The Crossover

by

Kwame Alexander

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Josh Character Analysis

Josh is the twelve-year-old protagonist of the novel. He's nearly six feet tall and has a twin, JB. Both are skilled basketball players. Though Josh loves JB and being a twin, he also craves individuality. At the beginning of the novel he achieves this by wearing his hair in locks and reminding the reader several times that he's the only player on the team who can dunk. His love of English and language shines through in his narration, as he often uses vocabulary words from his English homework and some of the novel's poems read like music. Things begin to go downhill for Josh when he loses a bet to JB and JB accidentally cuts off five of Josh's locks instead of one. With this one identity marker gone, Josh feels unmoored and even more importantly, less forgiving towards JB as JB embarks on a romance with a girl Josh calls Miss Sweet Tea. At the same time, Josh starts to notice that Dad isn't in good health. Josh grows progressively angrier as JB spends more and more time with Miss Sweet Tea, and this culminates in Josh deciding to act alone during a game. However, Josh's attempt is unsuccessful and his pass to JB is so hard and violent, he makes JB's nose bleed. During Josh's weeks of forced solitude after this, he remains angry and unmoored, and he becomes progressively more worried about Dad's health. When Dad finally ends up in the hospital, Josh's anger hits a peak: he believes that Dad is keeping him from playing in the championship game. Though Dad is still in the hospital when the championship game rolls around, Josh chooses to take Dad's permission to play in the game and isn't around when Dad dies. Following Dad's death, JB gives Josh Dad's championship ring, which Dad always told the boys they could wear when they became "Da Man," which was his nickname. Though this suggests that Josh becomes “Da Man” after Dad's death, Josh's discomfort with receiving the ring speaks to his new understanding of Dad as a person who didn't properly care for his health.

Josh Quotes in The Crossover

The The Crossover quotes below are all either spoken by Josh or refer to Josh. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Crossover published in 2014.
Warm-Up Quotes

But, as I got older
and started getting game,
the name took on a new meaning.
And even though I wasn't into
all that jazz,
every time I'd score,
rebound,
or steal a ball,
Dad would jump up
smiling and screamin',
That's my boy out there.
Keep it funky, Filthy!

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 8-9
Explanation and Analysis:

1. ever since I watched
the clip of Dad
posterizing
that seven-foot Croatian center
on ESPN's Best Dunks Ever;
soaring through the air—his
long twisted hair like wings
carrying him
high above
the rim—I knew
one day
I'd need
my own wings
to fly.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad
Related Symbols: Locks/Wings
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
First Quarter Quotes

To get ready for the season, I went
to three summer camps. JB only went to
one. Said he didn't want to miss Bible school.

What does he think, I'm stupid? Ever since
Kim Bazemore kissed him in Sunday school,
he's been acting all religious,

thinking less and less about
basketball, and more and more about
GIRLS.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

That boy is special, and it doesn't hurt
that Chuck "Da Man" Bell is his father.
And mine, too.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad, JB
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

And while Dad is telling us another story
for the hundredth time, Mom removes the salt
from the table and JB goes to the buffet.
He brings back three packages
of duck sauce and a cup of wonton soup
and hands them all to me.
Dad pauses, and Mom looks at JB.
That was random, she says.
What, isn't that what you wanted, Filthy? JB asks.
And even though I never opened my mouth,
I say, Thanks,
because
it is.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB (speaker), Mom (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

And so each time
I count the locks
of hair
beneath my pillow
I end up with thirty-seven
plus one tear,
which never
adds up.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker)
Related Symbols: Locks/Wings
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

As in: I wonder why my dad
never had surgery
on his patellar tendinitis.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

and even though I don't plan it,
I let him win
and get ready to practice
harder.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Vondie, Coach
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

As in: Hypertension
can affect all types of people,
but you have a higher risk
if someone in your family
has had the disease.

As in: I think
my grandfather
died of hypertension?

