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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  859 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Thirteen-year-old Butterball doesn’t have much going for him. He’s teased mercilessly about his weight. He hates the Long Island suburb his mom moved them to and wishes he still lived with his dad in the city. And now he’s stuck talking to a totally out-of-touch therapist named Liz.

Liz tries to uncover what happened that day on the playground—a day that landed one kid in
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Razorbill (first published January 1st 2011)
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YA Realistic Fiction
299th out of 309 books — 380 voters
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5th out of 43 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,873)
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Reading Vacation
I was really surprised when Playground showed up in the mail. Come on now! WHAT could I have in common with a bully named Butterball? I went into the book with really low expectations. I. WAS. WRONG. Playground was a deep thinking type of read for me and Butterball was a sort of hero. I could see a lot of middle school and high school boys liking it.

Butterball was an overweight African American kid from the city with umm… a lot… of issues. At first, Butterball was not an easy character to identi
Read entire review on my blog

Did you know 50 Cent could write? Other than songs, that is. He wrote this novel loosely inspired by his adolescence and with his 14 year old son in mind.
I was very skeptical of this book and was surprised to find a very nicely, straight forward, touching and easy story to read; I was even more surprised when I found myself liking it! Because, yes, I liked it.

I’m not into stories of bullies with a big redemption at the end an
Agais Garcia

This book is based on a kid and he was not rich and is mom and dad were not together. He was fat and he would get mad at kids that made fun of him. In one part he had stold up to a and he had hit the kid with a sock with batters and the story grabed you with a fight at the start of the book and that is a good start to the book. I think you should realy this book its a book for a good life lesson to show you to stand up to your bully
Ugh. I know that this book will appeal to certain readers. And I know that those are the readers that need more books to appeal to them. But... Well, the book is just so... ugh. But my criticisms of it come from such an old-white-lady perspective. I was annoyed by the fact that his father stole shoes and there was no consequence. I was annoyed that Butterball's "growth" was when he stood up for a little kid by menacing another kid. I was annoyed that the illustration on the cover was of the cele ...more
Wow, this book was fantastic. I didn't always like Butterball, but after reading this book I can imagine why he did and acted like he did.

Butterball, or let's call him with his real name: Burton. A boy with divorced parents, stuck in a bad school and surroundings. When we first get to know him we have no clue why he suddenly decided to follow the road of a bad guy, but we slowly find it out piece by piece.
I never had the feeling that Burton was a bad guy, he just tried to act tough. His life was
Not only has 50 Cent provided a decent resource for young folks and those who support them, but he's written a relatively enjoyable novel besides. He makes a great case for the theory that bullies are often bullied themselves, and provides relatable insight into a "mean kid's" secret thoughts and vulnerabilities. Sure the plot is predictable, and the characters are little more than tired stereotypes, but overall this book is pretty damn a'ight.
Henry Alimanestianu
As soon as I started reading this book, I knew that I was going to like it. I knew this because it starts off with Butterball hitting Maurice in the face with a sock full of batteries, and I don't like it because I like that gruesome stuff a lot because I don't. I like it because it captivated me almost immediately and I wanted to find out why he did this. From then on it remained an interesting book.
Xavier Garcia
Playground is a young adult fiction book. By reading this book it is clear that divorce affects the behavior of the children experiencing the separation. When Butterball attacks Maurice in the playground he justifies the thesis by saying, " And I'd be lying if I said that didn't feel pretty good." Throughout the book Butterball struggles with his psychiatrist to understand why he wanted to hurt Maurice so badly. "I know your moms gay Butterball. You could've just told me because I wouldn't have ...more
Playground is Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s debut young adult novel about teen bullying. He explores this topical issue by sharing some of his own experiences in this fictionalized story. He hopes to reach out to kids to show how bullies are created and that there is hope to overcome it. As a parent, I’m very interested in this topic and was curious to read a story written from the bully’s perspective as a fresh change of pace.

The story is narrated by thirteen-year-old Butterball, nicknamed because
Jun 09, 2012 Esther added it
Playground is about a kid nick named Butterball because he is overweight. One day he gets tried of it and beats up his friend Maurice. This incident shocks his mom and the school. They force him to see a therapist. Being this "tuff" guy he is unwilling to talk to her. Slowly he sees that she isn't horrible and answers a few questions. One day while he was in her office her starts telling her more than he really wanted to. He starts to see that his problems are at home. His mom is never around an ...more
Sandra Stiles
When I was given the opportunity to possibly win a copy of this book I signed up only because I loved the premise of the book. I honestly knew nothing about the author except I believed he was a rapper. After getting the book and reading it I decided to look up the author. I read several articles on him and his reasons for writing the book. I could not say I expected him to say he was a bully at some point in his life as I knew nothing about him or his music. I was pleased to realize that the bo ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaleiah Spencer
This book was about a young teenager named Butterball. Buterball isn't the perfect teenager, he makes very por decisions. He fights because he has no other way to express his anger.Now, that Butterball goes to see a psycholgist his anger level has decreased and he's learning to control his anger. Butterball does what he sees others do that's why he acts like a tough kid all the time.

