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The Crossover

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Kwame Alexander's The Crossover is brought to life as a graphic novel with illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile.  "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," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than ba Kwame Alexander's The Crossover is brought to life as a graphic novel with illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile.  "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," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood—he's got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it’s all on the line. See the Bell family in a whole new light through Dawud Anyabwile's illustrations as the brothers' winning season unfolds, and the world as they know it begins to change.


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Kwame Alexander's The Crossover is brought to life as a graphic novel with illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile.  "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," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than ba Kwame Alexander's The Crossover is brought to life as a graphic novel with illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile.  "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," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood—he's got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it’s all on the line. See the Bell family in a whole new light through Dawud Anyabwile's illustrations as the brothers' winning season unfolds, and the world as they know it begins to change.

30 review for The Crossover

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clare Lund

    Incredible graphic novel adaptation of a student favorite! I know this will be another book I just can't keep on the library shelves. Ages 10 and up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and NetGalley for the ARC of The Crossover (Graphic Novel). All opinions are my own. I'm a high school English teacher and a BIG fan of Kwame Alexander. His books, especially Rebound and The Crossover, are my go-to recommendations for my "non-readers". The kids pick up The Crossover expecting your run of the mill sports-themed YA novel and instead get a heartfelt and, at times, difficult book on loss. Needless to say, when I saw tha Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and NetGalley for the ARC of The Crossover (Graphic Novel). All opinions are my own. I'm a high school English teacher and a BIG fan of Kwame Alexander. His books, especially Rebound and The Crossover, are my go-to recommendations for my "non-readers". The kids pick up The Crossover expecting your run of the mill sports-themed YA novel and instead get a heartfelt and, at times, difficult book on loss. Needless to say, when I saw that The Crossover was becoming a graphic novel, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. I loved that Rebound had some panels of graphic novel in it, especially in the parts with basketball. (My one nitpicky thing with Alexander is that I don't love his way of writing basketball scenes, but that just might be because I'm a twenty-something female who doesn't like the sport.) SPOILERS BELOW (view spoiler)[ Pros: Alexander's writing is beautiful enough already, but the pictures in the graphic novel version truly wrap the reader into the world of Josh and Jordan Bell. As I mentioned before, I don't love the basketball scenes in The Crossover - to me, they fall flat. The illustrations in this graphic novel version make me more interested in those basketball moments. Beyond this, in the original text, I accidentally zoomed past Charlie's death - whoops. I think the illustration of the newspaper article on Charlie's death was more impactful since it actually looks like a newspaper and I took a moment to pause and read it. Cons: If you're expecting a traditional graphic novel in the form of graphic novel contemporaries like Spiegelman and Bechdel, you'll be disappointed in The Crossover graphic novel. There aren't panels, narration boxes, or speech bubbles. The graphic novel is essentially the same as the original The Crossover, just with drawings around it. If you wanted to be really critical minded, I suppose this is more of an illustrated memoir than a graphic novel. TL;DR: Truly beautiful and moving graphic novel about basketball, family, and loss. Still, I probably wouldn't recommend buying the graphic novel if I owned the original text - there's not much of a difference. (Despite getting a digital ARC, I'll for sure be buying this for my classroom library.) (hide spoiler)]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ I had not read The Crossover but was very curious about this highly praised book. Although the graphic novel format can be hit or miss with novel interpretations, I was confident that due to the vaunted nature of the source material, the production would be high quality and illustratorn/adapter carefully chosen. Clearly, that is the case here with bold black and orange illustrations flowing around the book's trademark verse. If the text is a bit blocky More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ I had not read The Crossover but was very curious about this highly praised book. Although the graphic novel format can be hit or miss with novel interpretations, I was confident that due to the vaunted nature of the source material, the production would be high quality and illustratorn/adapter carefully chosen. Clearly, that is the case here with bold black and orange illustrations flowing around the book's trademark verse. If the text is a bit blocky and close together, making it hard to read, it does nicely add a further graphical element of its own to accompany the illustration work. The verses are the star here and the illustration work plays around them. Words are carefully chosen and then placed in each verse to create emphasis and effect. Unusual kerning, leading, and size of each letter makes the words seem more like a rap song lyrics than as poetry. The illustrations take a strong back seat to the words and at no time do they ever overshadow or attempt to be the star attraction of each page. They are clean with an emphasis on characterization and punching emotion. Each page focuses on the verse and then there are sparse little vignettes next to words, each image clearly focused on person, item, or emotion with very little in the way of background details. The illustration work is two color - black and orange. The basketball shade of orange is an accent color that is most often used as a blanket background or frame. This keeps the emphasis on the drawings and how they evoke the emotion of the verse. Alexander clearly did something remarkable here - giving us a heartfelt story of a family, their love of the game of basketball, their foibles and weaknesses, and all told in a rap-poetry set of verses. The words feel authentic and it is not hard to imagine this inner monologue of two young 13-year old boys. In all, very well done. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate Waggoner

