The Crossover

by Kwame Alexander

Paper Book, 2014



Local notes

Fic Ale



Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2014].


Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.


Physical description

22 cm





User reviews

LibraryThing member ChristianR
The 2015 Newbery Award winner, and well deserved. Written in prose. Basketball is life for Josh, his twin Jordan and their father, a former NBA player. It all seems so simple until Jordan gets a girlfriend, Josh feels left out, and their Dad starts to show signs of heart trouble, even though he brushes it off. A quick read, sure to relate to boys, and written with heart. This won after a year of calls for diversity within children's books, and I hope people don't think that it won just because the committee realized we need more diversity in our books. This book won because it's fabulous.… (more)
LibraryThing member bell7
Josh Bell and his twin brother Jordan are basketball phenoms at their middle school - and why wouldn't they be, considering their father was a pro player in a European league? Their team is undefeated and in narrative poems, Josh tells the story of one season of basketball and life.

You don't particularly have to be a fan of poetry or basketball to enjoy this year's Newbery Award winner - at least, I'm not either. The various styles of poetry are really well done, with some of them reading like you might hear at a poetry slam and mimicking the rhythm of dribbling a ball. I liked how basketball descriptions and definitions were incorporated into the text, and the family dynamics ring true. The style of writing also makes it very fast reading for those students coming in looking to read a Newbery award winner; recommended for fans of realistic and sports fiction.… (more)
LibraryThing member EuronerdLibrarian
My initial thoughts were blah blah free verse sports blah—how boring. But actually, it was wonderful. It took a while to get going (for me), but soon I was routing for these boys and their family and feeling their pain. With his verse, Alexander captures the excitement, attitude and rhythm of the sports, portrays the humor and playfulness of home life, and he breaks our hearts with deeply felt emotions. I loved the basketball rules which translate (of course) to very valuable life wisdom. I would love to see how kids respond to this (esp. boys).… (more)
LibraryThing member ewyatt
A novel in verse explores the middle school basketball season and lives of two star players and twin brothers. Their dad is Da Man, a former professional baller who has lots of love for his family and health problems he is denying. The brothers feel a rift when JB has his first girlfriend and Josh feels alone.
I ate up this book. It is a quick, fun, and heartfelt read.… (more)
LibraryThing member lindamamak
Story of twins brothers in eighth grade star basketball players, told in verse.
LibraryThing member mamzel
Josh, nicknamed Filthy McNasty by his dad after a jazz song, has a twin brother and the two of them together are an unstoppable force on the basketball court. In eighth grade, they are on top of the world. That is, until things start happening that force them apart. His brother, JB, gets a girlfriend and his father comes to terms with his history of hypertension and fear/distrust of doctors and hospitals.

A novel in verse, the rhythm beats like a ball on the court carrying the reader through the story of Josh's highs and lows.
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LibraryThing member kimpiddington
This book has it all: voice, engaging characters, heart. BRAVO!
LibraryThing member DonnaMarieMerritt
Wow. Need a way to turn a boy into a poetry lover—or anyone into a poetry lover? This middle grade novel in verse is about so much more than basketball. It's about family relationships, priorities, dealing with preteen/teen emotions . . . While I found one of the poems near the end to be a bit on the didactic side, it didn't take away from the story. And such a mix of poems! From the high energy of the basketball poems to the vocabulary poems (woven masterfully into the story) to the heartache poems, the story moved briskly along. In fact, I had to slow myself down so that I could reflect on some of the words (even though I was anxious to find out what was going to happen next). I highly recommend this from fifth grade right up to adults. Kwame Alexander, congratulations on this book and your well-deserved Newbery medal.… (more)
LibraryThing member foggidawn
Twelve-year-old Josh Bell is a basketball player, just like his dad, hoping to be as famous as his dad was, someday. Josh and his twin brother Jordan have been inseparable, on the court and off, all their lives. This year, though, things are changing. Jordan has a girlfriend, and Josh is, let's face it, a little bit jealous. When a spur-of-the-moment bad choice leads to Josh's suspension from the basketball team, he has to face up to more than one issue in his life and in his family.

