- Craig Graziano
In The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, Josh and his brother JB are the stars of their school basketball team. The sons of professional baller Charlie "Da Man" Bell are a force to be reckoned with. That is fine when Josh and JB work together, but trash talk, a family crisis, and a new girl is about to come between these two, making teamwork nearly impossible.
Josh is the only seventh grader who can dunk, but his brother is a free throw master. When the girl in the pink Reeboks sets her sights on JB, Josh can't help but feel jealous. Dad tries to offer some life lessons, but Josh's thinks he should be paying more attention to his diet and health. The pressure builds to an on-court blowup, and now Josh and JB must learn to forgive each other.
With its free verse poetry format, The Crossover is the literary equivalent of an all-star player, moving quickly and effortlessly before going in for a three-pointer. The words dance across and down the page namechecking the greats of jazz and hip-hop. The writing style and subject make for a breezy read.
Though the sports segments are enjoyable, Alexander is ultimately focused how a loving family deals with the ups and downs of life. For fans of basketball and poetry, The Crossover is an absolute slam dunk!