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The Crossover

The Crossover

The Crossover Series, Book 1

eBook - 2014
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In this Newbery Medal–winning middle grade novel in verse, twelve-year-old twins and basketball stars Josh and Jordan Bell must learn to deal with problems on and off the court as they navigate homework, first crushes, family and, of course, basketball.
"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. 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.

Publisher: HMH Books


From the critics

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Apr 27, 2021

My son picked up The Crossover, first as the graphic novel. He devoured it. I don't believe we knew it was written in verse.

Then I found the free verse version at my library, and checked it out before the corona virus hit. And he read it AGAIN. Yep, folks, he read it a second time. That's just...amazing.

Let me just say, the graphic novel, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile, left all of us in tears. It was that good.

Twins Josh and Jordan Bell are unstoppable on the basketball court in their 8th grade year. But then Miss Sweat Tea walks between them, and suddenly all the rules the brothers have always played by are thrown out out the window.

In the background, their parents start fighting over their father's fainting spells, but soon that conflict takes center court -- and one twin goes with their father to the hospital, while the other stays on the court to play in a championship game.

The outcome is gut-wrenching.

Like I said, it left us all in tears. I will not spoil how it ends; read it for yourself. You'll be glad you did, whether you're a basketball fan or not (I'm not -- but still I loved this book).

Apr 02, 2021

Josh and Jordan are twins, though on the basketball court they're "Filthy McNasty" and "JB". The main character is Josh. Their father is legendary basketball player Chuck Bell. Josh and JB's relationship begins to deteriorate after JB gets a girlfriend. Josh finds himself alone, as JB doesn't even sit with him at lunch anymore. Soon, during a game, Josh blasts JB in the face with a basketball. But that isn't the worst of their problems. Their father, Chuck, is ignoring the fact that his health is deteriorating. He is soon routinely visiting the hospital. Can Josh and JB overcome the odds to get to the County Championship?

JCLBrittanyC Mar 24, 2021

This was our March pick for Tween book club which follows twins Josh and Jordan through their basketball and life highs and lows. This is a book written in verse, and though I am not a big sports fan, Kwame Alexander made the poems so animated you couldn’t help but get invested in the games. As many of us do, Josh and Jordan were able to learn so many relevant skills on the court that were utilized in their real life. They face issues with their father’s health, difference between one another, and other relationships they are developing as young teens. This is definitely a quick read, and comes in a graphic novel format as well. If you have or know a reluctant reader, hand them this one, and they might just change their mind!

Nov 16, 2020

This is a great book for those who love basketball (like me).

_Robin102_ Jul 13, 2020

This is a marvelous book.
It does not matter if you love, or hate, poetry and basketball. This book has something for everybody.
It is an emotional, relatable, and powerful story about the bond of family and the game of life.

Jun 14, 2020

Okay. If you like sports, or poetry, or both, this book is for you. I personally don't like basketball, or any other sport for that matter, but I still loved this book. I finished it in one day, and I cried at the end. I highly recommend this book.

ArapahoeStaff26 Apr 15, 2020

This 2015 Newbery Medal winner is written in free verse. The author uses different font sizes and spacing on the page, as well as the energetic voice of the 12 year old narrator, to quickly engage the reader. The basketball and school slang and similes, metaphors, and analogies will create a vivid experience for middle graders, ages 9 and older. The ALD Koelbel YA/Teen Book Group agreed it is a realistic coming-of-age story that we would be comfortable recommending. It brings up interesting issues such as the importance of sports, of family loyalty, and the helpless feeling of watching a loved one neglect their health.

Nov 25, 2019

I adored Kwame Alexander's The Crossover a few years back. As a person who has very little interest in sports, I loved the way Alexander wove sports and family together through his beautiful poems. I loved the Bell family, I loved Josh's narration, and there was also something about the twists and turns in Alexander's prose that just had me completely head-over-heels.

This graphic novel version of The Crossover may even be better than the original. Having Dawud Anyabwile's gorgeous illustrations accompany Alexander's poetry is phenomenal. I felt like Anyabwile's artwork really showcased the heart and soul of the Bell family's trials and tribulations in such a way where it connected to the text perfectly. I loved the artwork, and how Josh and Jordan were designed, and I loved the attention to detail throughout.

The Crossover is still a wonderful and powerful story about family. A lot of what Alexander's words stated in 2014, are just as true in 2019. This edition boasts amazing artwork to accompany Alexander's beautiful words, and is a great addition to anyone's graphic novel collection or just for anyone who loves story about family and the turbulence than comes with being a part of one.

Oct 07, 2019

This book is one of those books that you just can't put down! I recommend that not only basketball fans (like me) read this but everyone who wants to be successful in life to read this!

OPL_KrisC Oct 03, 2019

Loved reading this book in graphic novel form & think this is a great way for the book to reach new readers!

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May 06, 2021

edwa345 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Apr 02, 2021

blue_shark_2181 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

OPL_KrisC Oct 03, 2019

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jun 14, 2018

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Jul 03, 2016

parnoosh thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

WVMLlibrarianShannon Apr 27, 2015

WVMLlibrarianShannon thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

NatalieL Aug 06, 2014

NatalieL thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


Add a Quote
ArapahoeStaff26 Apr 15, 2020

I've seen him launch it from thirty feet before, ALL NET. That boy is special, and it doesn't hurt that Chuck "Da Man" Bell is his father. And mine too. JB bounces the ball back to me. JB's a shooter, but I'm sneaky and silky as a snake ___ ... pg. 27
I love this game like winter loves snow. pg. 31

ArapahoeMaryA Mar 26, 2020

you stop
your game
you've already

JCLChrisK Mar 19, 2015

[kraws-oh-ver] noun

A simple basketball move
in which a player dribbles
the ball quickly
from one hand
to the other.

As in: When done right,
a crossover can break
an opponent's ankles.

As in: Deron William's crossover
is nice, but Allen Iverson's crossover
was so deadly, he could've set up
his own podiatry practice.

As in: Dad taught me
how to give a soft cross first
to see if your opponent falls
for it,
then hit 'em
with the hard crossover.


Add a Summary
Nov 17, 2020

Basketball loving twins, Josh Bell aka Filthy McNasty and Jordan Bell aka JB are trying to follow in their father's footsteps who people on the court called Da Man. Their father had played professional basketball in Italy. After finding out their father quit because of a medical condition, they do all they can to make things better. Things get complicated when Jordan gets a girlfriend and the dad's health issues getting worse. Josh gets mad at JB and this anger shows in a basketball game. Can Josh patch things up with his brother? Will their dad get back to full health? Read the book to find the answers.

LibraryK8 Jun 24, 2014

Josh Bell, known as Filthy McNasty to those on the court, is one of top two players on his middle school basketball team. The other player is his twin brother, Jordan. The two are expected to become big stars as their father was an amazing basketball player before he retired, known to his fans as Da Man!

Filthy and Jordan are ready for an epic year on their team, taking them all the way to playoffs, when things are complicated by a new girl, who captures Jordan's eye and their father's heart problems.


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