Title: One Shot Away
Author: T. Glen Coughlin
Teen Reviewer: Tim Wood
One Shot Away, by T. Glen Coughlin, is a story of three seniors in New Jersey who wrestle for their high school. The captain of the team, Jimmy O'Shea, is looking to get a scholarship so that he can wrestle in college, but his father, who is forced to steal so that he can pay bills, takes Jimmy with him while stealing some lumber. Now Jimmy has to decide whether or not he should tell the cops while at the same time keeping together the wrestling team. Diggy Masters is trying to live up to his older brother's legacy, but is set back when he's beaten by a new wrestler, Trevor Crow. Diggy now needs to choose who will come first, himself or the team. Trevor Crow's dad just died, and he comes into the season with something to prove: that he can compete. Along with this, he needs to deal with his mother's choices for their lives and decide whether he will go along with it or not.
Though this book is a great read and has many positive sides, there were some things that I did not like about it. I thought that the Coughlin did a great job of combining the various conflicts together into a cohesive unit. He did it in a way that didn't make it too hard to understand, but it also wasn't at all predictable. Another thing that Coughlin does well is to use examples that really show the conflict between Diggy and Trevor. He shows the story and doesn't just tell it. Also, through these examples he reveals certain personality traits and qualities of each character. Coughlin makes the reader understand the motivations behind each character and what drives each character to make their decisions. One thing that I did not like about the story was that the only actual wrestling scenes came at the beginning of the book. There was action, but I assumed before reading that the book would include several different wrestling matches or tournaments. Also, the book almost felt incomplete. I don't think the book has much of a resolution. Many of the conflicts presented in the beginning of the book are not resolved, though a few are. Lastly, I did not like Coughlin's explicit language and vulgarity. Throughout the book there are many uses of inappropriate language or behavior. I did think it helped explain each character's situation and feelings, but I do not think it added a lot to the overall plot of the story. As a result, I would not recommend this book for younger readers. But I would recommend it to young adults who enjoy wrestling and to those who enjoy conflicts that deal with high school, and in some case college, social issues and difficulties.