My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I quite often think about dynamism and dynamics of space when I review books. I like books that revel in what they are; that bathe and wallow in their language, and push the spaces at the edge of where they are. A book is a form, a space to hold language, and sometimes it’s quite thrilling to see texts and words that are barely caught within its boundaries.
Alexander’s vivid, pulsating story of life on and off the basketball court for the two twins Josh and Jordan is a story which pounds, and grinds, and sings. The Crossover is a verse novel that’s almost palpable with movement and energy. It’s a book that thrives on its aural qualities, on its luscious, fat, stylistics, so read it out loud if you can; or at least, let its voice out when you read it in reluctant silence. I found myself mouthing the words and pausing over some sentences to let them fully sink in. There are so many moments within this book, crisp and sharp and pained, that to quote one above the rest would be a false privilege. I like Alexander’s writing, I really do.
There were some elements of The Crossover that passed me by; the particular nuances of basketball, for example, and some of the more culturally specific references made within the text. (I am fascinated, eternally, strangely, about ‘sweet tea’ for example). I suspect though that a lot of this doesn’t matter when placed against such an achingly intense and dynamic text. The Crossover is such linguistic dynamite.