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad, Grandfather/Dad's Dad
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

I'm not paying attention
to anything he's saying
or to the dummy

because
I'm watching Jordan pass notes
to Miss Sweet Tea. And I
wonder what's in the notes.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB, Miss Sweet Tea/Alexis
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
Second Quarter Quotes

On the way home
Dad asks if we should stop
at Pollard's.
I tell him I'm not hungry,
plus I have a lot of homework,
even though
I skipped lunch today
and finished my homework
during halftime.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad, Mom
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Identical twins
are no different
from everyone else,
except we look and
sometimes sound
exactly alike.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB, Miss Sweet Tea/Alexis
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

JB comes running out of the bathroom.
What'd she say, Josh? Come on, tell me.

She said she likes me a lot, I tell him.
You mean she likes me a lot? he asks.

Yeah...
that's what I meant.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB (speaker), Miss Sweet Tea/Alexis
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Ever seen an eagle soar?
So high, so fly.
Me and my wings are--
and that's when I remember:
MY. WINGS. ARE. GONE.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker)
Related Symbols: Locks/Wings
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
Third Quarter Quotes

You're twins, not the same person.
But that doesn't mean he has to stop loving me.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Mom (speaker), JB, Miss Sweet Tea/Alexis
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:

I prefer to be called Josh, Dad.
Not Filthy.

Oh, really, Filthy? he laughs.
I'm serious, Dad--please don't call me
that name anymore.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad (speaker)
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

Like heirloom.
As in: Dad treats his championship ring
like some kind of family heirloom
that we can't wear
until one of us becomes Da Man.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad
Related Symbols: The Championship Ring
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

JB and I look out
the window
at the exact moment
we pass by the mall
and I know exactly
what JB wants.
Dad, can we stop
at that sneaker store
in the mall?
Yeah, Dad, can we? JB echoes.
And the word we
never sounded
sweeter.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:
Fourth Quarter Quotes

As in: Dad's in a coma
because of a myocardial infarction,
which is the same thing
my grandfather died of.
So what does that mean for me
and JB?

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad, JB, Grandfather/Dad's Dad
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

Because the only thing that matters is swish.
Because our backboard is splintered.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad, JB, Mom
Related Symbols: The Backboard
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
Overtime Quotes

On the forty-ninth shot,
I am only slightly aware
that I am moments from fifty.
The only thing that really matters
is that out here
in the driveway
shooting free throws
I feel closer to Dad.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

You earned it, Filthy, he says,
sliding the ring on my finger.
My heart leaps
into my throat.

Dad's championship ring.
Between the bouncing
and sobbing, I whisper, Why?

I guess you Da Man now, Filthy, JB says.

And for the first time in my life
I don't want to be.

Related Characters: Josh (speaker), JB (speaker), Dad
Related Symbols: The Championship Ring
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Crossover LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Crossover PDF

