Review Blog

Jul 15 2015

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

cover image

Houghton Mifflin, 2014. ISBN 9780544107717
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Verse novel. Basketball. Sibling rivalry. 2015 Newbery Medal Winner. 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner. YALSA Top 10 Best fiction for young adults. Josh and Jordan are twins, whose father was Da Man a talented basketball player. They both excel at basketball too, but Josh has a flair for poetry and writes the story of their lives:
Josh Bell
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame
Folks call me that
'cause my game's acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it'll put you to shame.
This is a fabulous read. The poetry takes the reader on a wonderful journey about basketball:
Be careful though,
'cause now I'm CRUNKing
CrissCROSSING
FLOSSING
flipping
and my dipping will leave you
S
L
I
P
P
I
N
G on the floor, while I
SWOOP in
to the finish with a fierce finger roll...
Straight in the hole:
Swoooooooooosh.

Basketball may be a key theme, but Josh relates the issues that he is going through with his family at home. His twin has a new girlfriend and is ignoring him. His father is not well but has a horror of hospitals and doctors and refuses to seek help and his mother is the assistant principal at his school and has high expectations of him. All these factors come together in a heart wrenching climax.
This would be fabulous read aloud, as a class novel or as an introduction to poetry forms. It has something for everyone and I am certain that once it is picked up, even by the most reluctant reader, it will be exceptionally hard to put down.
Pat Pledger

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