Reviews From a Young Reader’s Perspective: Boy21

by Matthew Quick

Boy21 is a young adult novel written by author Matthew Quick. It takes place in Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries and centers around the main character, Finley. The only thing that helps Finley to survive in this town is basketball and his girlfriend, Erin. Finley’s dream is for him and Erin to leave Bellmont and live a better life someplace else.

Before the school year starts Finley’s basketball coach asks him for a favor. He wants Finley to become Russ’s friend. Russ is one of the top recruits for basketball in the country. He is seventeen and already has the body of a professional player. But ever since Russ’s parents were murdered he stopped playing basketball and has been going by the name Boy21. He now believes that he is an alien from space and that his parents will pick him up in a rocket. Soon Finley and Boy21 become friends and Finley realizes why his coach thought that them becoming friends would help the both of them.


This is a fiction book. The sub genre is realistic fiction.

Main Character(s):

Finley, Boy 21, Erin, Coach, Pops, and Dad.

Favorite Character:

My favorite character is Erin because though she is an excellent basketball player, her bravery when dealing with challenges far exceeds her basketball skill.


The pace of the book changes from slow to fast occasionally.

Favorite Part:

My favorite part of the book was when Finley and Boy21 went star gazing and they both talked about what happened to their families. I felt happy because both of them hadn’t told anyone else about their past and it felt like they were moving into a better place.

My Recommendation:

I would recommend this book to kids who enjoy either playing or reading about basketball or enjoy reading books about space.


Photo credit Davene Turner Photography

Mahogany Young is a fun loving 7th grader that enjoys math, reading, D.I.Y. projects, and ice skating with her friends. Mahogany has a strong passion for reading and takes pride in reading over 20 books a year. The enjoyment she receives from reading comes from the sense of adventure each book provides as well as imagining the stories in her head. Mahogany aspires to be either an educator or an engineer; her proudest moment is being a member of the first team to win a robotics tournament at her elementary school.

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