by Matthew Quick
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 always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.
Russ has just moved to the neighborhood, and the life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he won't pick up a basketball, but answers only to the name Boy21--taken from his former jersey number.
As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need. (Description from Amazon.com)
This is a book that I never would have picked up without prompting. It's got a sort-of unappealing cover, it's about basketball and boys that live in a not-so-nice neighborhood. Not my normal type of book. Am I glad, however, that I was forced to pick this one up? YES!
I sat down to read this and I won't lie, I was pretty much figuring I'd hate it. Instead I found myself totally absorbed, unable to put the book down until long after my regular bedtime, even as my eyes were fighting me, wanting to close. There is something about the tone of this book that hits it just right. The story is powerful and haunting and absolutely, heartbreakingly believable. I finished this book and immediately started recommending it the next day....to think I thought I'd hate it, LOL!
Yes, there is violence, and yes, it's definitely a book for more mature YA/Adult readers, but I don't think there's a person out there who wouldn't find something in this book relatable or compelling once they started it. Please ignore the cover. Please trust me. This is an excellent book and I am most definitely awarding it a GOLD STAR.
Full Disclosure: Borrowed from my library