Josh Character Timeline in The Crossover

The timeline below shows where the character Josh appears in The Crossover. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Warm-Up
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Dribbling. Josh narrates his own play-by-play as he plays basketball. He expertly dribbles the ball to make... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Josh Bell. Josh introduces himself to the reader as both Josh Bell and as his nickname,... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
How I Got My Nickname. Josh says he's not a fan of jazz music, but Dad is. One time, when Dad... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
At first. Josh explains that he wasn't sold on the nickname at first, because everyone, including Mom, made... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Filthy McNasty. Josh refers to himself as a star player and a "MYTHical MANchild," obsessed with practicing so... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Jordan Bell. Josh's twin brother, Jordan, also plays basketball. Jordan’s other love is betting, which he does all... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
On the way to the game. As the family drives to the game, Josh sits in the back with JB. JB plays with Josh's locks and only stops when... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Five Reasons I Have Locks. Josh lists the five reasons he has locks, in ascending order of importance. First, his favorite... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...tells Dad. Mom always makes Dad sit at the very top of the bleachers during Josh and JB's basketball games. She believes that Dad is too confrontational. Dad ignores Mom and... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Conversation. Josh asks Dad if he misses playing basketball. Dad answers that he misses it like a... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Dad asks Josh to fetch JB so they can get to practice, but Josh asks about Dad's championship... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Basketball Rule #1. Josh shares the first rule: in life, one's family is the court and one's heart is... (full context)
First Quarter
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
JB and I. Josh and JB are identical twins and they're almost thirteen. They're easy to tell apart though;... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
...of Warm-Ups, My Brother Tries to Dunk. JB tries to dunk the ball and fails. Josh laughs, makes fun of JB, and dunks the ball to show off. Dad cheers and... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
The Sportscaster. Josh explains that JB likes to tease and trash talk other players during games, which is... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Josh's Play-by-Play. As Vondie grabs the ball, the Reggie Lewis Wildcats—Josh's team—are ready to win. They've... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
cross-o-ver. Josh defines a crossover as a basketball move where a player dribbles the ball from one... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
The Show. As Josh narrates, the text grows, shrinks, and moves diagonally across the page. He has the ball... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
...Wildcats are down by seven. Coach isn't worried; he starts blasting his favorite dance music. Josh, JB, and Vondie join in and dance the Cha-Cha Slide. JB gives Josh a look... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Ode to My Hair. Josh loves his hair. He says he'd love to "enshrine" it, treat it like gold, and... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...if he gets the ball and doesn't miss the basket, he wants to cut off Josh's hair. Josh agrees to the bet but says that if he wins, JB has to... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...silent until the ball goes through, right at the last second. The crowd explodes and Josh's head starts to ache. (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
In the locker room. After the game, in the locker room, JB cackles and approaches Josh, holding Coach's red scissors. Josh thinks that he loves this game from the bottom of... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...scissors around. The boys' teammates start chanting "Filthy" over and over again as JB grabs Josh's hair. He doesn't hear his lock hit the ground, but he knows something is wrong... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
ca-lam-i-ty. Josh defines a calamity as an unexpected bad event that often results in injuries. As an... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...chooses Chinese, even though Mom won't let him eat most of what's on the buffet. Josh knows that he would've chosen Pollard's Chicken and BBQ if Mom hadn't banned them from... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
As Josh fills his plate, JB asks Dad for insight on how they played. Dad says they... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Missing. Josh admits he's not a mathematician, but he usually does okay with math. However, he keeps... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Mom and Dad's bedroom closet. Mom and Dad's closet is off limits. JB often asks Josh to go in there and snoop through Dad's things, but Josh always says no. Today,... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
JB notices that Josh has Dad's box open, so they rummage through it. They find newspaper clippings and old... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
pa-tel-lar ten-di-ni-tis. Josh defines patellar tendinitis as a condition where the muscle connecting the kneecap to the shin... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Sundays After Church. Every Sunday after church, Josh and his family participate in a pick-up game of basketball at the recreation center. They... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Basketball Rule #2. In a random text, Dad tells Josh to hustle, run quickly, pivot and chase, aim and shoot. He tells Josh to work... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Girls. Josh and JB walk into the lunchroom together. Even though Josh isn't bald, his hair looks... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
While Vondie and JB. Josh does his and JB's vocabulary homework while Vondie and JB debate whether Miss Sweet Tea... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
