Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena

5/5 Stars (Goodreads | Amazon)

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 tournament. I realize this is probably not a problem most readers have. But I love basketball.
And let me tell you the main reason why I love basketball--the stories. Sports are not just muscular men bashing into each other. Sports stars are kids who grow up chasing a dream. Sometimes they're rich and white (ala Duke) but sometimes they're poor and basketball is their only shot at making something of their life (See Eric Bledsoe). Sometimes there's a player who everyone thinks should be cut, everyone complains about then he suddenly blossoms with talent. There's a reason there are so many sports movies. Sports have some of the best storylines.
Basketball is about heart and hustle, working hard to make something of your life. Sticky encompasses all those things. A foster kid who has been passed around between homes, always returned because somebody doesn't see his value. Basketball gives him value--something he's good at, something he can excel at. Sticky has a lot of heart and he devotes his life to improving his basketball skills.
This book has an excellent voice. Sticky lives a rough and tumble kind of life. He uses slang, improper grammar but the author never overdoes it. Sticky is believable and relatable and never slips into a stereotype. The use of italics rather than quotations bothered me at first, but it was a stylistic choice that I got used to it. The book does use basketball slang but I don't think you have to know that much about basketball to read the book. Probably helps if you watch some games, but it doesn't require D1 playing talent to read (for the record I'm 5 ft tall I watch basketball. I've never played it).
If you hate sports this book probably isn't for you. If you like sports then I say it's worth trying. If you can't get enough basketball like me then it's a must read.
If you're like me and love a true feel-good basketball story read about my favorite player here: Josh Harrellson from UK Trust me if this isn't one of the best basketball stories (not the article but Josh's story) then I don't know what is. And it's true, he is Mr. Nice Guy.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Aw, I love that article about Josh. =)