    Thank you to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and NetGalley for sharing an advance copy of The Crossover (Graphic Novel) by Kwame Alexander, to be released 9/24/19. All opinions are my own. Josh and Jordan are twelve-year-old twins who excel at basketball. Their father is Chuck Bell who played basketball professionally in Italy, and their mother not only runs the house but is also their school vice principal. This book revolves around the Bell family and their connections to each o Thank you to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and NetGalley for sharing an advance copy of The Crossover (Graphic Novel) by Kwame Alexander, to be released 9/24/19. All opinions are my own. Josh and Jordan are twelve-year-old twins who excel at basketball. Their father is Chuck Bell who played basketball professionally in Italy, and their mother not only runs the house but is also their school vice principal. This book revolves around the Bell family and their connections to each other. Josh’s mom is worried about his father’s health, and Josh is worried about his brother’s new relationship. Will Josh’s dad visit a doctor? Will a girl come between Josh and Jordan? Will the boys be able to achieve their basketball dreams? Ultimately, what will become of the Bell family? Read The Crossover to find out. The graphic novel version of The Crossover is told in the same lyrical style as Alexander’s original book. The short lyrical style reads like a rap song and draws the reader in. The illustrations have a consistent color palette: black, white, gray, and orange. The color palette enhances the overall aesthetic of the novel and one of the primary topics of the book: basketball. As a teacher, I like that Alexander uses vocabulary words throughout the book. He provides the pronunciation and the part of speech and then a definition that connects the word back to the story. For example, hypertension which is what Josh’s grandfather died from and what his mother is afraid his father will also die of. I really appreciated the section titled “Second Person.” This passage is about Filthy missing having his brother by his side, but it is also written in second person adding to the overall effect of the piece. I enjoyed the wit and humor of the book as well as the overall messages about hard work and family. My students love graphic novels and many also enjoy basketball. I’m sure this will be a hit in my classroom.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Fischer

