Growing up as a sporty girl, I read many books about strong female athletes and their struggles and successes on and off the playing field. But I also read many incredible books about male athletes. So, when I heard about THE CROSSOVER, before its Newberry fame, I considered picking it up, but just couldn't imagine a book in verse from the POV of a basketball playing African American middle schooler. I imagined it would be like a poorly written rap song. (Sorry Kwame Alexander!)
But then, it won the Newberry and I had to give it another look. I don't like to be judged by my cover or by the little that someone might know about me before I get on the playing field, and I regret misjudging this book in the same way.
THE CROSSOVER is deep, it's powerful, and it made me cry more than I've cried in a rather long time while reading a book. One part in particular includes a letter to his brother that can be read as two separate poems or together as one. I pulled at my heart and made me ache in a way I didn't know was possible. This book is sports, it is family, it is about hardship and loss, and it is real, written in verse and all. I hope that our sporty girl readers will give it a try, too.
"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.