Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

Fast talking basketball kid Josh lives for the game.  It makes sense since his father Chuck "Da Man" Bell was a player in his own right back in the day.  Chuck played the European League, but now stays home to take care of the house while Josh's mom is the Vice Principal at his school.  Josh's twin Jordan (JB) lives for basketball too, but things are starting to shift.

Miss Sweet Tea in her pink Reeboks has caught JB's attention, and Josh isn't quite sure how to be without JB.  He finds himself missing his brother's wisecracks and bets.  He's not used to being one.  Even on the court their flow has changed, and Josh crosses a line in a way that he wouldn't have even considered before.

Girls and basketball aren't the only things that the Bell family is dealing with.  Mrs. Bell is trying, trying, trying to get Chuck to deal with his health issues.  He is a man who likes his treats, he gets fired up over his sons' games, and he simply refuses to see a doctor despite his spells.

This story of the love of the game, shifting allegiances and family will take readers on a journey they are not likely to forget.  There's a rawness and realness to Josh both on and off the court.  Alexander's free verse brings the pace of the story up, but there are moments that give the reader real pause as well. For example in Basketball Rule #3 Alexander writes:" Never let anyone / lower your goals. / Others' expectations / of you are determined / by their limitations / of life. / The sky is your limit, sons. / Always shoot / for the sun / and you will shine."  And the poem Dear Jordan will leave you breathless.

The Crossover is a quick read, but it is a book that should and will be reread. Add this to your TBR pile, asap!

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