    The graphic novel version of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a title that I have been excited about since I first heard about it! I can say that the graphic novel does not disappoint. The illustrations help the reader gain additional insight into the character of Josh Bell. The contrast between orange, black, and white really makes the images stand out. Some of the pages contain more text than others, but overall there is a great balance between text and illustrations. The text of The graphic novel version of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a title that I have been excited about since I first heard about it! I can say that the graphic novel does not disappoint. The illustrations help the reader gain additional insight into the character of Josh Bell. The contrast between orange, black, and white really makes the images stand out. Some of the pages contain more text than others, but overall there is a great balance between text and illustrations. The text of the graphic novel remains true to the original novel in verse. I appreciate the way that higher level vocabulary is included in the text. The words are often defined and then used again in multiple sentences so that readers can gain a better understanding of the term. Conversely, there is also a good amount of "trash talking" between the narrator and his brother as they play basketball, make bets, and simply live life. I think that the balance will keep readers entertained while still providing opportunities to learn new words. I believe that fans of the novel will also enjoy the graphic novel. At the same time, the graphic novel may encourage new readers to pick up the novel. I work as a middle school librarian and acquired a copy of The Crossover novel at the end of last school year, but have not been able to successfully encourage kids to pick it up yet. I will definitely be acquiring this graphic novel because I KNOW that it will circulate well (all my graphic novels do) and I hope that it will encourage students to pick up some of Kwame Alexander's novels. I received a sample copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #TheCrossoverGraphicNovel #NetGalley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I was very, very curious (and, honestly, excited) to see how a novel-in-verse would be adapted into graphic form. So, while I was reading this, I also read the original so I could check the text for changes. As far as I can tell, the only change is that a reference to a girl's butt being big became a reference to her mouth being big. I don't quite understand why that change was made, but okay. Other than that, all of the poems were rendered faithfully in the spaces between drawings. This wasn't I was very, very curious (and, honestly, excited) to see how a novel-in-verse would be adapted into graphic form. So, while I was reading this, I also read the original so I could check the text for changes. As far as I can tell, the only change is that a reference to a girl's butt being big became a reference to her mouth being big. I don't quite understand why that change was made, but okay. Other than that, all of the poems were rendered faithfully in the spaces between drawings. This wasn't a traditionally paneled graphic novel, but it was still clearly a graphic novel and not an illustrated edition. I really loved the energy of the artwork; the use of color (orange, shades of black, and blank paper) was wonderful. My big negative was how much I missed the creative use of formatting and blank space in the original book. I don't think it would have been possible to recreate all the formatting, and the artwork kind of takes over the work that the formatting did, but it's not the same and it upset me a little. Format is really important to poetry, and I just missed it is all. Still, gorgeous.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Thank you to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and NetGalley for sharing an advance copy of The Crossover (Graphic Novel) by Kwame Alexander in exchange for an honest review of the book. This graphic novel is based on Kwame Alexander’s 2015 Newbery Medal winner. The text in this version remains in free verse and the orange and black images make the story pop. Reluctant readers will love reading this book and it might even entice them to pick up some of his other fantastic free verse Thank you to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and NetGalley for sharing an advance copy of The Crossover (Graphic Novel) by Kwame Alexander in exchange for an honest review of the book. This graphic novel is based on Kwame Alexander’s 2015 Newbery Medal winner. The text in this version remains in free verse and the orange and black images make the story pop. Reluctant readers will love reading this book and it might even entice them to pick up some of his other fantastic free verse titles. I just received two copies of the book for my middle school library and am going to rush them to the shelf. Kwame Alexander is very popular in my building and I’m sure this will fly off the shelf and rarely make it back. The story revolves around Josh and Jordan Bell and their life through basketball, girls, hip-hop, and family. The free verse form is easy to read and uses just enough pop culture references to make it fun for middle schoolers. My students love his other novels and I’m sure this graphic novel will be a big hit too. #TheCrossoverGraphicNovel #NetGalley

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dre

    I am a big fan of Kwame Alexander and fell in love with The Crossover when I read it earlier this year. So when I found out there was to be a graphic novel adaptation, I knew I had to check it out. I believe that this graphic novel will be one that both teens and adults both will enjoy, as Kwame Alexander's story shares valuable life lessons while the beautiful illustrations from Dawud Anyabwile complement the story so well. I can see Josh (aka Filthy McNasty) being a hit in the classroom and in I am a big fan of Kwame Alexander and fell in love with The Crossover when I read it earlier this year. So when I found out there was to be a graphic novel adaptation, I knew I had to check it out. I believe that this graphic novel will be one that both teens and adults both will enjoy, as Kwame Alexander's story shares valuable life lessons while the beautiful illustrations from Dawud Anyabwile complement the story so well. I can see Josh (aka Filthy McNasty) being a hit in the classroom and in the homes of many. I will be purchasing copies for my son, my nephews, and other children in my life once The Crossover is published! I can't wait to read the finished copy. Major thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Group and Netgalley for an advanced copy sampler in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    While I've read other books by Kwame Alexander, I have not read The Crossover in its original form, so I got to come at this title as a new reader and be pleasantly surprised. The art was phenomenal. The color choices, the detail - I was taken in right away and I can see this imagery appealing to many middle school and YA readers. Unlike a traditional comic book or graphic novel, you don't get speech bubbles and full scenes. The emphasis instead is placed on individual characters and While I've read other books by Kwame Alexander, I have not read The Crossover in its original form, so I got to come at this title as a new reader and be pleasantly surprised. The art was phenomenal. The color choices, the detail - I was taken in right away and I can see this imagery appealing to many middle school and YA readers. Unlike a traditional comic book or graphic novel, you don't get speech bubbles and full scenes. The emphasis instead is placed on individual characters and their movement on the page, as well as the text of the poetry itself. I read this title in sampler form (about 25% of the final page count), so I'm looking forward to reading the rest! I received a free digital copy of this title through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Twelve-year-old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan are both basketball stars on their school team. Their father used to be a basketball star before his knee injury. Their mother is their school’s principal and the boss at home. Suddenly, she wants all of them to live a healthy lifestyle and for their dad to go to the doctor. Will she succeed? Will a girl come between the brothers? Award-winning illustrator, Anyabwile brings to life the story of Crossover with detailed, engaging, fitting illustration Twelve-year-old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan are both basketball stars on their school team. Their father used to be a basketball star before his knee injury. Their mother is their school’s principal and the boss at home. Suddenly, she wants all of them to live a healthy lifestyle and for their dad to go to the doctor. Will she succeed? Will a girl come between the brothers? Award-winning illustrator, Anyabwile brings to life the story of Crossover with detailed, engaging, fitting illustrations that will bring this book to a wider audience. The characters are likable and easy to relate to. Together, the two stay true to the cherished narrative. This is a sure win for fans of graphic novels and spots.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Marshall

