Friday, August 3

Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg

The star quarterback of his high school, Bobby Framingham would appear to have his future set. Except Bobby has a secret - he's gay.

Excluding retirees, there are no openly gay athletes in popular sports. Knowing this, can Bobby hope to have a successful career as a gay footballer?

The solution would seem to be to keep his mouth shut and play on...but omitting the truth feels like a lie and it's throwing Bobby off his game. Can Bobby step up to the play when he's forced out of the pocket?

I read this book in one stretch, turning the final page at 3am.

What makes 'Out of the Pocket' such a good read is the characters. Coming out stories are important but mishandled they can be tedious to read. Konigsberg didn't disappoint.

Bobby isn't ashamed of his sexuality but he is awkward and has his insecurities. He has a tendency to over-think things, making him relatable and sympathetic.

The characters in the book are not clean-cut in their actions or - just as importantly - their reactions. I liked that I never knew what people were going to say or how they might behave. It was true to life and the unexpectancy was refreshing.

If I had to pick a favourite character in the book - though they were all wonderfully developed - it's Carrie. She is such a hoot. I loved the dynamic between her and Bobby. She had an excellent sense of humour and the dialogue between them flowed nicely without lacking interest.

I won't lie and say that I pretend to understand American football or that this opened my eyes to the splendor of the game. From what I observe, the players run around in helmets and heavy padding, with the ball in their hands the whole time. Still, I liked the way Bobby processed his thoughts in ways that were parallel to the way he'd approach a game play. It was far more realistic and interesting to see a teenage boy hone his feelings through something he was so passionate about.

'Out of the Pocket' went from laugh-out-loud to chest tightening moments, without seeming disjointed or forced. A beautifully crafted novel.
In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Dutton Juvenile and is used solely as an aide to the review.

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