Mundie Moms

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story by T. Glen Coughlin

By: T. Glen Coughlin
Published by: Harper Teen
Released on: October 2nd, 2012
Source: book to review from publisher for blog tour
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

It’s senior year and the last season for Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor on the Molly Pitcher High School varsity wrestling team. And they all want the same thing: to win.

But Diggy’s got to compete with his older brother’s legacy, and now he’s in danger of losing his spot to newcomer Trevor. Jimmy’s got the cops after him, and a girlfriend who looks down on him. Then Diggy does the unthinkable—he betrays a teammate. Can the team forgive him? And can he forgive himself?

Experience the pressure with Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor as the stakes rise and loyalties splinter. They’ve got just one shot to make weight and get onto the mat. But pinning your opponent is about more than just winning

Being a big sports fan, I love seeing sports themed YA books. I think there needs to be more. T. Glen Coughlin's One Shot Away isn't a book I'd normally find myself picking up, even though I just said I love sports. Reading a story about 3 different senior guys who all wrestle didn't sound appealing at first, but there was something about this story that made me want to read it. What a great story it was. T. Glen Coughlin wrote a fabulous contemporary for guys! Each of his unique characters, and the over all storyline was engaging, realistic, and hard to put down.

There's something to be said about a well written sport story. No I didn't wrestle, but one of my brothers did and I had friends who did in high school, so I at least understood the wrestling part of this story. But, this story isn't just about wrestling. It was far more than just three different guys all trying to content for a spot on the varsity squad. T. Glen Coughlin introduces readers to three not so perfect characters who are doing the best they can given the situations they are in. Well, I can say two of them are, and one of them takes a bit of a darker turner than the rest of them. One of the things I liked about this story is how relatable these guys are. They're not perfect, but flawed, well written characters who connect with their reader on some level.

 I liked how this story is told from three different points of views, Trevor, Jimmy, and Diggy. Each character's voice is distinct. They each come from different back grounds, and each teen is dealing with something different, yet all three have a common ground in wrestling. I liked that this story wasn't a sugar coated story. The struggles the teens are dealing with are very realistic. Trevor Crowe, the underdog no one saw coming has the most to prove. He has struggled in the past with being made fun because of his mixed heritage embraces his Native American heritage, learns to move on from his father's death, and the new changes his mother's new job brings them. Jimmy, the wrestling star is dealing with his father's mistakes and trying to stay afloat while his father's criminal activity is catching up to him and his family. Then there's Diggy, who is struggling to live in the shadow of his brother's wrestling records, an abusive father, and trying to make a name for himself, but in the process makes some stupid choices that cost him more than he thought.

It wasn't hard for me to cheer on some of these characters. Though I will say I was a bit shocked over the stupidity and bad decision that cost one of the characters. While I didn't relate to what each of the teens where dealing with, I did relate to that stage in life they're in, where they're on the verge of freedom from school, trying to figure out what to make of their life after graduation, trying to make the best of the situation they're in, and figuring out where they stand in the world. Aside from Trevor, Jimmy and Diggy, is a great cast of supporting characters who all play a huge role in their lives. From their parents to their friends, their wrestling Coach and team mates.

 Coughlin's writing was fantastic. He doesn't shy away from the struggles teen athletes deal with, and the drama and hardships that come along with playing a team sport. He delivers a great YA book with three different, yet strong male voices that guys will enjoyed reading. This story felt like I was reading a documentary on three wrestling team mates, their lives, and how they got to where they did (at the end of the story). Over all, I think this is a book readers will enjoy. It's a gritty, realistic portrayed story, and one I think guy readers will enjoy.

Don't miss my One Shot Away blog tour post with T. Glen Coughlin & giveaway here.


  1. I'm not familiar with this author, but I will check him out. It's a great way to get some kids who never read to become readers. I also love sports-themed YA and am a big fan of Chris Crutcher for that reason. Thanks for the review.

  2. I'm always up for a good sports story. I'm glad to hear that this isn't entirely focused on the sports, that it also takes the time to develop the characters as well. I'm def going to check out this book. Thanks for the review!

    Kris @Imaginary Reads