Synopsis

When Finlay’s basketball coach asks him for a favour, little does Finlay know that his whole world will be turned upside down by what lies ahead. Finlay has spent the summer in training to be the best basketball player on his team. He and his seasonal girlfriend, Erin, have worked hard pushing themselves to get the best results from their body. For them, basketball may be a way out of the town where they live; a town that is damaged through gang and drug crime.

However, when the coach asks Finlay to take new boy Russ under his wing, Finlay’s spot on the team becomes questionable. To make matters worse, Finlay has to protect Russ, the boy taking his position from the rest of the school. Russ, who is suffering from PTSD after the death of his parents likes to be referred to as Boy21 and believes his father is going to come from outer space and remove him from the planet Earth. This is a lot more than Finlay bargained for in hs final year of high school

Review

Having read all but one of Matthew Quick’s books (Sorta Like A Rockstar is on my TBR pile) I have to say that so far Boy21 has been my favourite. I loved the balance of real world problems with teen angst and drama. The linking to the cosmos and space made you see how small some of the problems actually were.

I think that Quick has a knack for finding a voice for contentious issues and displays them so well in his narratives. Finlay’s love of basketball versus the love he has for Erin; that Finlay wants to do right by Russ even though he knows that eventually it will cost him his spot on the basketball team.

Quick appeals to your emotional side, making you want to root for Finlay whilst seeing the bigger picture. He weaves a social setting which is fraught with drama yet does not seem unrealistic. He uses sports to show how it can help you, not only with your peer but by giving you something to focus on and root for. Quick has created a cast of characters and a story that leaves you thinking for a long time afterwards.

Boy21 by Matthew Quick is available now.

Boy21

the-wrong-knickersTitle: The Wrong Knickers – A Decade of Chaos

Author: Bryony Gordon

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Headline Review

The Blurb

Bryony Gordon survived her adolescence by dreaming about the life she’d have in her twenties: the perfect job; the lovely flat; the amazing boyfriend. The reality was something of a shock. Her Telegraphcolumn was a diary of her daily screw-ups; she lived in a series of squalid shoe boxes; and her most meaningful relationship of the entire decade was with a Marlboro Light.

Here in the Sunday Times bestselling THE WRONG KNICKERS Bryony busts open the glamorized myth of what it means to be a young (perpetually) single girl about London town, and shares the horrible and hilarious truth. The truth about picking up a colleague at the STI clinic; sinking into debt to fund a varied diet of wine, crisps and vodka; and how it feels when your dream man turns out to be a one night stand who hands you someone else’s knickers in the morning.

Bryony’s wonderfully ridiculous and ultimately redemptive story is essential reading for everyone whose ‘best years’ weren’t quite what they were expecting…

The Review

Margaret Mitchell has been quoted as saying that “life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.” And for Bryony Gordon this couldn’t be more apt; life hasn’t turned out the way she expected it to. She is in her twenties, her prime, the best years of her life and she is screwing it up royally. She is in debt, she is using drugs, she is drunk half the time (and hung over the other half) and you know what? She is having a bloody good time. The only problem is that she expected to be/have so much more by now. She hasn’t got her life together. She isn’t married; she doesn’t have the house and the 2.4 children or a comfortable amount of money in the bank and the years seem to be dwindling away as quickly as the bottles of wine she orders with her dinner.

For most, your twenties are for having fun, trying new things without the pressures of parents and education; with just the freedom of knowing you can do whatever it is you damn well want. This is a period of your life when essentially you are just a teenager with a credit card. And Bryony Gordon exemplifies that perfectly.

The Wrong Knickers is chock full of tales of sexual misadventure, recreational drug use and a total disregard for matters of health. As Gordon invites you into her twenties with unadulterated candour you feel like you are having a conversation with her and that she is confiding in you as only a close friend does. You become charmed by Gordon and her story becomes all the more relevant for two reasons. The first being because it is a true account of her life; secondly because it is far too easy to relate to the things she has done mainly because you have done half of them yourself.

As memoirs go, The Wrong Knickers has to be one of my favourites. I laughed out loud many a time and quite alarmingly recognised myself in Gordon at too many junctures in the book. What Gordon manages to do, in her own self-effacing way, is make the reader feel normal; whether that reader is currently in their twenties and feeling completely lost or if they are older and have managed to get past that feeling of utter hopelessness. Maybe they are reading from a standpoint of having their life together and are fondly looking back on all the mistakes and mishaps they made to get them there. Essentially what this book does is it allows us to realise that mistakes are a part of life, a part of our own story and every one of them has lead us to where we are today. For that, I thank you Bryony Gordon.

Follow Bryony Gordon (@bryony_gordon) on Twitter.

For more titles from Headline Review (@headlinepg) please visit the official website www.headline.co.uk.

4 Stars