The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

Overview -

2015 Newbery Medal Winner
2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner
New York Times Bestseller

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering.  Read more...

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More About The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

2015 Newbery Medal Winner
2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner
New York Times Bestseller

"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 from Kwame Alexander.

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.

  • ISBN-13: 9780544107717
  • ISBN-10: 0544107713
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish Date: March 2014
  • Page Count: 237
  • Reading Level: Ages 10-13
  • Dimensions: 8.64 x 5.66 x 0.89 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.79 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Sports & Recreation - Basketball
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Family - Siblings
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Family - Parents

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-01-20
  • Reviewer: Staff

Josh Bell, known on and off the court by the nickname Filthy McNasty, doesn’t lack self-confidence, but neither does he lack the skills to back up his own mental in-game commentary: “I rise like a Learjet—/ seventh-graders aren’t supposed to dunk./ But guess what?/ I snatch the ball out of the air and/ SLAM!/ YAM! IN YOUR MUG!” Josh is sure that he and his twin brother, JB, are going pro, following in the footsteps of their father, who played professional ball in Europe. But Alexander (He Said, She Said) drops hints that Josh’s trajectory may be headed back toward Earth: his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys’ father health is in increasingly shaky territory. The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh’s sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worthy triumph to profound pain. This verse novel delivers a real emotional punch before the final buzzer. Ages 9–12. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Mar.)

BookPage Reviews

A tale of two brothers

BookPage Children's Top Pick, April 2014

“Work smart / Live smarter / Play hard / Practice harder / Love, Dad” The Crossover is a novel-in-verse, with long flows of prose that spill out a tale of family, love, loss and basketball.

Josh and his twin brother Jordan live for the game and plan to play at rival colleges. Their mother is tough but fair with the boys, but she tries in vain to persuade their father to make healthier choices. An ex-player whose pro dreams faded after an injury, he lives through the boys’ achievements while wolfing down Krispy Kremes. One crisis leads to another, and soon the family is mourning an irreplaceable loss.

The Crossover will appeal to basketball fans, and it will likely grab reluctant readers with its quick wordplay, deft rhymes and kinetic, poetic take on the game. “The bass booms. / The crowd looms. / There’s music and mocking, / teasing nonstop, but / when the play begins / all the talk ceases.” Author Kwame Alexander has made a gift to teachers with this book: References to classical and jazz music (Josh’s dad nicknamed him “Filthy McNasty” after a Horace Silver song), probability (Jordan places bets on nearly everything) and the geometry of the game open up plenty of study topics without ever losing a step. Jordan’s fledgling romance and the strain it puts on the brothers’ relationship will draw sympathy from anyone who has ever felt deserted by a friend.

The title refers to a move made on the court, but The Crossover is destined to reach—and touch—readers who never gave basketball or poetry a second thought until now. It’s tough, muscular writing about a tender, unguarded heart.


Heather Seggel reads too much and writes all about it in Northern California.

BAM Customer Reviews