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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  771 ratings  ·  174 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...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Razorbill
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The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyLooking for Alaska by John GreenSpeak by Laurie Halse AndersonThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
YA Realistic Fiction
252nd out of 259 books — 314 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsThirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenPlayground by 50 Cent
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5th out of 43 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,696)
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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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...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...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...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
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...more
This is not 50 Cent's first book, but it was the first one I'd heard about and the plot sounded good enough that I decided I had to read it, if not just to see what 50 Cent might write about. The first half of the book had me kind of on edge - I wasn't sure if I was liking it - but by the end of the book I found I'd really enjoy it. Not too many people can make me feel sympathy for a bully, and yet I had some for Butterball.

An interesting plot point, which I don't want to ruin for you, is the re...more
The Tick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Graves
I received this book for free from Penguin Audio in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This audiobook has been sitting on my computer since the book was first released, which is pretty sad. Sometimes it’s hard to get to things though, even if I have good intentions when I request it. When I first received this book, I was simply interested in reading a book that 50 Cent would write for kids. What led me to finally get to it is m...more
Sally Kruger
Thirteen year old Butterball filled a sock full of batteries and beat up Maurice, and he the school is forcing him to see a therapist so they can get to the bottom of the attack.

When Butterball's mother decided to make a change in her life, she moved Butterball out of the city and away from his father. Now they are living in the suburbs, he's going to a crappy junior high school, and working at a hospital and going to nursing school.

Butterball is not fitting in well. Besides being the new kid,...more
Anna  Tee (The Bursting Bookshelf)
When I got offered a review copy of this book, I was a little skeptical about it, but I decided to give it a chance. When I actually read it, I was very pleasantly surprised about how interesting and well written the book was. In fact, I ended up reading the book in a single day because I couldn't put it down.

The cover of the book was not one of my favourite aspects of the book. My biggest complaint was that 50 Cent's name was larger than the title. I do however, like the way the colours were in...more
Lad mig starte med at sige, at jeg var utrolig skeptisk med denne bog. For det første er det ikke en genre jeg normalt læse, men jeg er altid åben for nye ting. Men min nysgerrighed blev vagt da jeg så at 50 Cent var forfatteren. Jeg tror at alle har hørt om 50 Cent, nok ikke som forfatter men som rapper. Min første tanke var, kan han skrive?
Historien er inspireret af 50 Cent’s egen hårde barndom i ghettoen, og om hvordan gruppepres og mobning kan påvirke et barn.

Selve sproget er ikke det mest i...more
I'm embarrassed by how quickly I got hooked on this book. Playground is the story of a troubled outcast who, through an act of violence, goes from being a school-nobody to the school bully. Told from a first-person perspective, this story uses Butterball's sessions with his therapist as the starting point for his tangential descriptions of his life. While he faces the challenges that many middle school students tackle--feeling left out, poor self-image, peer pressure and popularity struggles--hi...more
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Little Falls High...: Playground 5 13 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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