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The Crossover

(The Crossover #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  45,234 ratings  ·  7,790 reviews
“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 fu ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Jill Leia has it right - middle grade fiction told in verse. It is wonderful poetry - but it is also exceptional in the broader category of middle grade fi…moreLeia has it right - middle grade fiction told in verse. It is wonderful poetry - but it is also exceptional in the broader category of middle grade fiction, with many tags such as: sports, family, death of parent, basketball, rap, siblings, twins, coming of age... (less)
Connie Compton I was fortunately to hear Kwame Alexander speak about this book (and read selections aloud!). He said wrote it for middle grades boys. I'm a teacher a…moreI was fortunately to hear Kwame Alexander speak about this book (and read selections aloud!). He said wrote it for middle grades boys. I'm a teacher and some of my 6th grade boys have read it and loved it.(less)
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Rick Riordan
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am late in reviewing this, but oh my goodness, what an amazing book. Kwame Alexander gives us a novel in verse -- a series of poems about twin brothers, JD and Jordan Bell, sons of a former pro basketball player, who are making their way through middle school as best they can -- navigating first crushes, homework, family tensions, and of course, basketball. I was in awe of Alexander's ability to tell such a rich, multifaceted story with so few words. Poetry is hard, at least for me, yet Alexan ...more
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
Here's an experiment I'd like a teacher to try for me. Don't "teach" this Newbery Award winner. Instead, place a copy of Crossover on each student's desk before they enter the classroom. Maybe upside down and backward to make it a bit more tempting. And then wait to see what happens.

If the students say, "Do we have to read this?" answer, "I was curious whether anyone would want to." If they say, "What are we going to do with this book?" answer, "I thought I'd ask you that question." If they ask
Kwame Alexander's The Crossover won both the Newberry and Coretta Scott King Awards for children's literature in 2014. Combining beautiful prose with poetry that jumps off the page, Alexander tells the story of twin thirteen year basketball players Jordan and Josh Bell in a manner that makes reading fun for middle grade kids. Using basketball as a metaphor for life, Alexander imparts life lessons to adolescents in a non threatening way that has teachers reaching for his books.

Josh and Jordan "J
Dear Mr. Kwame Alexander, You've got some explaining to do, Mister. You are officially responsible for the first big Ugly Cry of 2014, and I am not really happy about it. Thanks for the foreshadowing that did NOTHING to prepare me for this book. You hear me? NO. THING. NOTHING. You better hope we never cross paths, because I will have a few words for you. That is all. ...more
Laurie Anderson
Brilliant. Beautiful. Devastating. Uplifting.

I adored this book.
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I have said before I don't love verse novels. Do you know what I love even less? Basketball. Not a fan. Not even a little bit. With those two things working against it, I really didn't want to read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. But it's getting a lot of award buzz so I finally (rather petulantly) picked up a copy. Ahem. This book is AMAZING. I loved it. This is why we should always stretch ourselves to read even those things that we d
jv poore
Cleverly captivating, presented in poetic form, I cannot believe how much this catchy story covers.

I knew it'd be great because I've seen it on students' desks and more recently on a few Goodreads' Want to Read shelves and students never steer me wrong when it comes to book recommendations.
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one earned a whole extra star from me because it drew in one of my remedial readers...and he loved it...a book written in verse. And he came and asked for more books just like it-

Me: "You mean basketball books?"
Student: "No, ones with those poems in it."

Be still my heart. This child never likes to read anything.

That's worth five stars. That's worth a Newbery.
Mary Ann
WOW oh WOW. When a book hits a sweet spot, it zooms from one student to another. As soon as I read the opening lines of The Crossover, with its basketball cover and bouncing rap beat, I just knew I had to read it aloud to my 5th graders. But nothing prepared me for how it hooked them. To say they are loving it is an understatement. Fifth grade boys are just about wrestling each other to see who's going to get it next--jostling each other over a novel in verse!

For Josh Bell, basketball and his fa
Quick Read

This is really reading outside my normal subject matter. I rarely read anything with sports. This is a Newbery book and a Kwame book so I gave it a try. For such a compact story, it packs a punch. I have no understanding of a crossover and what it is, but it seems to be a special move in basketball. I loved the prose, I love the family dynamics. I loved the family players.

Wow, it really is a well done story about a family and their love of basketball. I lo
The Crossover, Newbery Medalist 2015, confirms the growing trend of novels in verse form, telling basic coming-of-age stories in short, free verse. This one follows exactly the same pattern as for example "The Weight of Water" or "Cloud Busting", slightly different from "Love That Dog" and "Hate That Cat", or "To Be Perfectly Honest", yet another one of those seemingly endless novels which claim to be deep because the language is broken into stanzas, sometimes rhyming, but most of the time just ...more
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poc-author
I listened to this one on audiobook, which was a great way to experience this book since it is written in verse.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Newbury Medal 2015. Twin brothers Josh and JB are the stars on their middle school basketball team. Playing ball every night with their father, a former European league player, has bonded the three of them together. But the two boys are now 13 and things are changing, causing strains on the closeness they have always had with each other. Alexander has Josh tell the story with verse—and he does it brilliantly—particularly with his 10 Rules of Basketball:

Rule No. 1:
“In this game of life
your family
Will Lanham

This book was good. Like REALLY good. The characters are real and relatable to the reader, and you form connections with them thoughout the story. I won't spoil anything, but there is a FLOOD of emotion near the end. My only complaint is that the writing is strange and the story skips around a bit, but once you get used to the writing style and the hops in the story, you can fully enjoy this book. I would recommend this to anyone who likes poetry and to anyone who likes stories where you fo
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mmd, middle-grade, 2018
I picked this up at the library sale and used it for a Popsugar prompt for a book about sports. This book was well outside my genre both in scope, and in audience. Sports is not something I'm generally interested in reading about.

