The Crossover

thecrossoverWritten by Kwame Alexander

Josh and Jordan are the twin stars of their junior high basketball team, held to extremely high expectations on and off the court: their dad is a retired professional basketball player, and their mom is also their assistant principal. Playing together they are unstoppable, but when Jordan starts spending more time with a girlfriend instead of the family, Josh gets jealous and conflicts between the brothers escalate. Meanwhile there is evidence that their dad has been downplaying his health issues.

This is a quick, engaging read as Alexander uses hip hop and jazz-inspired free verse to tell the story of these brothers. The writing really smokes with the energy on the court and the swagger of Josh’s personality, but it is no less serviceable in depicting small family interactions and Josh’s interior thoughts and feelings. This book is of course high-interest for basketball fans, but it’s also for anyone who loves a fully-realized relationship and character-based story about growing up. Tight and perfectly crafted in every way, this is one of the best middle grade books of the year. It should take home some awards.

Review by Josh Whiting, Library Specialist, Educational Technology Dept.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-9

I was not prepared to love this book. After all it is a book about basketball, boys who love basketball, basketball games, practices, wins and losses. But it is also a book about family, loyalty, love, determination, and competition. The best part of this book is the writing. Told in poetic verse it looks like it is just a basketball poetry book, but it is a complete novel told in prose and poems. It is an amazing book. It is catchy and fun, and rhythmic, bold, daring, and fast, and happy and sad. It is addictive. It is everything you love in a book. The story is about twin boys who play on the school team. Each has their own specialty- Jordan is great at free throws and long shots, and Josh has mastered slam dunks and lay-ups. Their dad has his own Championship ring and that is what the boys hope for their future as well. But will normal life get in the way? Will a girl ruin everything? And why won’t their dad go to the doctor when he is obviously having health issues? I highly recommend this book as a Beehive nominee. I think students will love it and it is a great way to demonstrate that poetry can be about anything and can be fun and can be the perfect way to tell this story.

Review by Terrie Bishop, Academy Park Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Author Website:

The Crossover
Written by Kwame Alexander
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
240 pages
Release Date: March 18, 2014
ISBN: 9780544107717 (hardcover)

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6 thoughts on “The Crossover”

  1. I was so pleasantly surprised this won the Newbery! I had picked it as an honor and thought Brown Girl Dreaming would beat it out for the medal, but it certainly is worthy. Glad both books received recognition,

  2. I really enjoyed this book and was glad to see it win the Newbery. It is quickly becoming a popular book at my school as well.

  3. I loved this book too and was amazed at how well the author captured the voices of the brothers. Great writing, great story!!

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