(11/20) The Crossover – “20 YA Novels for Adolescents”

The Crossover is a fiction novel written by Kwame Alexander. It was published on March 18, 2014 and it consists of 256 pages. The novel won the John Newbery Medal 2015.

The Crossover is about two twin brothers, Josh and Jordan, and how they both share a love for basketball. They both want to go down the path of becoming professional basketball players just like their father. Although both of them share a love for basketball, they are different than one another in terms of what they like, what they don’t like, and even socially. Throughout the novel, they both start to drift apart.

I chose to read this novel because the concept of two twin brothers who share a love for basketball, but struggle as they find themselves drifting apart seemed like an interesting read for me (and I can verify that it was now that I’ve read it). I would read this novel as a group to grades 6 and up and I think kids who enjoy basketball would really enjoy reading it. I also know there are students who enjoy poetry, so even if there are kids who aren’t interested in basketball, the might enjoy the fact that it’s a novel in verse and enjoy the story overall since it’s more than just basketball.

I would recommend this novel to fourth graders and up due to its appropriateness and to an extent, I would say it is a family friendly novel. If a novel is family friendly, then I’d say I wouldn’t worry having kids at such a young age read it. I would encourage both whole group reading and a individual reading. I would encourage whole group reading because although it seems to be a sports genre, the story doesn’t require people to be interested in sports to read it.

I would encourage individual reading because it is a novel that includes POC characters, which I think leaves a great opportunity for me as a teacher to encourage many POC students to give the novel a shot. A novel being about the lives, struggles, and experiences of POC shouldn’t be the only reason to expose POC students to a novel, but simply allowing them to see someone like them as a character in a novel is more than enough reason.

For a read aloud, I would especially read:

  • Pg. 34, “Cutting Hair”.

  • Pg. 35, “Defining Calamity”.

The Crossover was a very enjoyable read. I want to explore more novels with a similar theme of where the novel focuses on the relationships of characters. I’ve been reading a lot of novels about injustices, the society we live in, the struggles of people from different groups, and so on. I think it’d be fun to explore more novels where the relationships that characters have between one another is driving the plot.


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