Period 6 – ILA
April 20, 2018
I have recently finished reading the 379 page novel The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, who is now a New York Times ok Bestselling offer. This book was given the John Newbery Medal award, as wellas the Caldecott Medal, for the amazing way its poetic style sets for an emotional roller coaster of a story.
I had decided to read this novel because of its numerous accounts from my peers of being “such an amazing book,” or, “its different style of writing.” I could not help but pick it up, and never put it down, as it took me a very short amount of time to read it (besides the fact it is a poem book with a very limited amount of words per page). But an overall, truly inspiring story.
The story starts out with giving a brief explanation of its person of main focus; Josh Bell a 12 year old with a deep passion for basketball, that he also shares with his brother JB, an iconic duo on their local basketball team that dominates throughout the book. A passion sparking from their ex-professional basketball player father, Chuck; but their passion can also get in the way of their relationship, especially as a girl comes into JB’s life. Josh can’t stand the fact that his brother ignores and doesn’t spend any time with him because of some girl. After a ridiculous sibling dispute over a silly bet, conflict between the brothers begins to grow, more and more. And then Chuck begins to feel ill, as heart failure symptoms begin to start, more dispute continues to increase within the Bell family, and their hectic lives must be dealt with…
I absolutely loved the way the author had structured and written this story. Besides the fact it has the incredible touch of a poetic genius, the way he is able to capture so much of the story, as well as a ton of emotions, is remarkable. Feelings and thoughts kept flying through my mind and my body as I read this book. One part that definitely caught me eye was:
“I am not
a + b seldom
Pluses and minuses,
we get along
but we are not close.
I am no Pythagoras.
And so each time
I count the locks
beneath my pillow
I end up with thirty-seven
plus one tear,
adds up (Page 43).”
The way he illustrates Josh’s feelings towards JB’s bet of cutting one of his locks off, and how angered he is, is truly an incredible force, that washes down upon the reader, as it does on Josh. The connection built between the reader and the characters is a strong one.
This leads me into my next point; the character development in this book is one of the best I have seen. The part after Josh becomes angered enough to throw a pass to at JB to make his nose bleed, his mom gives Josh a lesson, more importantly, a punishment, that will most likely stick with Josh for a long time, especially as it gets close to playoffs:
“Your behavior was unacceptable.
I said I’m sorry.
Indeed you did. But you need to tell your brother, not me.
There are always consequences, Josh.
Here it comes: Dishes for a week, no phone, or, worse
No Sundays at the Rec.
[. . .]
Boys with no discipline end up in prison.
Yeah, I heard you the first time.
Don’t you get smart with me and end up in more trouble.
Why are you always trying to scare me?
We’re done. Your dad is waiting for you.
Okay, but what are the consequences?
From the team.
. . . (P. 141).”
What makes this such a powerful piece of the character development is the fact that it is so realistic. A classic Mom-Son discipline conversation, one that almost all adolescent boys have. It makes that connection so much deeper on a whole other level.
My favorite passage was definitely the ending. One that I will for sure never forget, and treasure for a long time:
“Hey, I shout.
We Da Man.
And when he turns around
I toss him the ball.
back to the top of the key,
fixes his eyes
on the goal.
leave his hands
like a bird
skating the sky,
us (page 237).”
The author’s ability to tie in a “crossover,” which they explain what it is in the story (a Crossover dribble is a basketball maneuver in which a player dribbling the ball switches the ball rapidly from one hand to the other, to make a change in direction). It comes up often as it is the title of the story, the special move Josh always uses in all of his basketball games, and the final words to this beautiful story. It all comes together. Overall, I will rate this book as an 8 out of 10, for being a truly extraordinary story. One I would recommend to all to read.