This book teaches you hoe to treat others the way youb want to be treated. If you want to be treated with respec
Ismael Kassim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

This was way better than I thought it would be. It started off slowly for me, not to mention very cliche. I honestly picked it up more because 50 Cent was the author than anything. But asButterball started to open up, I found myself opening up to the book as well. This is the kind of book I can see a lot of middle grade aged boys really connecting with - themes of insecurities, what it means to be a man, roll models hoped for, fitting in, redemption, choices parents make and how it affects kids
I was about to type "I actually liked this book..." but the word "actually" would imply some kind of surprise, and frankly I'm not surprised at all that I enjoyed it. It's about this chubby kid nicknamed Butterball who lives in the suburbs with his mom and has to start seeing a therapist after he beats the crap out of a kid on the playground.

Oh yeah, and it was "written" by 50 Cent.

The story is fast paced (short chapters!) and highly readable, despite some slow scenes in the shrink's office and
Feb 25, 2015 Ben added it
Playground, a book based off a true story of the author, Curtis Jackson III, follows the life of Burton, (known has ‘butterball’ in the story) in his adolescent years. Burton is an african-american boy whose parents have recently been divorced, and is forced to live with his mother in the suburbs, even though he enjoys living in the city with his father more. The story starts off with Burton hitting another boy named Maurice in the face repeatedly with a sock full of batteries. We then follow t ...more
Colton Hysell
"The Playground" was a very intense but interesting book! it had me on the edge of my seat every second I had my eyes feasted into it. The book takes place in new York, and its like the hood of new York. the main character is butterball, who is also a trouble maker. He has a sock full of batteries and socks a kid that was talking crap to him in the face and gets suspended. The kid he smacked name was Maurice. Eventually butterball goes to his dads house for the weekend. he gets there and his dad ...more
I will be honest, when I saw this novel I was all prepared to hate it. I can say, however, that I am really glad I gave this novel a chance. It is a story that takes a look into what factors may motivate a kid to bully another one. Three factors that we see most clearly in this novel is first the culture of violence as an acceptable part of manhood. Burton, known as "Butterball," socks a kid in the mouth with a sock full of batteries on the playground one day. This immediately gains him access i ...more
Mohamed Khaled
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryen B.
Playground by 50 Cent is a realistic fiction novel loosely based on his own childhood. "Butterball" is the overweight bully that everyone fears, he makes even more people tremble because he sends a kid to the hospital by breathing him with a sock full of D batteries. When his mother makes him go to a clueless therapist named Liz, he tries to figure out the root problem of his weight problems , and his anger .
My favorite part of the book had to be when he and his father ran out the store after h
Frida S
“Playground” is about a boy named Burton who is quite frankly, a loser. His parents are divorced and he’s moved away with his mom. He of course misses his old school in the city, and his old life but he is forced to deal with it. In his new school he is treated badly because of his weight and has difficulty making friends. Although he later does make a friend whose name is Maurice, and is a nerd who lives in the rich neighborhood. They had a fight and “Butterball” [Burton] beats him up. That’s w ...more
Playground is intelligent and well-written, and it’s hard to put down. Told in the first person, the story narrates the thoughts and experiences of Burton, aka Butterball, during much of his year in 8th grade. Suspended from school for an extremely mean and physical act of bullying, Bball is required to go into counseling as a condition for returning to school. This is the story of his evolving view of himself, of his divorced parents with differing values and new people in their lives with whom ...more
I picked up this book because it said "50 cent". I work with at-risk students who "hate" reading but love rap music. I decided to read it to see if it might be something my students would be interested in. I didn't have high hopes for the book or expect to be a masterpiece. Most YA isn't to begin with. I think that's the most important thing to say about this book. It's about a 13 year old boy. One that many REAL children can identify with. As much as I love reading about kids becoming heroes an ...more
I'm not going to lie; I absolutely hate 50 Cent's music. But hell, the book sounded awesome, and so I picked it up from the library and began to read as I had a milkshake in Ed's Diner (yes, I know this information is redundant).
I have a passion for psychology, and so reading a fiction book from a bully's point of view sounded amazing. And I wasn't disappointed.
The thing I loved most about the book was the relationship between 'Butterball' and his therapist, and as it was beautif
Gabe Callery
After reading 50 Cent Playground I rated it 4 stars because it was a very quick read and was just like I expected it to be. Was the story of 50 cents young life and the struggle he went through, which eventually led him the the fame and success he has today. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about people that go through hardship and bullying but eventually make it out and make a name for themselves. 50 wrote this book to show kids that they can make it through hardship wit ...more
Well played 50 Cent. I was expecting a train wreck and got a pretty good story. Tied up a little too neatly at the end, but still.
Shawn Moore
It made me think about my childhood, because i was just like butterball causing trouble and getting into fights
Jacquie Leighton
I do recommend teachers consider reading this because you may have a student, teen, who would find this book engaging. The narrator is a troubled 8th grader whose life is falling apart at home and a school. He grows into a bully and it's the story of his counseling sessions with flashbacks to times in his life when events really shaped him. Be aware of profanity but no f bombs. I will recommend this book to a reluctant reader I know who will relate. I wonder if he will find the main character au ...more
Amy Dreger
Playground is the story of "Butterball," an 8th grader who finds himself in counseling after attacking a fellow student with a sock full of batteries. As Butterball opens up to his counselor, we learn about his motives and his personal struggles dealing with a sometimes-available father who is a terrible role model and a mother who Butterball has a hard time seeing eye to eye with.

Despite the simple text, Butterball is a complex character who faces many of the struggles most middle schoolers enc
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Little Falls High...: Playground 5 16 Jan 20, 2013 08:53AM  
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50 Cent is a hip-hop artist who founded the G-Unit Books imprint.
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