pul-chri-tu-di-nous. Josh defines pulchritudinous as having great beauty and appeal. He says that every guy in the... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
...wind sprints Coach announces that the winner doesn't have to practice. Vondie runs hard, but Josh is faster. He takes the lead but then lets Vondie win so he can practice. (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Walking Home. As the boys walk home from practice, Josh peppers JB with questions. He asks if JB thinks they can win the county championship,... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Man to Man. Josh taunts JB as he dribbles. He suggests that JB should've gone to the mall with... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
After dinner. After dinner, Dad takes Josh and JB to the rec center to practice free throws. While the boys shoot, Dad... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
After we win. After the game, Josh notices Miss Sweet Tea shooting baskets at the other court. He wonders if she actually... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Dad reminisces about how, when Josh and JB were two, he taught them to play. Mom thought he was crazy. Then,... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
...people expect out of you what they expect out of their own lives. Dad encourages Josh and JB to shoot for the sun. (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Josh's Play-by-Play. The visiting team brings their entire school to cheer, and they're winning. Josh is... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
The new girl. After the game, Miss Sweet Tea approaches Josh and compliments him on his dunk. She asks if he'll be at the gym over... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
I Missed Three Free Throws Tonight. Josh explains that every night after dinner, Dad insists that he and JB shoot free throws... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Basketball Rule #4. Josh says that if a person misses enough of life's free throws, they'll pay for it... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Having a mother. Josh is grateful when Mom rescues him from free-throw practice. His arms feel heavy by then,... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mom shouts. Josh listens to his parents fight. Mom wants Dad to see the doctor for hypertension since... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
hy-per-ten-sion. Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. Josh uses it in a sentence and says that Mom tries to keep Dad from eating... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
To fall asleep. As Josh tries to fall asleep, he counts his locks over and over again. He feels like... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Why We Only Ate Salad for Thanksgiving. Josh explains that every year, Grandma cooks dinner, but this year, she fell and couldn't cook.... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
How Do You Spell Trouble? Josh is busy taking his vocabulary test when JB passes Josh a note to pass along... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Bad News. Josh sits in Mom's office and reads about the Air Force and the Marines. Mom is... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Gym class. As far as Josh is concerned, gym is supposed to be about balls. Today, however, the teacher leads a... (full context)
Second Quarter
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Conversation. Josh tries to talk to JB and tell him about playing a pickup game at the... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conversation. Josh takes his problem to Dad and says that JB is acting weird: he's smiling, he... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Showoff. Josh narrates another play-by-play. With six seconds to go, the Wildcats are up sixteen points. JB... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Mom calls me into the kitchen. After the game, Mom asks Josh to come into the kitchen. She normally does this to get Josh's opinion on whatever... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mom fixes Josh with a look when he tries to leave the table and tells him about his... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...of the Wildcats' first game is 35-18. A reporter from the paper asks JB and Josh how they got so good. Dad takes it upon himself to respond and says they... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Too Good. Josh thinks that things are going great. He feels like he's winning in lots of places,... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
I'm on Free Throw Number Twenty-Seven. Josh and JB take turns shooting free throws. JB has gotten twelve in a row so... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
He probably. When Josh asks JB if he thinks Dad is sick, JB says that Dad probably just got... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...a strange or funny sequence of events that appear strange or funny because of coincidence. Josh says that it's ironic that Vondie's mom works for NASA, but Vondie hates astronomy. He... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
This Is Alexis--May I Please Speak to Jordan? As Josh accepts the phone, he tells the reader that identical twins are just like everyone else.... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Phone Conversation (I Sub for JB). Josh tells Alexis that he's JB and then asks her about her sisters. She says that... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...when JB is going to introduce her to his parents and if she's his girlfriend, Josh covers the mouthpiece and asks JB what he's supposed to say. JB nervously says to... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
JB and I. Josh and JB usually eat lunch together every day. They argue about everything from basketball players... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Boy walks into a room. JB and Miss Sweet Tea walk over slowly. JB greets Josh by calling him Filthy McNasty, which he does all the time. This time, however, it... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...they will. Rather than running drills, Coach leads the team in meditation. As he meditates, Josh sees a picture of JB in the hospital in his head. He opens his eyes... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Second-Person. Josh walks home alone after practice, which feels strange since he usually walks with JB. He... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Third Wheel. Josh walks into the library. He wastes time by looking at music and magazines, and then... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
