weird (The Good Luck of Right Now) that I don't even remember what it was about. This one had a great story and an interesting message. If you have just finished a monotonous read and need a quick pick me up (only 5 hours unabridged audio), this is worth giving a try.

It has some light-heartedness. I has some despair. It has comedy. It has tragedy.

Side note: I finished this
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
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

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 bas
May 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Cara
Shelves: silence
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
Chris Horsefield
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
After reading Matthew Quick's amazing novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock earlier this year I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the author's latest release in the UK, now aimed at a younger audience.

After being so impressed by the first book I read from Quick, I admit I had incredibly high expectations for this one and because of this it was hard to give it a fair shot - as it simply wasn't quite as good as Leonard Peacock. Don't get me wrong, this was still an excellent piece of writ
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 06, 2013 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
Miranda Reads
Meh. It had potential. but didn't live up.

Review to come.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
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
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
1.75 ✰

The main plot was nice, but the end felt really random. It was a whole different story and didn't make any sence.
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
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
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(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
Michael Tham
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Okay, so I think this is my second book by this author? I'm honestly not sure because I'm way too lazy to look it up. Either way, I enjoyed Boy 21. It was like each page and chapter just became even more interesting and weird at the same time.

Everything about Boy 21, aka Russ, intrigued me. He moves to a new town and school district where he ends up meeting Finley. They both play basketball together and have a pretty unique friendship. Even though it started off on the wrong foot, meaning their
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
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. ...more
Dave Schaafsma
My first Quick book, and it turned out far differently than I thought it would. The main character is Finley, Irish, a Philadelphia high school senior, rough neighborhood, who lives with his Dad and (legless) Grandpa. Who knows where Mom went. Finley doesn't really talk a lot, but he plays basketball and has a girlfriend he likes to make out with constantly. He's the one white kid on his black bball team.

One day his (black) coach asks (white) Finley to help him successfully help welcome a new k
Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars

I have no idea what happened to this book.

This book started off so incredibly. I loved the characters and their stories and complicated histories. But around the 60% point it started to move in a weird direction and the plots that had been built in the first half were wrapped up in sentence and cast aside. And the ending? It was so unrealistic and a tad ridiculous.

This novel had so much potential and it crashed in the second half. And that makes me really sad, because I'
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Will Ejzak
This book was unexpectedly sweet and endearing. I'm so used to YA protagonists being brash and clever and cheeky that it was refreshing to have a narrator who is...well, not very introspective, sort of quiet and reserved and simple. The downside is that Finley's averageness also makes him boring. He sees the world in very basic terms. So: not always the most riveting reading experience, but refreshing anyway.

It's a short book, but it still doesn't quite have enough ideas to fill its pages. There
Erica Brown
3.5 stars

I liked it for the most part, but I hated the ending for some reason.
Erin Cataldi
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: got-2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this story about a somewhat unlikely friendship between two boys who have some common interests but are from different sides of the track.

Boy 21 is actually Russ who moves to Bellmont and into the school district that Finley lives in and both are basketball players. Finley also has a unique nickname: White Rabbit because he's the only white boy on the basketball team. Coach of the team tells White Rabbit to basically oversee Boy 21 and make sure he makes his practices for b
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film; THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW; LOVE MAY FAIL; THE REASON YOU’RE ALIVE; and four young adult novels: SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR; BOY21; FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK; and EVERY EXQUISITE THING. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, received a PEN/Hemingway ...more

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