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The Crossover

Cover of The Crossover

The Crossover

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

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  • AudioFile Magazine Alexander's lyrical free verse and Corey Allen's musical narration are as magical a combination as this story's pairing of basketball and poetry. Allen blends rhyming, hip-hop, and jazzy words into a melodic flow. His tones switch like a fast-changing crossover dribble as he narrates from the viewpoint of 13-year-old Jordan Bell aka "Filthy McNasty." Filthy crows with cockiness, taunting his twin brother in a pick-up game, then is immediately meek at his mother's stern reminder to clean his filthy room. In one moment Filthy is on the court trash-talking his father, formerly a famous basketball player. Seconds later, he's plunged into a life-or-death situation. Allen maintains the tension throughout the sibling rivalry, athletic competition, and sudden tragedy. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 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.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2014

    Gr 5-9-Everything seems to be going right for Josh "Filthy McNasty" Bell. His life has always been defined by two things: being a twin and being a great basketball player. When his brother Jordan gets a girlfriend, the boys' relationship becomes strained. To make matters worse, Josh is suspended from the team, and their father's health starts going downhill. With his life falling apart, Josh starts doing a lot of soul searching and wondering if there is more to life than basketball. Narrator Corey Allen brings a unique dimension to Alexander's (He Said, She Said) tale. Although Allen's poetic pace takes a little getting used to, his intonation gives realistic, unique dimension to the voice of a teenage boy. Other voices are easily distinguished and seem fitting. The plot, though relatively simple, is well developed and full of energy. Jazz, reading, hip-hop, and school life are blended together with finesse and engage the listener. Avid and reluctant readers who like sports, coming-of-age stories, and realistic fiction will enjoy listening to this work.-Kira Moody, Whitmore Library, Salt Lake City, UT

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Crossover
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