Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“‘If I don’t make it to the NBA I’ll kill myself. I know it don’t sound so good when I say it, Annie, but that’s how I feel. There ain’t nothin else I wanna do. Just play ball.

De la Peña, Matt. Ball Don’t Lie.  Delacorte Press, 2005. 280 pages. Hardcover. $8.99, ISBN 978-0-385-902588

Matt de la Peña is one of my new favorite authors. I did a lesson for my high schoolers introducing Matt, book talking a few of his books, and practicing writing a story from a primary source picture just like he did with Last Stop on Market Street.

I became intrigued by Matt after reading “Sometimes The ‘Tough Teen’ Is Quietly Writing Stories”

 

From School Library Journal (Courtesy of Amazon.com)

“Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–That white boy can ball….He don’t play like no regular white boy. Sticky, 17, has spent his life being abused by pimps living with his prostitute mother, bouncing from one foster home to another, and living on the street between failed placements. But he’s developed incredible hoop skills that have given him considerable social standing among his mostly black peers. And he gets a girlfriend named Anh-thu, who loves him and wants to help him reach his dreams. Sticky sees basketball as his way out of his dead-end life and is determined to make the right moves in the game to attain his goal. But he doesn’t quite know how to make the right moves in his life, until a bad decision leads him to confront dark secrets. Jumping back and forth in time, this first novel has a unique narrative voice that mixes street lingo, basketball jargon, and trash talk to tell Sticky’s sorry saga from a variety of viewpoints. Although readers who are not familiar with basketball may have trouble following some of the detailed game action, even they will be involved in the teen’s at once depressing and inspiring story. Sticky is a true original, and de la Peña has skillfully brought him to life.–Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego”

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

Ball Don’t Lie was made into a movie. Unfortunately, it’s rated R.

 

 

Want to learn more about Matt de la Pena? Click Here for an interview with Matt de la Peña.

 

Awards

  • An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults
  • An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
Courtesy of mattdelapena.com

  Courtesy of mattdelapena.com

Matt de la Peña’s
 Website ,
Facebook,
and
Twitter Account 

 

 

I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“‘I see me pushing Devon off the cliff.

Him in the air reaching, ricocheting off the ice plant cliff, hitting the sand, people circling his crooked body.

The grunion coming from the ocean.

Olivia crying in her hands.”

De la Peña, Matt. I Will Save You.  Ember, 2010. 306 pages. Hardcover. $8.99, ISBN 978-0-329-88994-4

I loved this book! I was rooting for Kidd throughout the entire book. But, this book had a twist I would not have expected in a million years. You’ll have to read it to believe it.

From Booklist (courtesy of Amazon.com):

“After running away from a group home, 17-year-old Kidd Ellison sets up camp at a beach, where he is put to work by Mr. Red, an aging surfer who runs a maintenance shop. Hardworking and handsome, if somewhat slow, Kidd begins to make friends with some of the camp’s teens, especially Olivia, a blond beauty who wears a ski cap that covers part of her face regardless of the weather. Then Devon, Kidd’s former best friend and nemesis, finds Kidd and threatens to destroy the peaceful life that he has fallen into. De la Peña has crafted a taut psychological novel that will both frustrate and fascinate readers. Narrated by Kidd, it moves from the immediate past and a possible murder to the present, then to the far past, constantly offering clues to the mysteries of Kidd’s sad and violent life. The intriguing, well-developed characters introduce themes of class and gender friction, creating a puzzling and sobering yet strangely hopeful book that will stay with readers. Grades 8-11. –Frances Bradburn –“

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

 

Want to learn more about Matt de la Pena? Click Here for an interview with Matt de la Peña.

 

Awards

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
  • Finalist for the 2011 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
  • Named to 2012-2013 Texas High School TAYSHAS Reading List
Courtesy of mattdelapena.com

  Courtesy of mattdelapena.com

Matt de la Peña’s
 Website ,
Facebook,
and
Twitter Account 

 

 

Every Day by David Leviathan

Courtesy of FCPS TLC

“‘Every day I am someone else. I am myself—I know I am myself—but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.”