The main reason I can't sleep. Josh can't sleep. Though he's worried about the game tomorrow, concerned about Dad, and hates how... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Surprised. Josh has a plan: he's going to talk to JB about how he's spending all his... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Conversation. While Dad drives Josh to the game, Josh asks if going to the doctor will kill Dad. Dad says... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...his license and registration. A few minutes after that, the team begins their warm-ups without Josh in preparation for the game. Dad tells the officer that his license is at home... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
This is my second year. Josh tells the reader that in the two years he's played for the Wildcats, he's started... (full context)
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Basketball Rule #6. Josh explains that for a team to be truly great, they need both a good scorer... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Josh's Play-by-Play. By the beginning of the second half, the Wildcats are up, 23-12. Josh is... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
The other two players stick close to Josh. He decides to try to dunk until he realizes his locks are gone. Coach, Dad,... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Before. Josh says that earlier, he walked into the gym covered in mud. JB screamed "FILTHY'S McNasty,"... (full context)
Third Quarter
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...and Dad are serious, while JB leans his bandaged face against the window. Even though Josh is only two feet away from any of his family members, he feels miles away. (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Suspension. Mom tells Josh to sit down, asks if he'd like a sandwich, and offers him orange soda. Josh... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Mom insists that's not acceptable and reminds Josh that he'll need to apologize to JB. Then, she says that there will be consequences... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...means to have a bad temper and to be difficult to work with. Once, when Josh wanted a pair of Stephon Marbury sneakers, Dad insisted that Marbury had a bad attitude... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
This week, I. Josh gets his report card, makes the honor roll, watches the Wildcats play and win a... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
The Nosebleed Section. Josh sits with Mom and Dad in the top row of the bleachers. He thinks that... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Fast Break. JB moves the ball up the court. Josh can tell he's aiming for a basket when JB tries to fake out the opposing... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
...losing his cool as JB asks if he can go to the mall after practice. Josh points out that they can check out a new video game, but JB doesn't respond.... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...won the game against Olive Branch Junior High, and that the team seemed unhurt by Josh's absence. JB instead led the team to victory. The team will start to fight for... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mostly everyone. Most of Josh's classmates congratulate him on being selected the MVP by the Daily News. Miss Sweet Tea,... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...The Bell family eats fruit and watches Jeopardy. One of the questions is about basketball. Josh interrupts and reminds his parents that the playoffs are in two days, his grades were... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
...a letter to JB, written in two columns that can be read together or separately, Josh says that without his brother, he's empty. His life seems broken now, and he feels... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
I don't know. Josh isn't sure if JB read his letter, but he does notice that when he teases... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
No Pizza and Fries. Josh thinks that Mom is cruel for packing him a spinach and tofu salad. However, the... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Uh-oh. One afternoon, while Josh is on the phone with Vondie discussing the chances of Josh playing this season, Josh... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
I run into Dad's room. Josh runs to investigate the panting. He finds Dad on the floor cleaning a spot that... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Dad assures Josh that he and JB are mature enough to be okay and asks why Josh is... (full context)
Identity and Language Theme Icon
Josh tells Dad that since it means so much to him, he'll ask Mom about the... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
The girl who stole my brother. Josh decides that he's now going to call Miss Sweet Tea "The girl who stole my... (full context)
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Things I Learn at Dinner. Josh learns all sorts of things about Miss Sweet Tea at dinner. She's been to a... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Dishes. When Josh is finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, Mom comes in. Josh asks when Dad... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Coach's Talk Before the Game. For the playoff game, Josh decides to sit with the team on the bench instead of in the bleachers. Coach... (full context)
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Text Messages from Mom, Part One. Around 7 pm, Mom texts Josh to say that she and Dad went out for some fresh air since Dad wasn't... (full context)
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...moves the ball up the court and makes a basket. JB is playing splendidly and Josh feels like he, Coach, and Miss Sweet Tea are JB's "choir." Josh cheers as JB... (full context)
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Tomorrow Is the Last Day of School Before Christmas Vacation. Josh is studying by himself. JB is too, which worries Josh: tomorrow is the big vocabulary... (full context)
