YA Guy Lit: Reality Bites – Boy 21

I thought we would start off this theme of guy lit with a more traditional selection within the popular genre of realistic fiction. Many feel that sports are a natural focus for most of guy lit, and there really are many great YA books with different sports taking the spotlight to prove this point. It was common for older YA guy lit selections to only offer these books though, which made them fall out of fashion in recent years due to the idea of being ‘over done.’


Cut to Matthew Quick’s Boy 21. It was only released in 2012 and shows just how much the sports-based genre for realistic fiction still has to give. The story follows the teen boy named Finley who uses basketball as his escape from a very troubled life where he must take care of his disabled grandfather due to his father working nights. He lives in a very run-down town called Bellmont where Irish gangs rule and there is plenty of drugs, violence, and race rivalries. Wearing his number 21 basketball jersey is really the only thing that makes him happy, and he hopes that it might one day help him get free of Bellmont to a better life.


Finley himself is a great character to follow. His voice truly stands out and helps to create a very interesting story. The book itself is a easy and smooth read combined with the interesting social story. Therefore, it is a great pick for reluctant readers. It is still great for those wanting a good tale with plenty of basketball and sports references yet the ability to stir up suspense and intense emotions.



Bring It to Life (BITL)!


Basketball fun. Woot!


Play basketball with friends on a real court, a drive way court, or even a simple toy ball and hoop at home. You can also arrange for a basketball watching marathon with the help of ESPN and sports snacks like popcorn, chips, and cheese with crackers.


2 thoughts on “YA Guy Lit: Reality Bites – Boy 21

  1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like the blog! EEEEK!

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