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Quick, Matthew.
BOY 21
Boston : Little, Brown, 2012

(2 booktalks)

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Booktalk #1

Finley loves two things: basketball and his girlfriend, Erin. Now, here he is his senior year starting point guard for his basketball team. He has learned a lot from basketball, and one of the most important lessons is a good ball player always listens to his coach. So when Finley’s coach asks him to befriend a boy who just moved to the neighborhood, a previous basketball superstar, he does so with no questions asked. 

Finley learns that the new kid faced a traumatizing event and because of this he now refers to himself as Boy21 who has a mission to gather information about Earthling’s emotions to bring back to his home in the cosmos. Finley finds this all quite strange, but also understands Boy21’s reaction because Finley also faced a devastating event as a child which left Finley as a quiet boy who keeps to himself. 

As basketball season approaches, Finley and Boy21’s friendship is tested. Boy21 begins to feel more like his prior self, and Finley begins to realize that Boy21 could very well take his starting position from him and he may end up losing one of his true loves: basketball. (Shelley Mastalerz, Teen Services Librarian, King County Library System, Washington Evergreen Award, 2015)

Booktalk #2

Basketball is all Finley wants to do. Dribbling the ball, sinking the perfect shot, being a basketball star are what drive him. Living in the midst of drugs, violence, racism, and the Irish mob in his hometown, Finley feels good when he puts on his 21 jersey even though he is the only white guy on his high school team. Finley’s coach needs a favor, and Finley see this as his chance to more playing time and star status. The favor involves a new student, Russ, whose parents were violently murdered. Russ is moving from California where he was a basketball star himself (but no one knows this except the coach and Finley), heavily recruited by all the top teams. Russ, however, has retreated into a strange world of his own where he only answers to “Boy 21,” says he is an alien, and doesn’t want to play basketball. The coach wants Finley to get him back in the game, but helping “Boy 21,” might mean Finley losing his spot on the team.  (South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, 2015, Prepared by:Melanie Dillard, Paul M. Dorman High School,

SUBJECTS:     Emotional problems -- Fiction.
                        Irish Americans -- Fiction.
                        Gangsters -- Fiction.
                        High schools -- Fiction.
                        Violence -- Fiction.
                        Basketball -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.
                        African Americans -- Fiction.
                        Pennsylvania -- Fiction.

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