    I can see this being a huge hit with my students. Kwame Alexander's books are loved because of the way he writes. The short lyrical lines really resonate with my kids. This book combines all of their favorite things; his writing style and pictures. It isn't your typical graphic novel. There aren't pages of panels with dialogue. You have all of the lines from Crossover with pictures. It is the perfect blend of novel and comic. I can't wait for this to be available for purchase. I have already pre I can see this being a huge hit with my students. Kwame Alexander's books are loved because of the way he writes. The short lyrical lines really resonate with my kids. This book combines all of their favorite things; his writing style and pictures. It isn't your typical graphic novel. There aren't pages of panels with dialogue. You have all of the lines from Crossover with pictures. It is the perfect blend of novel and comic. I can't wait for this to be available for purchase. I have already preordered 2 from my local comic shop.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Ode to Anyabwile who effortlessly and perfectly translates the book into visual art. The choices of the black, white, and orange is phenomenal to connect it to basketball but also illustratively sound. Likewise, the stylings of the font choice and word placement as well as the body language of the characters is what makes the book (even though Alexander's words are amazing), it elevates the story. An excellent choice to make this into a graphic novel and the story is so easily transla Ode to Anyabwile who effortlessly and perfectly translates the book into visual art. The choices of the black, white, and orange is phenomenal to connect it to basketball but also illustratively sound. Likewise, the stylings of the font choice and word placement as well as the body language of the characters is what makes the book (even though Alexander's words are amazing), it elevates the story. An excellent choice to make this into a graphic novel and the story is so easily translatable to issues teens experience with siblings, first loves, family, and motivation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus The Crossover was great, and I really thought it would win the Newbery. I think the only award it might have gotten was a Cybil, if I recall correctly. I have several copies, it circulates really well, but it's already so short that I am a little confused as to why there is even a graphic novel version. I didn't take the time to compare the text in the two versions. I will definitely buy a copy, and it will be constantly checked out, but I just don't care for E ARC from Edelweiss Plus The Crossover was great, and I really thought it would win the Newbery. I think the only award it might have gotten was a Cybil, if I recall correctly. I have several copies, it circulates really well, but it's already so short that I am a little confused as to why there is even a graphic novel version. I didn't take the time to compare the text in the two versions. I will definitely buy a copy, and it will be constantly checked out, but I just don't care for pictures. Just not my cup of tea. (And I usually love all sports books.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth Huddleston

    Oh my goodness! The artwork just enhances Kwame Alexander's The Crossover so well. As you can see from the cover, the only color is orange like a basketball while everything else is black and white even though relationships and family nothing is simply black and white. So good!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Reading in the Middle Grades (Stacey DeCotis)

