Laurinda’s Rating: 4/5
The Crossover is a love song to basketball and family. Written entirely in verse, the 2015 Newbery Medal Winner is narrated by Josh, a 12-year-old who is obsessed with basketball. He goes through major upheavals during one school year, as his twin JB begins dating a new girl, spending less time with Josh, and his father develops health problems. The book deals with Josh’s thoughts and feelings around these events, as he tries to cope with big changes.
This book was a fresh addition to the Newbery canon. The form was unique and the subject ordinary, yet surprisingly touching. The author successfully captures the voice of a child sitting on the brink of adolescence. I honestly went in to this book with a slightly negative attitude, as I’m not a huge fan either of basketball or verse. However, The Crossover shook my preconceptions thoroughly; I enjoyed the book much more than I initially thought I would.
I highly recommend this book for middle-schoolers, particularly those who are sports fans. This would also be a great book for reluctant readers, as the verse form means that each page and chapter is fairly short. The language use is also very modern, with some of the more challenging words described through the trope of Josh’s vocabulary homework.