Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (2014)

Jordan and Josh Bell are twins who play basketball, following in the footsteps of their father who once played professionally. As basketball season gets underway, the two boys get into a variety of disagreements while at the same time arriving at the realization that their father might have a serious medical problem for which he is stubbornly refusing to seek treatment.

I listened to the audiobook version of this novel in verse, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. I knew the story was sad, but somehow the poetry format combined with the audiobook narration made that manageable for me. Because this book is a Newbery winner, I was skeptical that it would actually be any good, but the writing did turn out to be engaging and distinctive. Alexander writes everything well: the sports scenes, the dialogue of middle school boys, the family dynamics, Jordan's relationshp with his girlfriend, and the sibling relationship between the twins. Every aspect of the book is appealing, and there is something for everyone to relate to, even readers who aren't big on sports. (In that way, it reminded me a lot of Jason Reynolds's Track series.)

Corey Allen does a great job reading this for the audiobook. Days later, I can still hear his voice in my head as I think back over the story. I would definitely listen to more books narrated by him. I'm also already planning my next Kwame Alexander read, which I think is going to be Booked.

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