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A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.

One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story

One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story - T. Glen Coughlin I’ve been really interested in reading One Shot Away after finding out that it was a story about wrestling. Even though I am a teenage girl I have done a bit of wrestling and while I didn’t exactly adore the training and repetitive movements that all aim at the pin—I did adore reading One Shot Away by author T. Glen Coughlin. It was a fun read that I got into almost instantly. Wrestling does sound like more of a boy sport and a novel that focuses on it should sound like a novel that is meant more for guys and manly men than female readers. Stop! Right there! I don’t care what gender you are, if you can get your hands on One Shot Away… you better get it.One Shot Away tells the story of three different high school seniors who are all on the same wrestling team at Molly Pitcher High School. Out of these three boys they all want the same thing: To be the best wrestler on the team, get the pin and get a scholarship a.k.a. a one way ticket out of their town. This wrestling season looks like the toughest one yet for main characters Diggy, Jimmy and Trevor. Diggy wants to keep his spot at the 152 weight class and wrestle his way to the top, but it looks like his teammate Trevor is threatening everything he’s ever worked for. Diggy is struggling to make weight, his complicated relationship with Jane “the Stain” is getting him trouble he doesn’t need and Trevor seems to be doing everything in his power to take his weight class. How is it that just one year was all it took to make Trevor the varsity wrestler he is this year?Jimmy is trying to keep the cops of off his back after his father digs them both into a never-ending hole. Now the police are hassling Jimmy about what really happened the night that he and his father were both driving away with stolen supplies. Jimmy’s girlfriend Roxanne is looking down on him over the whole situation and all he wants is to stay on the team, get his scholarship and leave before his situation gets messier than it already is. Then there’s Trevor a half Native-American boy whose father just died and whose mother seems to already be moving on. Wrestling was something that Trevor and his father used to bond over, but without his father Trevor is on his own and wants to use the varsity team to prove something to himself and to everybody in school that bugs him about his heritage. But with Diggy constantly bothering him and trying to bully Trevor out of the 152 weight class, Trevor’s finding that being on the team is harder than he anticipated.Then Diggy does the unthinkable and betrays Trevor—and the team – nobody believes that they can trust Diggy after what he did. Even Diggy knows that after what he’s done everything he has ever worked for could be down the drain. I definitely think that One Shot Away is a novel that I will always have a soft spot for in my heart. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how there should be more YA novels about combative sports and One Shot Away filled the spot in my mind that has been aching for a good novel about sports that I enjoy. Despite being about Wrestling, One Shot Away is also the story about the struggles that these three boys have to go through and the physical hardships that come with having to make weight and perform efficiently. There are also the mentality problems that come from overbearing coaches and people who expect you to be able to get out there and win like it’s no problem at all. Honestly I could write paragraphs among paragraphs about the three main characters in the novel, they’ve left me with so much to think about and enjoy.What I really enjoyed about the writing in this novel is how it’s in the third person and written in the present tense. Now, I don’t see that too often when I read, so it was very refreshing form the common third person, past tense scene. What makes the present tense so awesome for this novel is when it comes to the matches. It made every single scene feel so realistic and made the emotions and thoughts that the characters experience very believable. Every action describing takedown attempts, grips and techniques was seriously awesome. As somebody who knew what every word meant, I found it really easy to imagine the wrestling matches. To somebody who doesn’t know very much about wrestling, you may find it really hard to imagine, just a note.As the novel progressed there were a lot of moments where I would have to sit there wide-eyed. I mean honestly, from the start of the novel to the end things do spiral out of control for almost every character. They go through things that either make or break them and I do have to admit that by the time the novel concluded I sat there and felt a bit sad. After all the emotions that were conjured up inside of me, after finally getting to experience everything with the cast of characters, I couldn’t believe the novel’s ending. How final it felt, but also how nicely it summed up the entire novel. The more I think about it, I really did love this book.I’d recommend One Shot Away to fans of sports novels but mainly to readers who enjoy wrestling. Readers that are looking for a novel that will pull them in and never let go will probably love One Shot Away, definitely one of the best stories I’ve read this year. It’ll be hard for anybody and any novel to top One Shot Away after reading it.