More than a novel about basketball, this is a story of family dynamics that tugs the heartstrings with its pitch-perfect voice. I'm loving the fact that this Newbery medal winner is a book that I'll be able to recommend to all kinds of readers: sports fans, lovers of verse novels, readers who like a good story about siblings and families . . . really, anyone who enjoys a good, solid read.
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LibraryThing member chrisriggleman
As a fan of basketball this book had the hook waiting for me to grab it. What I found was something remarkably more than I could have even conceived. The free form poetry was amazing and had me smiling and grinning throughout the book. I just was not expecting that at all. It only added to the story even more. The way in which the author sometimes arranged the words on the page had you eating out of the palm of his hands.
The two brothers are portrayed by my favorite analogy in the book. As two goals on the opposite side of the court but identical. Everything down to how they played the same game was different. But they both had the love for the game. And it was fueled by their father who was a legend in his own right. He had a championship ring and was Da Man.
One of the most interesting things to me were the pages that the author defines a word and uses it in many situations that had just transpired in the book.
Everything about the family dynamic is amazing. Except the fathers vice for fired and fatty foods. The same thing killed his father so he has been skeptical of hospitals ever since. It even stopped him from playing in the NBA for the LA Lakers.
Everything about this book is so intensely personal. And the perspective is great. Two brother united through basketball. United because of their fathers love. Separated because of a girlfriend. All of this is told through their interactions on the court, which can be seen at the best of times and at the worst of times.
I have never had a brotherly bond like these two twin brothers have. And their bond may have been broken but it is strengthened by their father. And even more so after he passes away, from the same heart disease as his father.
Such a great book that I literally could not stop reading it.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
Free verse is a powerful tool in the hands of a gifted author. This Newberry award winner shows how it is done right. Twins, Josh and Jordan, live for their middle school basketball games. With their mother the assistant principal at the school and their father a professional basketball ball player they are expected to keep grades up and play hard. The crossover, moving ball from hand to hand to deceive the opponent, is tough, but dad is insistent they can do it. Continual worry about their dad proves right when he is hospitalized for heart trouble and dies. The characters are true to life and likeable middle schools crossing over to adulthood.… (more)
LibraryThing member MaowangVater
Josh Bell a/k/a "Filthy McNasty" and his brother Jordan Bell a/k/a "JB" are the stars of Reggie Lewis Junior High basketball team. The only way to tell them apart: Josh's dreads and Jordan's shaved head, also as Josh likes to point out at age almost thirteen he's an in taller than his twin and can dunk the ball. They are tight on the court and tight at home and school—until the new girl at school steals JB's heart and takes him away from his brother. Now he has to walk home alone.

Alexander’s poems come at you as fast as thundering sneakers squealing and squeaking as they chase the rhythm of the ball pounding up and down the court. It’s a championship performance of accessible pyrotechnic verse with an explosive tale of basketball, family, and looming tragedy.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Two twin brothers, the son of a great basketball player, play ball together but grow apart when one of the twins has a girlfriend. Things between the two brothers grow worse as their father shows signs of illness. All written in poetry. Newbery Award winner, and deservedly so.
LibraryThing member DanielleMD
This book ripped my heart out. The ending was devastating. Wow.
It's one of the most original children's fiction books I've read. Written in verse. Extremely readable. Very well done.
LibraryThing member JenW1
I read this book for my MLIS "Resources for Children" class. It's a great read that makes you feel while at the same time entertaining you. Told from a 12yo boy's point of view, in poetic form, it was fun and sad and real. Recommended.
LibraryThing member rdwhitenack
A book in verse that I read in an hour or two. Suffers from many of the awkward nuances that sports books do, but pairing it with verse makes it work a lot better. Josh is a twin and son of a former pro player. His father suffers from a heart disease which looms as a threat. Girls, basketball, his mom (also his school's AP), and his dad's disease combine to make this young mans life tumultuous.… (more)
LibraryThing member JPEmmrich5
I really enjoyed this book. I read it with my son who I thought would enjoy it because he loves basketball. It is written in poems or raps which made it a little difficult for my son to follow at first but he did end up getting into the book. The design of the words on the pages was fun to see and the descriptions of the twins in action on the court were beautifully written. I didn't share those as my passages because you really have to SEE the words and read the poems in context to enjoy them properly. I would recommend this book for middle school age children.… (more)
LibraryThing member asomers
I had to see if it lived up to all of the praise that I had heard and it certainly did. This is a book in verse that will sing to your reluctant readers and fly off the shelves into the hands of middle school boys.
LibraryThing member asomers
I had to see if it lived up to all of the praise that I had heard and it certainly did. This is a book in verse that will sing to your reluctant readers and fly off the shelves into the hands of middle school boys.
LibraryThing member Debra_Armbruster
Fantastic! _The Crossover_ is a must read.

