At our in-person Books & Bites meetings and in our podcast, we talk about books based on themes. For April, we discussed poetry and books about the environment. For May, we’ll be discussing sports and exercise.
Here’s a novel in verse that I recommended in April but that also fits our May theme. I promise you’ll like it, even if you don’t like poetry—or sports. For more great sports recommendations, come to our May Books & Bites meeting.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Josh is serious. About basketball. About family. About his hair. He’s a 12 year-old basketball star, son of an international sports icon, and in a constant friendly competition with his twin brother, Jordan. But Josh’s life isn’t all swish and net. He gets nervous before games. His dad won’t go to the doctor. His brother is suddenly ignoring him for a girl.
When Josh loses a bet with his brother, he ends up losing more than a few dread-locks. He loses his vision and his confidence. Josh has to find a way back to his brother’s side while managing the stress from his mom and dad’s fights and the pressure of the upcoming basketball tournaments.
Told in striking verse, The Crossover never gets boring. Let’s be honest, here: I don’t like sports. I don’t play sports, I don’t like watching sports, I don’t talk about sports, and I know almost nothing. About. Sports. But that didn’t stop me from reading this entire book in one sitting. I was hooked. I was a rough, orange ball spinning around on Josh Bell’s fingertip, following his every move. I couldn’t stop reading. The prose is twisty, windy, rhythmic and addicting. It mirrors Josh’s thoughts, his frame of mind, his emotions and needs, and it’s like a rollercoaster that you don’t want to get off.
There wasn’t anything I wanted more from this book. It was a great story, told in a perfect way, and it ended with just the right amount of drama and emotion. I would highly recommend The Crossover to any and all sports fans, to middle grade students looking for a fast read, and to those looking for something new and interesting that’s outside of your comfort zone.