Crossover by Kwame Alexander

November 17, 2016
By , Exeter, NH

Two twins Josh and JB, are double trouble on the basketball court, at only almost 13 years old. Written by Kwame Alexander, “Crossover” is beautifully written in a poetic story of two young boys that are already deep into a school year playing basketball. The story is narrated by Josh, showing his emotions on and off the court. We learn that Josh is the one with everything going for him, as he is an inch taller and has the cool dreads and can also slam dunk the ball like nothing, but besides being more ahead of JB, we also learn that Josh is also the one with the larger vocabulary, throwing in intellectual words throughout the book. Also being the smarter twin who is great in school, he is usually the one who has to save JB’s butt most of the time in school, as JB is always betting or focused on girls.

The two brothers come from a middle class family, of two parents. The mom who is the vice principal at the kid's junior high school is the parent who rides them about school and on the other hand the dad is a former european basketball star who rides the kids on basketball. The boys also seem to already know they are going to college for ball.

Racial inequality is shown in this book completely, having many scenes showing the inequality. In one of the scenes the Dad and Josh are going to one of the twins games and they are pulled over for a small infracture of speeding even though they weren't. They get away by having the dad show a picture of himself to the officer who is a big basketball fan. Then later in the book Josh’s temper get out of control and his mother has to warn him what happens to young black men who let their temper get ahead of them. This shows how Alexander feels about racial inequality. I feel as if this is somewhat true and I feel like Alexander showed it well in this story.

Alexander focuses on the twins bond as the year progresses with challenges along the way. For example, JB gets a girlfriend and forgets his brother almost and loses focus in everything besides her. Josh shows his feelings through free verses, like the one below.

My twin brother is a baller.
The only thing he loves
more than basketball
is betting. If it’s ninety degrees
outside and the sky is cloudless,
he will bet you
that it’s going to rain.

But overall basketball is the spark for this book. It brings love, hate, and discontent. When a horrific tragedy happens the brothers come back to form their bond again. Kwame Alexander really captivates the reader and makes them not want to put the book down, a for sure read again, and an inspiration to always be kind and think of others before yourself.

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