The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

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The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Twins Josh and Jordan love basketball and have a strong bond, but the arrival of a new girl at school threatens to drive a deep rift between them.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 240 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Andersen Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783223673

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Josh Bell

is my name

But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame.

Folks call me that

'cause my game's acclaimed.

So downright dirty, it'll put you to shame.

Josh and his twin brother Jordan live, eat and breathe basketball. It's not surprising, given that their father, Da Man, is a retired baller, directing all of his energy into raising the next generation of players. Mum, as vice principal of their school, is more level-headed and believes that education should come first. She doesn't want her boys to waste their potential.

Being twins, Josh and Jordan are extremely close and their shared love of basketball only serves to strengthen that bond. They feel invincible and unbreakable, but something is about to change all of that: the arrival of the pulchritudinous new girl with the pink Reeboks.

The whole book is written in verse, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is a lightweight read. Crossover ventures into some deep and dark territory, including relationship breakdowns, jealousy and loss. The narrative expertly swerves from laugh-out loud funny to deeply moving without missing a beat. It's gripping stuff and I couldn't put it down. I wasn't surprised to learn that this book has been the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious John Newberry Medal. This is a book for teens who don't think they like reading; the wordplay is outstanding.

Another aspect of the book that impressed me was the depth of the characters themselves. Each individual has a well-rounded personality that allows the reader to empathise with their situation. The protagonist, Josh, seems to ooze confidence and self-assurance on the court, but we learn that beneath the surface he is quite insecure. The breakdown of his relationship with this brother and declining health of his father almost bring him to breaking point. As a result, we care deeply for him and want everything to turn out well in the end.

The story has more twists and turns than a basketball game and is a powerful read. Confident young readers and teens will lap it up, but adults shouldn't be quick to dismiss it as a children's book; it has a universal appeal that spans generations.

I loved this book. It is fresh and new and offers something genuinely different. I challenge anyone to try and read it all the way through without rapping some of the verses...

My shot is F L O W I N G, Flying, fLuTtErInG


ringaling and SWINGALING



Teen readers and adults alike will also enjoy Tall Story by Candy Gourlay, a moving story about the relationship between basketball prodigy Andi and her half-brother Bernardo.

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Buy The Crossover by Kwame Alexander at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Crossover by Kwame Alexander at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Crossover by Kwame Alexander at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Crossover by Kwame Alexander at


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