The Crossover (hardcover)
by Kwame Alexander
AR Level 4.3, 2 points
John Newbery Award 2015, Coretta Scott King Award
The Crossover is the second of Kwame Alexander’s novels I have read, and it did not disappoint. Josh (“Filthy McNasty”) and Jordan (JB) are twins in junior high. Their father is a retired basketball player and their mother is their assistant principal. Both boys are star basketball players, but JB finds a girlfriend and starts to lose focus on basketball, and this creates a rift in their relationship. Josh finds himself in trouble when he injures his brother during a game in a fit of rage, but the brothers have to come together to support their family in a time of tragedy.
What I liked about this book was that it was very relatable for athletic boys who enjoy books about boys their own age. I have several boys in my class who are athletic and need books they can relate to. There are lots of themes throughout the book outside of sports, though… family, resentment towards siblings, new love, fear, etc. Although it is boy-centered, it is so well-written that girls will also enjoy this book. It is written in verse, and that’s a big appeal for those who enjoy the change-up. The chapters weren’t by number, either, but by quarter, and then finally, Overtime. That was pretty creative.
What I didn’t like about this book was that it was sad. I was kind of expecting the end, but my prediction changed part way through. It also hurt me to see these two brothers, who needed to stick together through tough times, estranged from each other. I felt like it was a little too realistic. There was one poem where I hurt for Josh and what he was going through. I think that’s what made it such a great read- it pulls at your emotions, even if you as the reader can’t relate to the character.
Book 7 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)