The Crossover [NOOK Book]

Overview

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I?m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She...

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The Crossover

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Overview

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).


   Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Cornelius Eady
…Kwame Alexander's beautifully measured novel…is written in verse, but have no fear: Here, poetry is in service to the interior and exterior worlds of Josh, who plays forward to JB's shooting guard…Basketball is the novel's red-hot engine. It is the glue connecting the sons and source of the wisdom their father passes down…The biggest surprise of The Crossover is that, for all the bells and whistles of a young man's game, it is most boldly and certainly a book about tenderness.
Publishers Weekly
★ 01/20/2014
Josh Bell, known on and off the court by the nickname Filthy McNasty, doesn’t lack self-confidence, but neither does he lack the skills to back up his own mental in-game commentary: “I rise like a Learjet—/ seventh-graders aren’t supposed to dunk./ But guess what?/ I snatch the ball out of the air and/ SLAM!/ YAM! IN YOUR MUG!” Josh is sure that he and his twin brother, JB, are going pro, following in the footsteps of their father, who played professional ball in Europe. But Alexander (He Said, She Said) drops hints that Josh’s trajectory may be headed back toward Earth: his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys’ father health is in increasingly shaky territory. The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh’s sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worthy triumph to profound pain. This verse novel delivers a real emotional punch before the final buzzer. Ages 9–12. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
* "This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. . . . Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch."
Kirkus, starred review

* "Alexander fully captures Josh's athletic finesse and coming-of-age angst in a mix of free verse and hip-hop poetry that will have broad appeal. . . . This will inspire budding players and poets alike."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

* "The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh's sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worth triumph to profound pain."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heat and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk."
School Library Journal, starred review

"Concrete poems that simulate on-court action, the novel's organization into "four quarters" (plus "warm-up" and "overtime") and a smattering of their father's 10 rules of basketball—as applicable to life as they are to the game—will draw in less avid readers, and the fully-fleshed characters and Josh's spellbinding wordplay will keep all readers riveted to find out if the brothers can mend the breach in their once iron-clad bond"
—Shelf Awareness
"An accomplished author and poet, Alexander eloquently mashes up concrete poetry, hip-hop, a love of jazz, and a thriving family bond. The effect is poetry in motion."
—Booklist

School Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
Gr 6–10—Twins Josh and Jordan are junior high basketball stars, thanks in large part to the coaching of their dad, a former professional baller who was forced to quit playing for health reasons, and the firm, but loving support of their assistant-principal mom. Josh, better known as Filthy McNasty, earned his nickname for his enviable skills on the court: "…when Filthy gets hot/He has a SLAMMERIFIC SHOT." In this novel in verse, the brothers begin moving apart from each other for the first time. Jordan starts dating the "pulchritudinous" Miss Sweet Tea, and Josh has a tough time keeping his jealousy and feelings of abandonment in control. Alexander's poems vary from the pulsing, aggressive beats of a basketball game ("My shot is F L O W I N G, Flying, fluttering…. ringaling and SWINGALING/Swish. Game/over") to the more introspective musings of a child struggling into adolescence ("Sit beside JB at dinner. He moves./Tell him a joke. He doesn't even smile….Say I'm sorry/but he won't listen"). Despite his immaturity, Josh is a likable, funny, and authentic character. Underscoring the sports and the fraternal tension is a portrait of a family that truly loves and supports one another. Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heart and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-12-18
Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives. Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story. Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544289598
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 270,134
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than 500 students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit his website at www.bookinaday.org.

Kwame Alexander is an award-winning children’s book author and poet. His Book-in-a-Day writing and publishing program for upper elementary, middle, and high school students has created more than 2500 student authors in 50 schools across the U.S., and in Canada and the Caribbean. He lives with his family in Herndon, Virginia. Visit his website at www.bookinaday.org.

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Read an Excerpt

Dribbling
At the top of the key, I’m
   MOVING & GROOVING,
POPping and ROCKING
Why you BUMPING?
   Why you LOCKING?
Man, take this THUMPING.
Be careful though,
’cause now I’m CRUNKing
   CrissCROSSING
FLOSSING
flipping
and my dipping will leave you
S
L
I
P
P
I
N
G   on the floor, while I
SWOOP in
to the finish with a fierce finger roll . . .
Straight in the hole:
Swoooooooooooosh.

Josh Bell
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame.
Folks call me that
’cause my game’s acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame. My hair is long, my height’s tall.
See, I’m the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.

Remember the greats,
my dad likes to gloat:
I balled with Magic and the Goat.
But tricks are for kids, I reply.
Don’t need your pets
my game’s so
fly.

Mom says,
Your dad’s old school,
like an ol’ Chevette.
You’re fresh and new,
like a red Corvette.
Your game so sweet, it’s a crêpes suzette.
Each time you play
it’s ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL net.

If anyone else called me
fresh and sweet,
I’d burn mad as a flame.
But I know she’s only talking about my game.
See, when I play ball,
I’m on fire. When I shoot, I inspire.
The hoop’s for sale, and I’m the buyer.

How I Got My Nickname
I’m not that big on jazz music, but Dad is.
One day we were listening to a CD
of a musician named Horace Silver, and Dad says,

Josh, this cat is the real deal.
Listen to that piano, fast and free,
Just like you and JB on the court.

It’s okay, I guess, Dad.
Okay? DID YOU SAY OKAY?
Boy, you better recognize

greatness when you hear it.
Horace Silver is one of the hippest.
If you shoot half as good as he jams—

Dad, no one says “hippest” anymore.
Well, they ought to, ’cause this cat
is so hip, when he sits down he’s still standing, he says.

Real funny, Dad.
You know what, Josh?
What,  Dad?

I’m dedicating this next song to you.
What’s the next song?
Only the best song,

the funkiest song
on Silver’s Paris Blues album:
“FILTHY
   McNASTY.”

At first

I didn’t like the name
because so many kids made fun of me
on the school bus,
at lunch, in the bathroom.
Even Mom had jokes.

It fits you perfectly, Josh, she said:
You never clean your closet, and
that bed of yours is always filled
with cookie crumbs and candy wrappers.
It’s just plain nasty, son.

But, as I got older
and started getting game,
the name took on a new meaning.
And even though I wasn’t into
all that jazz,
every time I’d score,
rebound,
or steal a ball,
Dad would jump up
smiling and screamin’,


That’s my boy out there.
Keep it funky, Filthy!

And that made me fee
real good
about my nickname.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Great book

    I will be entering high school this fall and i enjoyed this summer read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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