Kwame Alexander is brilliant to use something as basketball to tie together poetry, free verse, and messages in a way that is accessible to all ages. This book is much more than just basketball. My heart found a special place for the Bell family including dad, who is a
I love the rhythm and language of this novel in verse about twins who love basketball and their larger-than-life father, but don't always connect off the court. ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, african
First Newbery I've read in a while. Helped that it was about basketball (my dad's favorite sport). ...more
Sarah (YA Love)
Review originally posted on YA Love

Newbery contenders aren’t often on my radar since I teach high school students, so the fact that I read two out of the three books blew my mind. I was sitting in my pajamas watching the live stream since we had a snow day and I threw up my arms and cheered when The Crossover was announced as the winner.

Kwame Alexander’s newest release has been on my radar for quite some time for many reasons despite its younger audience. I adore novels written in verse and have
Stephanie  Weatherly
Definitely a book that I will recommend to my middle school students. I loved the format of the book, and the relationships that formed between characters. While the book had basketball weaved in, it wasn't overwhelming or all about the sport. Quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was very relatable, by that I mean how things change as you grow up. It made me to want to keep reading and never to put it down. Overall a great book,
Went into this one expecting a quick middle grades read and oh, I am crying now.

The Crossover is a novel-in-verse about Josh, a.k.a. Filthy (narrator) and his twin brother Jordan (J.B.), junior high school students who both love basketball. Basketball jargon throughout the narrative doubles as narrative detail; for example, the titular crossover is not only a basketball maneuver, but also significant phrasing within the story.

A brief, poignant read that provides an unique poetry experience for j
This winsome novel in verse should appeal to reluctant-reading boys in a big way. Kwame Alexander mixes up the stanzas and styles, giving us the Bell family -- patriarch and ex-hoops great Chuck "Da Man" Bell, his wife Crystal (also a middle school principal), and his twin sons, Jordan "JB" and Josh "Filthy McNasty."

Yeah, they love basketball and most of the poems swish through that net, but there are also pages dedicated to family, to their senses of humor, to JB's first love (with a girl Josh
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I'd been meaning to read something from Kwame Alexander for what felt like forever, so I'm glad to finally have picked up some of his work. Unfortunately, I wasn't a huge fan of this one! I 100% appreciate the perspectives it offered and the story it told, but the writing lost me time and time again. I read a fair amount of middle grade and I love novels told through verse, so it wasn't either of those things messing with me — I just kept feeling like The Crossover tries a little too hard to be ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story told in verse about twin brothers Josh and Jordan, basketball and family. The poetry is spare and tight, and the text is visually lively. There were many things going on in this terrific story, between the family interactions, the brothers growing older and a little apart with the stresses of new relationships and maturing. I love how the text's appearance reinforced the boys' movements and feelings, and the action in general. ...more
Julie James
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book up in my mother-son summer book club. :)

Final review: Big hit with Little Guy!
Deacon Tom F
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Outstanding! THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander is a dynamic and powerful book. As the title would indicate (to a basketball fan) the book focuses on basketball.

The plot which is told in verse is seen through the eyes of junior high school student, Josh and the different levels of relationship within his family. The family consists of twins who are junior high basketball stars, their dad was a professional player and h toheir mom who is a vice principal. A very strong family unit.

The characters
It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while you read a book and it just blows you away. I really enjoy novels in verse even though I don't enjoy poetry like I probably should. I love how authors who write novels in verse can get across so much information with so few words. Sometimes novels in verse read like short prose paragraphs, but the truly great ones highlight different styles of poetry and draw the reader in completely. Kwame Alexander's Crossover has been getting a lot of buzz la ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jodi Meadows
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually pick up books about basketball, or books in verse, but I saw Kwame speak at the Virginia Festival of the Book in 2015 and had to have THE CROSSOVER. Having read it at last, I can see why the cover is filled with awards. What an incredible book. I loved the characters, the writing, and the way the formatting made me read in the rhythm -- and even volume -- the way the author intended. Clever. And so, so emotional. ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If only I could find a book like this for stock-car racing!
(It is really good)
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Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Passaic Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children ...more

Other books in the series

The Crossover (3 books)
  • Booked
  • Booked (Graphic Novel)

Articles featuring this book

While books about anti-racism are trending on Goodreads and dominating the bestseller lists right now, some of our favorite Black authors are...
277 likes · 39 comments
“Basketball Rule #1

In this game of life
your family is the court
and the ball is your heart.
No matter how good you are,
no matter how down you get,
always leave
your heart
on the court.”
“Never let anyone lower your goals. Others’ expectations of you are determined by their limitations of life. The sky is your limit, sons. Always shoot for the sun and you will shine.” 51 likes
More quotes…