Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong.
But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.
A breakout urban masterpiece by newcomer Matt de la Peña, Ball Don’t Lie takes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.
F From Booklist
Gr. 9-12. "I think God put me here to play ball," says 17-year-old Sticky. Shuffled between foster homes since childhood, the skinny, white teen devotes himself to playing basketball at Lincoln Rec, a gritty Los Angeles gym, where he has found a family among the serious players, mostly black men. In colloquial language filled with the words and rhythms of hip hop and the street, Pena's debut tells a riveting story about Sticky's struggle to secure a college basketball scholarship and deepen his relationship with his girlfriend. The disjointed narrative, which loops between past and present, may slow a few readers. Others, though, will see the nonlinear story as a reflection of Sticky's own internal journey as he faces violent childhood tragedies, his numbed emotions, and his sometimes-compulsive behavior (he repeats actions such as shoe-tying until they feel right). Teens will be strongly affected by the unforgettable, distinctly male voice; the thrilling, unusually detailed basketball action; and the questions about race, love, self-worth, and what it means to build a life without advantages. Gillian Engberg
A Nation's Hope: the Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis