BOOKTALK// Boy21 by Matthew Quick

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Headline have done a BRILLIANT job with the UK edition of this book!

It’s never been easy for Finley, particularly at home. But two things keep him going: his place on the basketball team and his girlfriend, Erin – the light in even the darkest of his days.


Then Russ arrives. He answers only to Boy21, claims to be from outer space, and also has a past he wants to escape. He’s one of the best high school basketball players in the country and threatens to steal Finley’s starting position.

Against all the odds, Russ and Finley become friends. Russ could change everything for Finley, both for better and for worse. But sometimes the person you least expect can give you the courage to face what’s gone before …and work out where you’re going next.

This book was sent to me by Headline (via Bookbridgr) in exchange for a review. This does not influence my opinion whatsoever. All views are my own.

It is no secret that I am a fan of Matthew Quick. I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock last year and it appeared on my Top Books of 2013 because it was just so damn good. When Headline were offering the new release on Bookbridgr, I knew that I had to have it. When it arrived, I had just finished reading a different book and was at a loss as to what I should read next. It felt like a sign so I read it on my train back to my hometown and fell in love.

For such a short book, Quick manages to introduce several wonderful characters and make you fall in love with them almost instantly. It is a testament to his skill as a writer that he manages to achieve such strong and realistic elements of characterisation in such a short space of time. Finley, the character who you spend the most time with, makes sense. It seems like an odd thing to say but the decisions that he makes and the way that he reacts to particular things makes sense to me as a reader, adding to the realism of the story. It becomes even more real to me once you find out more of Finley’s back story.

The connection that Finley has with Russ is also incredibly heart-warming. It is two lost souls coming together as they try and find their way in the universe and it is beautiful.

“I wanted to do something nice for you,” Russ says, “So I brought you your own cosmos.”

That little line there was so standout and poignant that I couldn’t help but put it in here. I’m not sorry. Hopefully it will intrigue you enough to go out and buy the book.

The ending was the only thing I actually had a problem with. Learning more about the town and Finley’s back story was great but it felt a little farfetched for me. I was still connected with all of the characters and I still felt every bit of pain that hit Finley but I wasn’t sure if it was the right way for the story to go. That’s where it lost the 5th star for me.

While this book wasn’t as philosophical and poignant as Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, it was still a brilliant read. Quicks writing really hits you emotionally which is everything a good contemporary novel should do. I would highly recommend this to fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. It is YA fiction at its absolute finest.

HIVE//Waterstones

4 thoughts on “BOOKTALK// Boy21 by Matthew Quick

  1. Oooh hadn’t heard of this but have now requested it!

    1. TheGeorgeLester

      Ah! So good! Have a lot of love for Matthew Quick! 🙂

  2. I also love Matthew Quick’s books, they have so much hope in them. And I have to say that of the ones I’ve read, I liked Silver Linings the least. If you can, please also read Sorta Like a Rock Star, really really good!

    1. TheGeorgeLester

      Really?! I feel like that’s the one I should read the most! Haha! I must give Rock Star a go! I am fairly certain I’ll love it! 😉

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