“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
While I was working on my undergraduate degree, I had to take a class called Young Adult Literature. There were many new authors I came across in the class, but one of my favorites was Kwame Alexander. This is due to his excellent work with “The Crossover.”
I love verse novels, and I eagerly latched onto this.
I have so far read this three times, and I have enjoyed it each time. The verse style helps in creating an amazing story about the journey of the main character. The way the words travel across the page while the main character, Josh, tells his story is amazing, and at times heartwrenching.
I have even read another book by him called “Booked.” This falls in line with “The Crossover” in that it follows a teenage boy dealing with personal issues.
Why is this chosen?
While this book isn’t part of a popular series like “The Lightning Thief,” it is extremely engaging and diverse.
Like I mentioned before, the verse novel lends to creating a flow throughout the story that captures the reader’s attention. It’s also written in a language that is normal and sounds like a casual conversation while also maintaining the vocabulary and voice of its characters.
Not only that, but the characters are relatable even if you don’t live the same life as them. There are many experiences that happen to both brothers over the course of the novel that other people will relate to.
It is because of this, as well as the serious topics it covers (Police Profiling, Health Issues, and Sibling Separation) that I believe it is chosen for summer reading. While this is fairly new in the summer reading arena, I believe it works due to it being an easy read and an attention grabber for students.