BOOK TOUR REVIEW, INTERVIEW, & GIVEAWAY: One Shot Away by T. Glen Coughlin
One Shot Away
by T. Glen Coughlin
YA Contemporary/Sports Fiction
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.
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This was a wrestling book that didn’t actually contain much wrestling. For that, I am kind of glad, because for someone like me who doesn’t know a thing about the sport, the book was still easy to follow.
The novel is told in alternating chapters of three senior wrestlers: Diggy, Trevor, and Jimmy. Diggy’s dad never lets up and never believes he will live up to the legacy of his brother. Trevor’s dad has recently passed away, and Trevor has found a new drive to be a wrestler. Jimmy is undefeated, but his senior season may be on the line if he gets implicated in his dad’s crimes.
Every boy has his own drama, but they often cross on the mat. I can’t say too much without giving away main plot points, but some bad decisions are made, people go too far, and there are far reaching implcations that change the characters’ lives.
It’s not that this was a bad or boring book, it just never really had an “OMG this is an amazing story” moment for me. The writing was nice, but I just had trouble connecting with the characters. Maybe it’s because of the alternating chapters, or the third person POV.
I think this is a novel that lots of high school boys would be into, and that’s always a good thing.
An Interview with Trevor Crow, of One Shot Away
Hey Trevor, congrats on such a great wrestling season!
Thanks, winning Most Improved Wrestler meant a lot to me.
What was going through your mind during the wrestle-off with Diggy?
I was sweating. I could hardly breathe. I looked at him and all I saw was his dark eyes, ready to put me on my back. I heard his father psyching him up. Guys told me the stories about Diggy getting locked in his basement, forcing him to cut weight. I’ll admit, I was beyond nervous, but I wouldn’t say scared. I had to go into a quiet place in my mind, because I knew that I had earned this match. As soon as we locked up, everything changed. I took control. My strength surged and all the bad luck and circumstances I was facing seemed turn me into a warrior.
You seemed to fall in love with Whizzer pretty quickly, even though he was a bribe. What did getting this puppy mean to you?
You’re right, Whizzer was a bribe, and at first, maybe for an hour, I resented him. I was feeling pretty alone at the time. I had an enormous empty ache in my stomach every time I thought of my father. I never thought, not in a million years, that I’d be living in a decrepit motel on the side of a highway. I think my mother was in shock too. She was going along with plans and changes that I never thought she’d agree to. And then, the puppy was put in my arms and he was licking my face. He was a bundle of innocent happiness. None of it was his fault, so I accepted him. It felt so good to focus my love on a creature that accepted me with no terms.
How are things between you, your mom, and Harry London?
I love my mom. She’s more like her old self than she was after my father’s accident. My father’s death was so sudden. I know my mom didn’t have a plan, didn’t know what to do next. I don’t particularly like everything about Harry London. He’s that piece of furniture with a hard corner that always catches your hip as you pass. My mom and Harry are looking for a house. They invited me to come with them, but I just got used to living at the motel! I’d say things with my mom are getting better. We’re talking more, occasionally taking a walk together. I’ll tell you, if you want to get to know your mom, dad, sister or brother ask them to take a walk with you. We talk almost the entire time. She’s planning a wedding with Harry. He asked me to be the best man. I accepted and knew I was blushing five shades of red. So, things are pretty good.
Do you feel your near death experience changed your life?
I think the experience changed the way I look at life. I realize that life is precious. I realize that each of us has only one life and our choices can make all the difference. I also know, no matter how many of us there are on this planet, life is precarious (last count there was 6,973,738,433). Sometimes I wonder if I hadn’t been pulled from the pool, if I had drowned, would my life have made much of a difference. So, I try a bit harder now to be a good productive person. Maybe just in small ways that no one will notice, except me. I don’t text or talk on my cell phone while driving. I treat people at the motel like I’d like them to treat me. I met a girl at the mall and took her to the movies. I’m not rushing things. It’s a good feeling.
What does the future hold for Trevor Crow?
I enter college in September. I’m majoring in wildlife conservation at the University of Maine. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m already reading about ecosystems and conservation. I’m going to miss my mother and Whizzer and Harry (in that order, LOL). But, I believe going away to college is the right thing for me. I’m looking forward to a fresh start. My roommate has already emailed me and he seems like a cool guy. I’m going to try to “walk-on” to the university’s wrestling team. All that means is, I don’t have a scholarship and I have to try out. I setup an outdoor strong-man gym in the open lot behind the motel. Jimmy O’Shea comes over and we workout together: flipping truck tires, lifting buckets of sand, doing pull-ups and push-ups. I already weigh 176. I feel good.
About the Author
Coughlin’s first novel, The Hero of New York, was finished when he was 23 years old and explored the dark side of the middle class suburban dream. New York Times reviewer, Dennis Smith (1986) wrote, “The Hero of New York is solid tough-guy entertainment, and Mr. Coughlin’s descriptions can be hilarious.”
Coughlin’s second novel, Steady Eddie, is a coming-of-age story set in Long Island, New York in 1977. George Needham wrote “Coughlin neatly captures a person’s essence in the simplest gesture, but each character is drawn with sympathy and wit, even when the characters themselves lack these attributes. A fine novel.”
Coughlin has published short stories in Doubletake Magazine, the South Dakota Review and DUCTS, an on-line magazine. His story, “The Grief Committee” was analyzed in The Politics of Mourning: Grief Management in a Cross-Cultural Fiction. Coughlin”s poetry has appeared in The Dead Mule – School of Southern Literature and Hanging Moss Journal.
In 2012, Coughlin published his first YA novel, One Shot Away, A Wrestling Story, Harpercollins. The novel is the story of three high school wrestlers trying to balance their personal lives, family conflicts and maintain their weight class on the Varsity Squad.
One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story on Goodreads
You can win the grand prize of a KINDLE complete with a custom One Shot Away skin!
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