Levithan, David. Every Day.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 322 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-307-93188-7

What would you do if you woke up every morning in a different body? Sometime a male body, sometimes a female, sometimes a drug addict, sometimes you were gay, sometimes you were athletic, sometimes you were suicidal. You just had to make it through that one day without causing harm to the person whose body you were in. You never had a family or a home to call your own. You just floated from one body to the next until one day, you fell in love and all that mattered was being with that one person no matter whose body you were in. What would you do? How would you survive? Imagine…

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

 David Leviathan’s Website 
Facebook
and
Twitter Account 

 

 

Schooled by Gordon Korman

HRS Schooled

Courtesy of FCPS.org TLC

“‘I was thirteen the first time I saw a police officer up close. He was arresting me for driving without a license. At the time, I didn’t even know what a license was. I wasn’t too clear on what being arrested meant either.”

Korman, Gordon. Schooled.  Disney-Hyperion, 2008. 224 pages. Paperback. $5.99, ISBN 978-1423105169

Cap – short for Capricorn – has always lived on Garland Farm Commune, population two, with his grandmother, Rain. The only time he has left the farm is to pick up supplies. When Rain falls out of a tree and has to go to rehab, Cap is forced to live with a social worker, Florimunda, who just happened to live at the commune as a child. Cap is also enrolled in middle school for the first time ever. Imagine Cap – long hair – tye-dyed t-shirts – homemade sandals – being thrown into middle school. He’s never eaten pizza, watched TV, or played a video game. He practices tai chi on the school’s front lawn. Zach, big man on campus, is out to get him by getting him elected president, so that he can humiliate him. Can Cap survive middle school? What’s going to happen to him?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Gordon Korman’s
 Website 
and
Twitter Account 

 

 

Framed by Gordon Korman

“‘We do trust you,’ Mom soothed. ‘It’s just that most parents don’t even go through this once. Our street is starting to look like the parking lot of the police station.'”

Korman, Gordon. Framed.  Scholastic, 2010. 234 pages. Hardcover. $8.99, ISBN 978-0-545-27081-6

Griffin Bing, “The Man with the Plan”, has a history of getting in trouble. Always in the name of “fairness” but still, he’s got a reputation. This time though, he didn’t do it. A Super Bowl ring, donated to his Middle School has gone missing from the school display case. It was replaced with Griffin’s retainer, making Griffin the prime suspect. What follows will keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s an appearance before the judge, a transfer to a JFK school, affectionately called “Jail for Kids”, a foiled plan with his friends to find out who the real thief is, an ankle bracelet that prevents him from leaving home, and much, much, more. Will the true thief be discovered? Will Griffin have to go to jail? You’ve got to read this one to find out.

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Gordon Korman’s
 Website 
and
Twitter Account 

 

 

Fight Back by Brent R. Sherrard

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“There are two ways to handle being picked on. One is to lie down and give up. The other is to get angry and fight back. Not against my dad, because he would’ve killed me. But anyone else who ever messed with me only did it once

Sherrard, Brent. Fight Back. James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2014. 174 pages. Paperback. $9.95, ISBN 1-4594-0858-6

Tyler has had a rough life – really rough. When he was eleven, his mother left with his sister for a drive and never came back. Tyler was left with an angry drunk father who took his anger out on the only person left – Tyler. From here, Tyler was taken in and subsequently kicked out by his grandmother. What now?  Where would Tyler go? Tyler is taken in by the Conley’s who give him something he’s never had before – a safe and loving home. He even starts boxing to help control his anger. Will this be enough? Will he be able to let go of all the anger that has been building up for years? Will he be able to trust this new family? What about his father? Read this awesome book to find out.

 

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Courtesy of Writers Federation of New Brunswick

Available in:

Paperback

Library Binding

 

Want to learn more about Brent R Sherrard? Click here to learn more.

One Death. Nine Stories. edited by Marc Aronson & Charles R. Smith Jr.

HRS One Death Nine StoriesThis interesting book includes nine different stories by nine different authors that all are somehow related to the suicide of one person, Kevin Nicholas. I included the School Library Journal review because I think they did a really great job of summarizing the book for you. Enjoy!