Kwame Alexander utilizes the space on his pages to full effect, playing with font and shape in ways reminiscent of e.e. cummings. Beautifully rendered verse coupled with basketball and growing pains. What's not to like?

A fantastic addition to any school library, I recommend _The Crossover_ for youth grades 6 and up.

2015 Newbery Medal Winner
2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner
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LibraryThing member klburnside
I wasn't super excited about reading last year's Newbery winner, despite the high ratings. Somehow a summary I skimmed of the book made me think the narrator was an arrogant preteen basketball player and the novel was just fun and action. I've also not really gotten into the "novel in verse genre" just yet.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The narrator was quite lovable and full of enthusiasm, but he also had a lot of insecurities and fears. I was surprised that the book had me in tears by the end.

The thing that bugs me about novels written in verse is that it seems like it is often just a gimmick. The writing is merely complete sentences broken up into random lines, and this fact doesn't really add anything to the story. If there is an attempt at rhythm or rhyme, it is so sporadic that it may as well not be there. I really liked that in this book Alexander picked certain sections that would have the rhythm and rhyme, and when it was done, it was done really well. He often used these devices in sections describing a basketball game, and as a reader, I could really feel the energy of the ball moving up the court and the adrenaline of the narrator as a part of the game.

The story was engaging and I was surprised by the depth of emotion. I think kids might actually like this one too, but who knows.
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LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
At first I was kind of bleh, but as I continued to listen I have to admit that the language is beautiful and the story is one that drew me in even though I'm not really into basketball. The family relationships and themes are universal.
LibraryThing member acargile
This novel will appeal to guys, especially those who play basketball. Girls will also like the novel because it’s a really good novel written in verse.

Josh and Jordan are thirteen year-old twins and the sons of a professional basketball player while their mother is the principal of their school. They’re good kids and really good at basketball. The novel-in-verse focuses on Josh’s point of view. He loves basketball and his family and he’s very responsible.

Josh and Jordan are close brothers, but Josh begins to feel abandoned by Jordan when he becomes infatuated with and starts to date the new girl. Life really doesn’t seem fair to Josh. He has to get his hair cut at the beginning and his loves his hair; his brother seems to be concentrating on Miss Sweet Tea instead of Josh or basketball; his parents are arguing more and more; and, Josh feels pressure to be a good person no matter what happens.

The novel does a great job foreshadowing what will happen at the end. You will feel such empathy for Josh and wish the end wasn’t coming because it’s too much for this kid who feels like he’s losing so much. The rhythm of the novel is fast-paced with characters who are believable and realistic as one character’s fatal flaw affects the rest. This novel will be hard to get out of your mind when you finish it.
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LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Exhilarating and heartfelt.
LibraryThing member matesewiggns
Crossover by written in verse is the story of African American twins Josh and JP who are in middle schoolers with excellent grades and are basketball stars in their school. Although Josh and JP are twins they are completely different on the basketball court and hairstyles. Josh and JP relationship is tested when JP is attracted to the new girl in school and Josh is left fending for himself. The novel theme is family, basketball, dreams, and rhythm. The novel's format is especially important while reading this book because it flows like a basketball game through rhythm.… (more)




(307 ratings; 4.4)
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