A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Boy21 in a gripping coming-of-age novel about love, friendship, madness, and basketball by Matthew Quirk, the author of Silver Linings Playbook, who adapts his interest in mental health issues for a YA audience. There's some violence, including a hit-and-run car accident, but it happens mostly off-scene. Finley makes a special point of never using profanity, even when provoked, but others around him occasionally use a smattering of swears, from "hell" to "f--king," pronounced with an "e," in the Irish manner. Some of the adult characters smoke, drink, and use drugs, but the teen characters do not.
What's the story?
Having grown up with an absent mother, an embittered father, and a disabled grandfather, Finley has held on to basketball and his devoted girlfriend as his lifelines through high school. When his coach asks him for a special favor -- to look after and befriend a formidable young basketball player who seems to have suffered a mental breakdown -- Finley reluctantly agrees. The new student calls himself "Boy21" and claims to be from another planet, and Finley works hard to protect him at their tough, racially divided school. But what will happen to Finley's basketball dreams if Boy21 takes his place on the team?
Is it any good?
Written with insight, empathy, and humor, BOY21 is a heartfelt coming-of-age novel. Finley's distinctive voice grabs the reader from the very start, and his story is filled suspense, hardship, grace, and love. Matthew Quirk, the author of Silver Linings Playbook, adapts his interest in mental health issues for a YA audience, and delivers a book that will captivate teen readers, even those not particularly interested in basketball. Boy21 is truly something special.
Talk to your kids about ...
Fanilies can talk about why excelling at sports is sometimes viewed as a ticket out of a difficult upbringing? What are the dangers of counting too heavily on athletics as a path toward success?
What other books have you read or movies have you seen that deal with serious issues in a sports setting? Why do you think authors, screenwriters, readers, and film audiences find that mix effective?
Do children sometimes bear the burden of their parents' offenses against a community? Is that fair?
- Author: Matthew Quick
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Sports and martial arts, Friendship, Great boy role models, High school, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: March 5, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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