My goal this year was to read books I tend not to read. I was doing well but quickly fell back into my comfort zones. One being YA graphic novels. As far as I know, I have not read any Kwame Alexander novels. I might have read a short story or two, but that is it. Therefore, I have wanted to add him to my To Be Read List and figured a graphic novel was a good way.
What it turned out to be was a strong and relatable to almost everyone story. The Crossover in the graphic novel format was nothing like I expected, everything I expected and something more. The strongest point of it is that it has some basic elements you seen in any book. Not having read the novel version, I am not sure what was new, what was adapted from the book and what was word-for-word. Regardless this has a strong voice of its own. And I cannot wait to compare the two (as I did with Speak the novel and graphic novel.)
Also, regardless of the fact that the characters are black, the main characters young teenager twin boys and the father and kids are massively into basketball, you can see yourself in these characters: We have all had fights with best friends and/or siblings, many of us know the loss of a loved one (as a child or adult), and/or had a deep and complex connection with a parent. Many of us have a passion (for a sport, art, music, etc.). Many of us have fallen in love. Many of us have “lost” a loved one to said romances. This book is just every person. And while basketball is the center of almost every point, even non-sports fans can read and enjoy.
The fact it is in a graphic format (although nontraditional) gives it a fast pace writing style. The illustrations of Dawud Anybwile and the text literally overlap each other give it a feeling of a metaphor about life: the world is not broken up into panels or thought bubbles, it is all one messy jumble. There is also the metaphor of the word Crossover throughout the story. This is both a strength and weakness. The casual graphic novel or casual reader might have trouble with this format. Yet, give yourself some time and the voice of the narrator, Josh, speaks out loud and clear. There are details on top of details that make it hard to describe.
Therefore, I will end this review with OMG THIS IS AN AMAZING BOOK! READ IT! NOW!