From the moment I began reading this poetry collection, I knew it was a different type of book because the rhythms, the cadence, were infused with energy and awareness. The Crossover is primarily free verse, with a few hiphop, rhythmic poems that change up the action. The narrator, Josh, or Filthy McNasty as his basketball persona is proud to be called, is buoyant, observant, filled with sports metaphors, and adept at wordplay.
Josh is a twin. His brother, J.B., or Jordan (yes, named after that Jordan) is as competitive on the basketball court as Josh. They’re in seventh grade and already the sports play is fierce. Their father is a former professional basketball player who enjoys fame and acknowledgment for leading his Euroleague team to back-to-back victories. Injuries have kept him sidelined and Head of Encouragement for his twin sons’ basketball paths. Their mother is an assistant principal at their school so she’s first in line for handing out consequences when Josh’s jealousy gets the best of him and he acts in a very unsportsmanlike way … to his brother.
It’s a fast-paced book that will interest readers who follow game play. There’s enough attitude and humor to prompt laughter along the way. Yet this is a serious book about family and responsibility, respect and relationships, and the uneasy life of a teenager. Mr. Alexander never lets the plot drift into predictable resting places. The tension was so strong that I neglected my work in order to finish the book. Finished, I feel as though I’ve met a character, a family, I want to know in real life … and that’s how the best books win our hearts. Highly recommended.
(Note: My review of this book is based on an e‑book I purchased.)