Aronson, Marc & Charles R. Smith Jr. One Death. Nine Stories. Candlewick Press, 2014. 148 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-7636-5285-2

From School Library Journal

“Gr 9 Up—Kevin Nicholas, a popular high school football player, has committed suicide, though readers don’t know that at first. In fact, through nine stories, each told by a different author and from a different point of view, readers come to know only a little about Kevin himself. Instead, readers observe the reactions of Kevin’s sister, his best friends, people who barely knew him, even of the funeral home workers who handles his body. The death of a teenager, especially by his own hand, can be impossible to understand, but lives don’t stop just because one life did. Each chapter deals with the process of initiation, acceptance, growing up, and moving on even in the face of death. The authors included are all well-known young adult writers, such as Ellen Hopkins, Rita Williams-Garcia, and A. S. King, and it is clear that they know and understand their audience. Despite the differing perspectives and characters, the writing is remarkably consistent in tone. The vignette feel of each section may appeal to reluctant readers who can manage a narrative in small chunks without losing the arc of the story itself. More enthusiastic readers will devour it whole. Keep it in mind as bibliotherapy, should the unfortunate need arise, or as a springboard for journaling or creative writing.—Katherine Koenig, The Ellis School, PA”

Available in:

Hardcover

Kindle Edition

Audible

MP3 CD

Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

“Tom Boy. What does that even mean? And where did it come from? And if there’s a Tom Boy, how come there’s no Jane Girl? I’m just saying’.” 

Grimes, Nikki. Planet Middle School.  Bloomsbury, 2011. 154 pages. Hardcover. $15.99, ISBN 978-1-59990-284-5

Joylin is twelve years old and a tom boy. She loves to play basketball. She doesn’t wear dresses or makeup. Her best friends are Jake and KeeLee. Keelee is a PK (preacher’s kid). All is great until her body starts to change on the inside and the outside and then – things get interesting. She starts to notice the boys and she starts to want to be noticed. You’ll have to read this heart warming and humorous novel in poem form to find out if Joylin stays true to who she is?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

 
Nikki Grimes’ Website 

 

 

Edge of Ready by L.B. Tillit

HRS Edge of Ready

“I should not have gone. But I did. I should not have gone in the back bedroom with Evron. But I did. It should have made me feel beautiful. But it didn’t.” 

Tilt, L. B.. Edge of Ready.  Saddleback, 2012. 192 pages. Paperback. $9.95, ISBN 978-1-61651-778-6

Dani’s mom always told her that school came first. That was until her mom needed her to miss school to watch her brother Benny –  a lot. Dani thought her best friend Ruth’s older brother was hot. That was until she found herself in a relationship with him that she didn’t like and couldn’t get out of. Dani had determination. She found a way to finish her senior year by going to a night program and she thought she could just avoid Evron but that all ended one night when Evron pulled her into his car, raped her, and threw her out on the ground. Then everything changed. The determination and drive that Dani had became overshadowed by her fear. Will she be able to overcome her fears and go back to school? What happens to Evron ? Will he go to jail? You’ll have to read to find out.

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

 HRS LB Tillit
L.B. Tillit’s Website 

 

 

True Detective by Norah McClintock

HRS Tru Detective

“She was dumped in and alley, but she wasn’t killed there. That’s why they’re going for a search warrant.”

McClintock, Norah. Tru Detective. Orca Book Publishers, 2015. 128 pages. Paperback. $19.95, ISBN 978-1-4598-0379-4

 When Truman’s girlfriend, Natasha, didn’t show up for their date, he was mad and too proud to call her. He got drunk and trashed his house. He was awakened the next morning by the police. Natasha was dead – found in an alley – and Truman is the prime suspect. Things aren’t looking good for Truman so he starts an investigation of his own. He finds out Natasha wasn’t really who she said she was – nothing was exactly as he thought. Will he get to the bottom of this and find out the real truth? Will he find the real killer? Or will he be arrested for her murder? You’ll have to read to find out.

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Available:

Paperback

 

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© Chris Peeler 2013