4 stars. 2015 Newbery Medal recipient.
Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover had all the makings of one of those Newbery Medal winners that hit all the right literary and cultural notes to be another tedious verse novel that no person, adult or child, could possibly enjoy. I’m not a huge basketball fan either, so somehow I put off reading this book for 7 months. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was the razor-sharp verse imbued with real life and flair as well as a love of language, but the story was moving and full of intense human drama. The Bell twins, Josh and Jordan, dream of being an even better basketball player than their father, whose promising pro career was cut short by injury. Each poem is an insightful, no-holds-barred look at the joy of sports and the bonds of family, and Josh’s voice carries the power of real passion for the game and love for his father (and brother, though sometimes that love goes awry).
I love being wrong when my snap judgment of a book is that I will not like it, and I’m very pleased to say that The Crossover is one of those cases.