This gem was given to me by Black Raven through last year’s CBR holiday book exchange. Most likely, I would have never come across this book on my own, so a big thanks to Black Raven. It took me almost a year to crack it open but it was probably one of the best books that I read all year.
Not to continue to beat the same sad drum, but I have had a hard time reading this year. I know that I am not alone in this, but it was unexpected to find one of the things that generally offers an escape fail me. Generally I have been too wound up to concentrate or sit still. This little book was the perfect antidote.
Written in free verse that just sings, Crossover is a coming of age story about a young black man who loves basketball, words and his family. When his twin brother begins to break away from him to spend time with a girl, Josh is lost. As their brotherly bond is strained, tensions also arise in the household over family health issues.
While Alexaner touches on bigger issues like the black community’s distrust of the medical community and health issues that disproportionately effect blacks, his book is a coming of age story in the truest sense. It’s about the move from childhood to sexual awakening, seeing your parents as people for the first time and the struggle to come to terms with change.
Kwame articulates it all in a very dynamic way that reads quickly but sticks with you. His short verses, broken into sections that mimic the structure of a basketball game (warm up, first quarter, etc), parse out Josh’s journey in a very relatable way. Stripping the language down made the story more immediate and believable. These are the musings of a young man grappling with becoming an adult and following his journey was a pleasure.