Crossover by Kwame Alexander won the Newbery Award last year. Though marketed for younger readers, this title has crossover appeal to teens and even adults. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Review: Crossover is a fun read that can be enjoyed by sports fans and reluctant readers. This novel in verse is the story of Josh and Jordan (JB), identical twin sons of former basketball phenom Chuck "Da Man" Bell, are ball legends themselves, and they aren't yet thirteen. Josh is the only kid in his school who can dunk, while JB has a mean three-point shot, and together they're a well-oiled machine on the court. Josh and Jordan's relationship begins to change as JB gets a girlfriend and Josh loses his brother and friend, Their relationship is strained to the point of a mid-game altercation that lands Josh on the bench for weeks. In addition to not playing ball, there is the constant worry Josh has for his Dad's poor health.
Some readers tend to shy away from novel in verse books, but Alexander takes this fear away as the words on the page come alive. The exciting play-by-play game details makes you feel as if you are sitting in the stands at Josh's school cheering him and his brother on the court. There is also some insightful middle-school observations, and poignant portrayals of sibling dynamics and familial love. The words move on their own as the wordplay and alliteration roll out like hip-hop lyrics, and the use of concrete forms and playful font changes keep things dynamic. This is a quick read that I think many readers will enjoy.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.
If you like this book try: D-Bow's high school hoops series by Ken Waltman, Hoops by Walter Dean Myers, Travel Team by Mike Lupica