Boy 21 – Matthew Quick

Finley’s family has been beaten down by the Irish mob of Philadelphia.  He sees basketball as his way to a better life.  Basketball is his focus and his coach is respected.  One day Finley’s coach comes to their home and asks a favor.  Coach’s longtime friends have been murdered and their basketball superstar son is having a difficult time dealing with the loss.  Coach asks Finley to be the boy’s friend when he transfers to their school.  Finley and Russ, who now goes by the name Boy 21 and claims to be from outer space, have a quiet friendship.  It is a friendship that survives the competition for the starting position on the team. The reader gets a hint at the dedication it takes to be a star athelete.

The story is so much more than sports fiction!  It is a fast read.  Finley has suffered loss but the reader does not know exactly what that loss is until late in the book.  He has the most amazing basketball star girlfriend who compliments Finley’s quiet manner so completely.  We get a glimpse into the workings of the Irish mob and the tough life in the neighborhood and a family’s sacrifice for their son’s better life. Stellar!  Highly recommend.

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