Seventeen year old Sticky has been in and out of foster homes for years since tragedy struck his family. He has gone looking for himself and has found the Lincoln Rec Center where guys, primarily black guys, go to play basketball and school themselves in the rules of their reality and their game of life.
Is he a good guy or a bad guy? It will be up to you to decide as you watch Sticky make his choices about shoplifting, fighting, and destroying property. What would you do if you were in his shoes? How far would you go?
Telling the story of the forgotten kids, the hoodie wearing kids, this is a gritty, heartfelt and authentic story of growing up without the four bedroom house, the two car garage, and the parents who are busy driving you from practice to the mall. Do these kids matter? How are they so different from their middle class/upper class peers?
For Seeker and Joan of Arc readers, this is right on the money. Matt de la Pena really gets what the world looks like from these kids' point of view and he feels their feelings and reveals them so even they can understand themselves. Finding your place to stand is tough even when you're starting from ahead of the starting line. It's really tough when you're standing way behind the line.
Blogger Brenda Kahn sent Matt de la Pena his best comment ever. A librarian in New Jersey, Brenda really "gets" her middle schoolers and she told Matt, "Thank you for giving my boys a place to feel." That says it all.
Ages 14 and up (Language, sexuality, violence) 285 pages
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com