By Kwame Alexander
Houghton Mifflin, 2014. 237 pgs. Young Adult
“A bolt of lightning on my kicks…
the court is sizzling.
My sweat is drizzling.
Stop all that quivering.
Cuz tonight I’m delivering.”
Adults, do not be fooled by the Newbery medal on the cover—this book is for young and old alike. Josh Bell, a fourteen-year-old basketball phenomenon, raps his coming of age story through poetic verse. Josh and his twin brother start to grow apart, and their father’s health starts to take a turn for the worst.
Many young adult readers can relate to the growing complexity of the brothers’ relationships, as well as the pressure to succeed in competitive sports. Adult readers can relate to how Josh’s parents try communicate with their boys. The poetic style of the story really speaks straight from the heart, getting the point across without any superfluous prose in the way. The audiobook version is well worth a try, as the rap-style lends itself perfectly to be spoken aloud. Whether you choose to read or listen, The Crossover will leave a lasting impression.