    The graphic novel version of Kwame Alexander's book brings a different dimension to readers as you get to know Filthy and his twin JB. I loved the illustrations and can't wait to hold the hard copy in my hand when it comes out. A favorite of middle grade readers will not be left on the shelves for too long! *This was a sample, I cannot wait to read this graphic novel in entirety. I will be pre-ordering several copies!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Hay

    This book was good without the illustrations, but the art by Dawud Anyabwile ads even more depth to the story. Josh and his twin JB are middle school basketball phenoms. The two do everything together until JB gets a girlfriend and an argument between the boys causes a rift. Meanwhile, their dad is having minor medical issues that their mother wants him to get checked out. Good for ages 10 and up

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Montemayor-Moreno

    I read the original a few years ago and remember loving it. The graphic novel is phenomenal! I honestly didn't remember what the story was about until finishing this version. I felt like the artwork took the reading to a new level, and I will definitely always have the story in my memory. I did find it a little harder to enjoy the rhythm of the verse due to the formatting, but since I had read the original it didn't bother me too much.

  18. 5 out of 5

    KSS

    The ending wrecckkeddd me! I didn't think it was gonna be like that! How could you do that to us, Mr. Alexander??? Also, I tried to read this book in it's original verse form. But I just couldn't get through it. But this version was easier for me to get through. This is a great book for pre-teens who are struggling with the changes in their lives and their friends lives as new things/people take priority over past people and hobbies.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    The original edition will always have a special place in my heart, but this graphic edition was also beautiful. The cons: There were a few pages that seemed a bit crowded with the words and the images and the poetry feel was gone. Pros: Readers who prefer graphic novels will be drawn to this book and hopefully will be more tempted to read it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This is one of the best graphic novel adaptations I have ever read! The illustrations, font style, and layout are so engaging and all do a great job highlighting, not distracting from, Kwame Alexander's powerful writing style. My copy immediately went to an 8th grade boy who fell in love with the original book as a 6th grader.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I had not read the original version of The Crossover, so this was my first introduction to the Bell family. And what an introduction it was! The characters are wonderful and the story is brought to life by the wonderful illustrations. I can't imagine reading this book without them! Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Raven Black

    Strong story. Relatable to almost everyone as we've all had fights with best friends and/or siblings, many know the loss of a loved one, and/or a connection with a parent, etc. Fast pace writing, the illustrations and text overlapping each other feels like a metaphor for life. Even non sports fans can enjoy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ivana

    Holy shiz, never in a million years did I think a book about basketball (it’s really about so much more) would move me so much 😭 😭 😭. This was perfection... can’t beat the poetry + illustration combo, esp for a basketball-challenged person like me. Excited to share this book with my students! Oh, and I just met my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal 🥳!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yapha

    I love The Crossover so much that I was concerned about how it would be adapted to a graphic novel. I needn't have worried however. The illustrations give even more power to the words, as does the reformatted layout and design. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. ARC provided by publisher.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elise VanCise

    Love this version of the well known book of the same name. The graphic novel will appeal to many teens who struggle to see reading as enjoyable. The art is great and I can't wait to introduce a copy to my young patrons

  26. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    I loved the original Crossover but this graphic novel adaptation is also wonderful! The art is so bold and I LOVE the way the lettering plays with size/shape/placement of words to really capture the rhythm of the poems/raps.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Grover

    Really good. The illustrations bring this story to life. Give this to a graphic novel reading kid who likes basketball, who maybe isn't ready for the verse novel version. Middle grade, for sure. Looking forward to adding it to our MS library shelves.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Another amazing graphic novel of an already published novel. I love that authors are doing this. It makes the the story come alive for the reader and helps those who struggle to read novels see the book a different way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chari

    I'll read anything Kwame Alexander writes! This is a graphic novel version of his bestselling book "The Crossover". Sure to attract even more reluctant readers! I was given a free copy of this book by #netgalley in exchange for an honest review of this book. Five stars!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    I was apprehensive about this graphic novel because I love the novel in verse version of it, but the graphics give it a whole new feel and really captures the characters and the poetry just jumps out at you. This is a book not to be missed.

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