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Ball Don't Lie
Cover of Ball Don't Lie
Ball Don't Lie
Newbery Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Matt de la Pena's Ball Don't Lie "is a must-read." [The Bulletin]

   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.
    Matt de la Peña's breakout urban masterpiece, 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.

"[An] inspiring story. Sticky is a true original, and de la...
Newbery Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Matt de la Pena's Ball Don't Lie "is a must-read." [The Bulletin]

   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.
    Matt de la Peña's breakout urban masterpiece, 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.

"[An] inspiring story. Sticky is a true original, and de la...
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.7
  • Lexile:
    710
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Dreadlock Man,with his fierce fists and suspect jump shot, sets his stuff ($1.45 sandals, key to bike lock, extra T-shirt) on the bleachers and holds his hands out for the ball. It's ten in the morning and Lincoln Rec has just opened. Sticky's at the free-throw line working out his routine, while all the regulars come swaggering in. Come on, little man, Dreadlock Man says. Give up the rock.

    Sticky throws an around-the-back, no-look dime. Watches Dreadlock Man rise into the air with his awful form--calves tightening, dreads scattering, eyes poised on the goal--and let go of a sorry-looking line drive. Before he comes back down to the dusty old hardwood, he yells out: Peanut Butter! Says it every time he takes a jumper. Peanut Butter! That's what he wants everyone to call him, but nobody does.
    When the ball ricochets off the side of the backboard, entirely missing the rim, he says what any man would say: Hey, yo, Stick, let me get one more.

    Hawk passes through the door, from sunny day into old dark gym. A big black man. Wears bright wraparound shades and baggy shorts, the new Jordans on his size-sixteen feet. Hawk has a little money to his name. He's one of the few Lincoln Rec ballers who does. Some of the regulars say he made a few movies a couple years back. A stunt double maybe or security on the set. If you look quickly, get a fast profile shot, you might think he looks like someone.

    Hey, yo, Dreadlock Man, he says, megaphoning a hand around his mouth. I got five says you brick that shot. The whole side of his shaved head flexes as he chews hard at his gum.
    Dreadlock Man takes a couple awkward dribbles and rises again. Peanut Butter! This time his ball arcs through the air without backspin. A Phil Niekro knuckleball that thuds off the back of the rim and drops into Sticky's waiting hands.

    Damn, Dreadlock Man, your shot's straight broke. Hawk falls into the bleachers laughing, goes to lace up his new sneaks.

    Other dudes come strutting into the gym. Slapping hands. Slinging their bags onto the bleachers and talking trash.

    Sticky high-dribbles to the other end of the court, spins in an acrobatic reverse. He points up at an invisible crowd.

    Dreadlock Man watches, hands on hips. Yells out: Come on, Stick, we tryin to shoot down here.
    A couple other balls get tossed into the rotation. Everybody shooting short set-shots to get warm, stretching out stiff shoulders and legs. Most of these cats are just out of bed. A couple have pulled themselves off a piece of cardboard on court two, having spent the night where all the homeless stay.
    Lincoln Rec functions both as a great place to hoop and a small-time homeless shelter.
    Sometimes things overlap.

    Sticky comes dribbling down from the other side of the court with his left hand. He goes right up to Dante, who's just walked in carrying a duffel bag, the best player in the gym, and shoots a soft twenty-footer over his outstretched hand. Dante and Sticky watch the ball smack both sides of the rim and bounce off toward the east sideline.

    Go get that brick, Stick, Dante says. Bring it back my way so you could watch a real shooter.
    Dante played ball overseas for six or seven seasons; he's slick with both the rock and his mouth. Some cats say, Watch it, man, to newcomers, dude will beat you two times. Then they sit back and clown those who brush off their warning:

    Told ya, dawg. Didn't I tell him, Big J, when he walked his sorry ass in here?

    Yeah, I heard it, OP. I was sitting right there when you said it.

    Dante's skin shines black as night, and his hair is scarecrow wild. The devil's growth fingers out from his chin.

    Sticky skips a...

About the Author-
  • Matt de la Peña is the first Mexican American author to win the Newbery Medal. He attended the University of the Pacific on a basketball scholarship and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at San Diego State University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches creative writing. Ball Don't Lie is his first novel. Look for his other books, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You, The Living, which was named a Pura Belpré Honor Book, and The Hunted, all available from Delacorte Press. You can also visit him at mattdelapena.com and follow @mattdelapena on Twitter.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 7, 2005
    De la Peña recounts one eventful day in the life of basketball phenom Sticky Reichard, 17, with flashbacks that fill in his horrific childhood. Since age seven, Sticky's ricocheted between group and foster homes before settling in Venice Beach, Calif. Along the way, he picked up a passion for basketball, and his obsessive-compulsive habits enhance his game—he practices constantly. Despite a demonstrated lack of interest in school (a freshman-year report card contains "five Fs and a C in PE"), a college scholarship is on the horizon, and so is a healthy relationship with "super-pretty Vietnamese girl," Anh-thu. But can Sticky overcome his past—the cigarette-burn scars from his mother's pimp, his mother's violent death, the succession of indifferent caretakers? The group home director tells him he's "a good person," but Sticky's morals allow for compulsive shoplifting, and he celebrates a big win with mindless vandalism that lands him in jail. It's easy to feel sorry for him but he's tough to like. The author's depiction of the foster care system seems over-the-top (the first would-be parent dies of cancer, the next doesn't even provide a bed, a third catches his daughter with Sticky unclothed). Still, readers will find the portrait of this obsessive-compulsive's rituals both on and off the court fascinating. The prose moves with the rhythm of a bouncing basketball and those who don't mind mixing their sports stories with some true grit may find themselves hypnotized by Sticky's grim saga. Ages 14-up.

  • -School Library Journal, Starred [STAR] "[An] inspiring story. Sticky is a true original, and de la Peña has skillfully brought him to life."
  • -Booklist "Riveting...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."
  • -VOYA "Stunningly realistic, this book will hook older readers, especially urban teen males."
  • -The Bulletin "The characters live and breath...This is a must-read."
  • -Kirkus Reviews "De la Peña does an excellent job of combining the streets with the sport. Gritty and mesmerizing."
  • -Antawn Jamison, forward for the Los Angeles Clippers "I have never before seen blacktop ball depicted so well. In this novel, you will find its flash, its power, and its elegance without chains. This is powerful stuff."
  • ) of tha AND 1 Mix Tape Tour "From the very first sentence, this book grabbed me and didn't let go. The deeper I got into it, the more I felt like Sticky's story was my story. His heart, his handle, the guys in the gym, his potential pitfalls, his dreams. All of it. In a weird sense, this is my life."-Grayson Boucher ("The Professor"
  • -Rick Fox, former forward for the Los Angeles Lakers "Truly authentic in its examination of both the game I love and the invariable missteps toward manhood. You cannot fail to be moved by the eloquence and truth of this story."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
  • OverDrive Read
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