Sally’s Rating: 4/5
Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover mixes poetry and basketball in a tale about twin brothers who begin to drift apart when one falls in love with a girl and the other puts basketball above everything else.
The author’s clever use of language and spacing on the page made this into an enjoyable read. There is a upbeat hip-hop rhythm to the prose that helps move the plot along at a quick pace. The cadence of the poetry is easily suited to the sounds of a dribbling basketball and the swoosh of the net.
Much of the plot focuses more on familial issues than the tension of individual basketball games. For a sports book, I found this refreshing as I didn’t have any personal stakes in the games being played and much prefer character driven drama. Much of the book follows the two twins when they have a falling out over their priorities changing while also addressing their father’s health problems that keep cropping up.
The plots and subplots, though, are very predictable and bring nothing new to the table. The teen angst that sets the tone of the book has been done in countless young adult books that have preceded this. The ending is a bit over-the-top, but its acknowledgment of real world issues may appeal to younger readers that may sympathize with the main character’s drama.
Overall, The Crossover brought a fun twist to the typical sports story through its utilization of poetry and interesting dynamic character relationships. It only misses the mark with its emphasis on coming of age angst and predictable ending.