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Free Verse Novel/Memoir

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

February 10, 2021

“A loss is inevitable

like snow in winter.

True champions

learn 

to dance

through 

the storm.”

Seventh grader Josh Bell plays basketball with his twin brother, Jordan, and they are exceptionally talented. Their mom is the assistant principal at their school and their dad was an Italian League basketball player. They are very close with their father who taught them how to play and comes to all of their games. But after Jordan meets a girl he likes, he stops paying as much attention to his brother, so Josh decides he has to get his focus back onto basketball and claiming the championship. However, there are a few unexpected hurdles on and off the court that could make winning difficult.

Alexander wrote Crossover as a free-verse novel, which is when the whole story is told through free-verse poems. This is very effective because it really slows readers down and focuses them on each individual poem, which makes readers catch more of the theme and plot and makes the story more enjoyable. This book is in the realistic sports fiction genre, and it was interesting to see that because it was mostly sports focused in the beginning of the book, but near the end it switches to almost all realistic fiction. The plot is not full of action, but there are no slow parts in the story.

Crossover is written in first person from the point of view of Josh, which allows Alexander to show how Josh feels about everything in the book involving the conflict between the twin brothers. I found this effective because it made me side with the protagonist, Josh. I thought that Alexander added strong diction during the basketball games that he put into the book, which made them suspenseful and fun to read about. 

I would recommend Booked by Kwame Alexander to readers who enjoyed this book because it is a different free-verse novel by the same author, and the plot is fast. I think that Alexander made the themes different, and that made them both enjoyable. Alexander also wrote Rebound, which I have not yet read.

I think this book had an enjoyable, fast-paced plot, the characters were relatable, and the writing was very easy to follow. I thought it was one of the best sports-related books I have ever read before, and I read many in this genre. I would rate this book a ten out of ten, and I would recommend this book to anyone because it is not just a sports book—it’s intriguing and fun to read.                                                

Aidan

Houghton Publishing Company, 237 pages


Love that Dog, by Sharon Creech

January 21, 2015

1The astounding book Love that Dog —as I like to call it, Sharon Creech’s best—is a free-verse novel with a lot to tell. Ten-year-old Jack hates poetry. His teacher tries to get him to like it, but he doesn’t want anything to do with it. This story, which is told through free-verse poems itself, has a lot of great diction, thoughts, and feelings.

From first poem I read, I couldn’t put the book down. It was so intriguing. A little bit of literature can go a long way for a reader who loves to read free-verse novels. I would recommend this to girls and boys of the age of ten and up.

Love that Dog is a one-hundred page book, but I easily finished it in about two to three days. The plot stuck with me the entire time. One of the parts I loved is when Jack really starts to realize something that no one knows except for him… But that is something you will have to read to find out.

This book is full of amazing character personalities, unforgettable poems, and work by other poets like William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, William Blake, Valerie Worth, Arnold Adoff, S. C. Rigg, and Walter Dean Myers, that takes you right into the story.

I mostly read action-adventure or mystery, but after looking for books in our school’s library I decided to change it up and read something else. I’m glad I took a chance with this book because otherwise I never would have discovered my love for free-verse novels.

One of the aspects of this book that I didn’t like was how the famous poets’ works were at the end of the book instead of scattered throughout. I didn’t know what Jack was talking about when he referenced the poems, so I had to go into the back of the book and read them, then read the whole book. I would recommend a second book by Creech: Hate that Cat. It also has a compelling plot line and features all the same characters.

Emma

Harper Collins Publishers, 128 pages


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