By Teresa G.
By Kwame Alexander
Copyright: 2014 HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic Fiction; Novels in verse
Twins JB and Josh Bell share a love of basketball and are all-stars on their junior high team. Though identical, each have their own distinct personalities. Josh loves Duke University, words like "pulchritudinous " and his family. JB loves girls, gambling and idolizes Michael Jordan. He takes it to near stalker levels. When a girl enters the picture, AKA "Miss Sweet Tea," both boys fall head over heels and everything changes. For the first time in their lives, the boys grow apart and only tragedy will bring them back together.
My favorite character in The Crossover is the boys father, Chuck, a former pro basketball player. The sweetest part of this novel is the conversations he has with his boys, reminding them of the important things in life. He teaches the boys many life lessons through basketball, as seen in his basketball rules. One of my favorites is Rule #1: “In this game of life / your family is the court / and the ball is your heart.” Equating the team to family, he teaches the boys about the importance of teamwork.
It's been a long time since I read a book as powerful as The Crossover. Kwame Alexander is a poetic genius! He's written an energetic, realistic fiction novel in free verse which will have great appeal with middle school boys. With its hip-hop style, this novel has game. From the very first page, Alexander draws you in and makes you want more. I highly recommend this book to any reader.