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Ball Don't Lie

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,329 ratings  ·  331 reviews
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 o
Paperback, 280 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Ember (first published September 27th 2005)
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Kaven i would say yes but it may be a little offensive to others as it does involves drugs and robbing and a kid having to leave there home a lot cause of…morei would say yes but it may be a little offensive to others as it does involves drugs and robbing and a kid having to leave there home a lot cause of Foster Care but i read it in my middle school and by far my favorite book(less)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,329 ratings  ·  331 reviews

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Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
It's somewhere between 4-5 stars. Let's say 4.5 just to pick a number.

Everybody talks about looking for YA books that are boy friendly. People talk about it like it's a mythical creature. Well let me tell you I have found the magical leopluradon. Or I've found an excellent book for boys.

I love basketball. I read this book to compliment all my basketball watching during the month of March. I needed a book I could get excited about, something that could pull my attention away from the NCAA tourna
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this is a very good book if you are looking for a basketball thrill. The author does a very good job with keeping the reader intertained by using all the things that go on in stickys life. There are lots of ups and downs in this book. ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I recommend Ball Don't Lie to anyone who loves basketball. They play a lot of basketball in the book. I don't like basketball very much, but I found the book interesting because the main character Sticky is interesting. His childhood was shaped by poverty, his unstable mother, and the many foster homes he lived in after his mother died. We see the effects of his childhood on the life he lives now as a teenager and the choices he makes, some of which are stupid. I found the plot difficult to foll ...more
Richie Partington
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
06 August 2005 BALL DON'T LIE by Matt de la Pena, Random House/Delacorte, September 2005, ISBN: 0-385-73232-5, Libr. ISBN: 0-385-90258-1

"Baby don't cry, you got to keep your head up
Even when the road is hard, never give up {you'll be alright}
Baby don't cry, you got to keep your head up
Even when the road is hard, never give up {baby don't cry}
Baby don't cry, you got to keep your head up
Even when the road is hard, never give up {baby baby baby}
Baby don't cry, you got to keep your head up {no}
Jan 29, 2018 added it
Shelves: abandoned
Cliff flipped through this book and saw enough negative content to not read it.
Caelan McDonough
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ball Don’t Lie is a book about a seventeen year old boy named Sticky. Sticky is poor and has no place to call home but the streets. He is an outsider, people think he doesn’t belong because he is white. The only thing that could be his ticket out is basketball. The author of this book is Matt De la Peña, I would recommend this book to people who are the underdogs or want to have a chance and be inspired. This book is probably only appropriate for people ages 14 and up. I really enjoyed this book ...more
Jackson Lewis
I think that Ball don't lie was a good book because I enjoy reading about basketball and its also my favorite sport. I give this book a 8 out of 10 stars because it was very interesting to read but I also didn't understand some of the parts of the book and I also had to read it over again.
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Grd. 9 Up “Sorry bro. It just wasn’t gonna work out”
Ball Don’t Lie by Matt De La Pena is story that revolves around the life of Sticky, a kid who really never had a home. After losing his mother as a child, he bounced around various foster homes who would later abandon him. Sticky is very quiet, but his malicious and reckless behavior has cost him the trust of his foster families and has made him a juvenile. Though he was white, he never really saw himself that way. He was always surrounded by
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-reading
This book is about a few kids who know everything there is about basketball, the eduation, the history, and the fundamentals. These kids are doing porly in school. Throughtout this book, teachers teach the kids how to focus on school work as much as you focus on basketball.
I can connect to this book because the DEan in my school, he knows me very well and he knows that I play basketball and I do good in class. ANd he also knows that basketball gets caught up in class when it really dosen't nee
Bobby Balzano
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ball Don't lie is a great book, and compared to the other basketball books It is much better. This book is a lot more than just basketball it is a story about life and how one kid pushed through many hard times. The beginning shows how life is different for a foster child and how much harder life is without the love from family and friends. One main idea though is life is never easy. The books shows how life is never easy for anyone yet alone a foster child. Sticky the foster child pushes on and ...more
Daouda Berete
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sticky the protagonist of the book Ball Don't Lie is a tall 6'3 basketball player. Untill he was six he lived with his mother that was a drug addict and would leave him on the street to beg for money and give it to her so she can buy her drugs. But its stoped when he started living with a foster parent and everything was going great untill she was diagnosed with cancer. After that he went to a foster home. He loved basketball but he had OCD that cause him to do actions over and over again untill ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
“Ball Don’t Lie” by Matt de la Pena is about a boy named Sticky who is a foster kid and loves to play ball. The setting in this novel takes place in a newly built local rec center named the Lincoln Rec. All though Sticky is very passionate about the game and playing ball, he in a way has an alter-ego that is tested later on in the book.
Over all this is a very interesting story and it really draws you in as a reader to where you can’t stop. I love how the author constantly kept me thinking thro
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
To me, this book is kind of like an urban legend.
It seemed very different compared 2 any other books I've ever read.
I didn't exactly learn anything from this book other than how to use my grammar correctly.I enjoyed what the book was about but disliked the way it was written.I feel like the way he wrote the dialouge in the book was very superfulous.I guess his rationale was to be a different author in the way he wrote his book.
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book is not as well written as the author's later Mexican White Boy. I personally did not care a lot or grow close to the main character and his friends. It's just fair quality book, but decent light book for middle school boys interested in basketball and who could get interested in reading other better books in general thorough it.
Devin Bishop
Nov 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was pretty average. The only interesting thing this book had going for it was the fact that the main character sticky had an interesting background; being a foster child and the only white guy in town that plays ball and dominates the whole town. Other than the main character everything else was really boring.
Brenda Kahn
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I finally got around to reading de la Peña's debut and I'm sorry it took so long.