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Coach comes over. During lunch, Coach sits down at Josh's table with a McDonald's lunch. He gives a fry each to Josh and Vondie and... (full context)
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es-tranged. Josh defines "estranged" as a time when one person becomes a stranger to someone who they... (full context)
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...the last day of school before winter break, Mom works late so Dad picks up Josh and JB. The boys still aren't talking, but they both laugh at Dad's jokes. When... (full context)
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The Phone Rings. Josh answers the phone since Mom is decorating the tree and Dad is outside shooting free... (full context)
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When we get to the court. At the rec center, Josh challenges Dad to a warm-up game. Dad agrees and hits Josh in the chest with... (full context)
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At Noon in the Gym, with Dad. People watch Dad and Josh play. Josh does well and is up by five points, but Dad steals the ball.... (full context)
Fourth Quarter
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...doctor pats Jordan and me on the back and says. The doctor tells JB and Josh that Dad will be fine; they'll be fishing again soon. Josh petulantly says they don't... (full context)
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...thing that Dad loved the most, and it caused his myocardial infarction. The doctor sees Josh looking up the symptoms, which include sweating, vomiting, and nosebleeds, and points out that they're... (full context)
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Okay, Dad. Josh decides to talk to Dad, even though he's been told that Dad might not be... (full context)
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Mom, since you asked, I'll tell you why I'm so angry. Josh is angry because Dad tried to dunk and Josh wants to win a championship, but... (full context)
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Text Messages from Vondie. After the game, Vondie sends several texts to Josh. He explains that the game went into double overtime. Coach called a time-out and the... (full context)
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...Dad wakes up. He smiles at Mom, gives JB a high five, and then looks Josh in the eye. He says he didn't jump ship. (full context)
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...and pound cake are horrendous, but the Santa at the hospital gets everyone to sing. Josh thinks that all the joy is ruining his mood; he thinks he doesn't remember how... (full context)
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...how, when they were seven, JB wanted to swing. All the swings were filled, so Josh pushed a kid out of a swing so JB could take it. He says that... (full context)
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Questions. Dad asks if Josh has been practicing his free throws, but Josh responds by asking why Dad didn't go... (full context)
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Dad jokes about how horrible Uncle Bob's turkey was, but Josh doesn't think it's funny. Josh asks if the family is falling apart, but Dad puzzlingly... (full context)
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Tanka for Language Arts Class. Josh writes that his Christmas wasn't merry, and he's not happy in the new year either.... (full context)
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I don't think I'll ever get used to. Josh thinks he'll never get used to all the things he has to do alone. He... (full context)
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...hospital and promises to see the boys at the game before getting in her car. Josh asks JB what they should do, but JB just cries. He gets his bike and... (full context)
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During warm-ups. Josh plays poorly during warm-ups. Coach assures Josh that if he wants to be at the... (full context)
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Text Messages from Mom, Part Two. Mom texts Josh and says that Dad is having complications, but he'll pull through and sends his love.... (full context)
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For Dad. Josh's free throw rolls around the rim, but finally goes through the net. The Wildcats are... (full context)
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The Last Shot. Josh feels like he has lightning on his shoes as he dribbles the ball down the... (full context)
Overtime
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...The paper writes that Charlie "Da Man" Bell (Dad) collapsed in a basketball game with Josh. He suffered complications and died of a massive heart attack in the hospital. He suffered... (full context)
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Where Do We Go from Here? Josh thinks that there are no coaches or comforting game rituals at funerals. He feels unprepared... (full context)
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star-less. Josh defines "starless" as a state of being without stars. Josh says that if he and... (full context)
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There are so many friends. Everyone crowds into the Bells' house. Josh steps outside and listens to John Coltrane and Jay-Z coming from inside. Mom smiles and... (full context)
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Josh heads back outside. On his way out, Mom kisses him and gives him a piece... (full context)
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Free Throws. Josh finishes his dessert in four mouthfuls and then fishes the ball from where it's stuck,... (full context)
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Josh makes the next twelve shots and thinks of them as the years of his life.... (full context)
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The boys each ask how the other is and then JB compliments Josh on his crossover at the game last week. Josh asks if JB saw the trophy.... (full context)
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As JB starts to walk away, he says that he bets the dishes that Josh misses the next shot. Josh shouts that they're both “Da Man” and tosses JB the... (full context)