de La Pena, Matt. Ball don't lie.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Brief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review

DE LA PENA, Matt. Ball don't lie. Random House, Delacorte. 279p. c2005. 0-385-73232-5. $16.95. S*

This is a work of art by a newcomer to the field. It's a dark tale about a basketball player, related in the third person about a teenager whose personal history couldn't be much worse. Sticky is white; his mother was a prostitute whose pimp hurt her little boy. After her suicide Sticky was sent to a series of foster homes. This back-story is revealed in short segments intersecting the events in the present, when Sticky is turning 17. Much of Sticky's current life is about being on a basketball court, shooting hoops. "But this game is Sticky's drug. It's his stage. This court is Sticky's home. It's his hiding place. It's his church. And he's the one who gets to talk to God."

He is highly talented, almost sure to get a college scholarship; for him, the NBA dream is truly all he has. He rarely talks and is practically incapable of relating to others except through basketball. A group of black guys who play ball and hang out at the community rec center slowly become his family: "Yo, I don't...

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