Book Review: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

At age twelve, Josh and his twin brother, Jordan, are teenage basketball phenomenons, radiant beasts, kings on the court. But when Jordan meets the new girl in school, everything unravels for Josh as the brothers’ bond comes undone and circumstances get progressively worse and worse for him than he could’ve ever imagined.

As Josh begins to lose his brother, he loses himself in his loneliness and jealousy, and what he does in a couple seconds changes their relationship dramatically. It worsens to the point where the bridge between the two is completely burned to ash.

Soon, pieces that have never made sense to Josh are suddenly fitting together to create the truth. Secrets are revealed to Josh and Jordan, and they present the dangerous possibility of changing their lives forever. As these possibilities transform into realities, they seem to suck all the light out of Josh and Jordan’s lives, leaving them darkened, deflated, and empty. Eventually, the brothers realize that they still have and need each other.

As ties are cut and secrets are revealed, Josh travels shakily through it all. There are moments when he walks proudly, straight ahead; stumbles forward with his head down; and even loses his footing and falls flat on his face. But even if it takes him a while to get back up and dust himself off, he always manages to continue marching ahead to whatever awaits him.

During the novel, I was really surprised by Josh’s incredible development throughout the story. In the beginning, he desires fame and glory. But later on, when he is presented with his father’s championship ring, which he has long wished to possess, he decides to share it with Jordan. His growth was gradual but eventually noticeable—readers watch and listen to him through his own eyes as he grows wiser and comes to realize that there are things in life more important than winning.

Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover tells the amusing, unfortunate, heartwarming, and heartbreaking story of Josh Bell and a sequence of unlucky events— entirely through free verse. It deeply moved me in a way that books usually don’t. If you have the time, please give this book a try—I promise you won’t regret it.

-Lam T.

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