7/10 - rereading with my ears - narrated by the amazing Dion Graham.

7/12 - Finished and liked it as much if not more thanks to Graham's narration - the staccato beat of the basketball action and trash talk; the smooth, silkiness with Annie; the abrupt changes in Sticky's demeanor. Great stuff.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: isd-library, nhhp, novel
Anh-thu's story never finishes. Does she abort? Does she keep the baby? Does she ever tell Sticky that she's pregnant? These unanswered questions for this character leave a huge plot hole in the novel. Matt de la Peña also seems to clumsily introduce the sexist culture that the Anh-thu's of the world have to endure. Boys in the mall hit on Anh-thu and Laura, and when they reject the boys, the girls are then in danger. The mall boy tells the girls, "You got an attitude, you know that? Better watc ...more
Edward Sullivan
Impressive debut.
Edward M.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good book. A bit difficult getting through the basketball jargon if you're not familiar with it but the characters are likable and Sticky is a touching main character.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sticky's story of tribulations and triumphs on and off the basketball court is one that I won't soon forget. Matt de la Pena's other books continue to rise up my list of books I plan to read next.
Brandon Yenshaw
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
In California, around 60,000 children are put into foster care each year, and only some of them find permanent homes. There are also some kids who have gone through three, four, even five different homes until they end up in a final home. The Ball Don’t Lie, by Matt de la Peña, portrays the same situation with the main character, Sticky.

Ball Don’t Lie is a sport and drama book about Sticky, a foster kid that feels like he doesn’t quite fit in. Where he does fit in though, is a place of his own w
Shelby Sanders
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: engl-420
Obviously, I had to read this book because it was about basketball! The story is about a 16 year old boy Travis Reichard, who goes by the name of Sticky, and has been in and out of the foster care system, and the one place he can feel at home is playing basketball at the basketball courts at Lincoln Rec. Playing ball at Lincoln Rec, he is the only white guy but all these men that come to play pick up ball every day feel like family to him. Even though he is white, he feels like he can relate and ...more
Dec 18, 2018 added it
If I were to rate just the first of the book, I would give that part 2 out of 5 stars mostly because of how it didnt hook me on in the beggining . The characters are Ty Lewis a college football player ready to get drafted to the NFL with a lot of dedication for the sport. The way the author tells the story was not very clear in my point of view because he had alot of hidden meanins in the book that made it harder to understand and i had to search up that meaming or ask someone for it. The reade ...more
Jacob Palmeter
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ball Don’t Lie is a complex story of a boy named sticky trying to make it out of poor downtown LA with his skills in basketball. But while he’s trying to make it big in basketball he’s also trying to live a great love life with his girlfriend Annie.
The first thing I’d like to mention is how the author Matt De Le Pena manages to create a story where he has two main characters and really shows how they both have deep backstories and how they have motives they strive for everyday.
Secondly, I thin
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña

Travis “Sticky” Reichard has been losing in the game of life--a series of foster homes that don’t stick, obsessive-compulsive behaviors that kick in when stressful situations arise, and other factors see to that--but he has a shot to win in the college basketball arena if he can just manage to stay out of trouble until he can be seen by the right people. The plot line of Matt de la Pena’s novel, Ball Don't Lie, revolves around this fact as Sticky faces a series o
Josh Dahlke
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Matt de la Pena’s book “Ball don’t lie” is about a kid named Sticky who grew up wanting to play basketball. He's 6' 3" tall, with a handsome 'chiseled and tan face' and a few scars, and his home is the street. Sticky has perfected a tough skill. He has a passion for basketball, and he is so good! Until he was six years old, Sticky lived with a drug-addicted, prostitute mother and her abusive boyfriend. When his mother had no money for food, she would dress Sticky in dirty clothes, place a si ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Alright so this book is something that I came across in my college writing class and I feel that it is worth talking about, especially if you don't commonly read books. Ball Don't Lie is something of an oddity among books specific to the young adult genre. Your typical young adult book is going to generally have a set of young characters, some element of romance, and your stereotypical coming of age story where the main protagonist grows and develops as a character. Ball Don't Lie has these to ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stereotypes, foster families, and legal trouble are all hurdles that Sticky Reichard has to overcome to fulfill his dreams of becoming an NBA player in the book Ball Don’t Lie. Matt De La Peña did a great job of representing city life in LA California. Sticky and his friends go play basketball at the Lincoln Rec every single day. Dante and Dallas are usually on his team while Rob, Old Man Perkins, and Dreadlock Man are not. That is where he spends his free time to get away from reality, all his ...more
Tyler Torkelson
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ball Don't lie is a book about a white foster kid who lives on the streets who likes to play basketball. My favorite character was sticky because he was always around a basketball court and so am I. Also seeing how even living on the streets he still managed to play basketball and use it as almost like his get away from his life. The characters did feel real to me because this is something that happens all around the world and that you can see in towns this is the biggest reason why they felt re ...more
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BYU-Adolescent Li...: Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena 1 6 Jun 10, 2014 04:21PM  
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Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling, Newbery-medal-winning author of six young adult novels and four picture books. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches creative writing and ...more
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