The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

August 4, 2018

Josh and Jordan Bell are twin brothers who rule the basketball court and look up to their father, Chuck “Da Man” Bell, who himself was a star on the court in his younger days. The twins are tight and together they are usually undefeatable, but when girls and jealousy begins to crack their foundation, it changes everything.

As the twins crave their father’s approval more and more and Jordan gets the new girl at school along with the loudest cheers at the games, Josh starts to feel left behind. He’s used to having Jordan and his father next to him, always talking about hoops and dunks, but the family dynamic is changing. Jordan is spending a lot of time with his girlfriend and their dad’s health is starting to crumble, leaving the family worried and uncertain about the future.

This book has received high praise and many good reviews along with a few prestigious literary awards. Personally, I didn’t like it all that much. The book is written in verse, which is something I have become quite fond of, but while some passages rhyme, most do not. Now and then you are met with a page of solid, rhyming lyrics (that easily meets the standards of Kanye or Jay-Z) but it did mess up the reading pace with the changing flow. I also really do not think it’s realistic that Josh and Jordan are only supposed to be 12 years old. The way they talk about girls, sports and college.. Even the cover shows a more mature person! I had 15-16 year old boys in my mind throughout the whole read (sorry to the author for not staying true to your vision).

On a more positive note, I really appreciated the family dynamic and how the author used the ball and the court as metaphors for feelings and situations. The ending was incredibly strong and it’s one of the first books about sports that got my attention, so hey, that’s a big win either way!

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