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 out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.

A breakout urban masterpiece by newcomer Matt de la Peña, Ball Don’t Lie takes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it. (View movie trailer)

  • An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults
  • An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
  • Soon to be a major motion picture starring Ludacris, Nick Cannon, Emelie de Ravin, Grayson Boucher,and Rosanna Arquette (Movie website) (BDL on IMDB)


“A sad, sweet book about a young foster kid growing up on basketball and the streets.” — Newsweek

“An inspiring story. Sticky is a true original, and de la peña has skillfully brought him to life.” — School Library Journal, (Starred)

“Riveting.” — Booklist

“Stunningly realistic.” — Voice of Youth Advocates

“The characters live and breathe. . . . This is a must-read.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“De la Peña does an excellent job of combining the streets with the sport. Gritty and mesmerizing.” — Kirkus Reviews