The Crossover


Kwame Alexander

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Themes and Colors
Inheritance and Genetics Theme Icon
Brotherhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Success, Work, and Choice Theme Icon
Identity and Language Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Crossover, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Inheritance and Genetics

The Crossover follows twelve-year-old Josh Bell, a star basketball player better known by his nickname Filthy McNasty, and his twin and teammate, Jordan ("JB") over what at first appears will be a normal fall and winter basketball season. In addition to their successful middle school careers on the basketball court, the boys enjoy a healthy and happy home life compromised only by the fact that Mom is the assistant principal of their…

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Brotherhood and Growing Up

At one point, Josh tells the reader "identical twins / are no different / from everyone else, / except we look and / sometimes sound / exactly alike." The novel is peppered with Josh's observations like this that indicate that while he and JB are technically different people, the two of them share a connection that makes it seem at times as though they are almost the same person. While Josh doesn't see a problem…

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Success, Work, and Choice

Josh and JB represent a second generation of basketball stardom in their family: as a young man, Dad played basketball in Italy, was a star college player, and was even asked to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. As Josh learns more about his dad's early successes and also experiences his own basketball failures, he begins to think more critically about stardom and how much control a person has to dictate the terms of their…

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Identity and Language

As a novel written in verse, the text of The Crossover is able to play with rhythm, visuals, and language in a way that a novel written in prose cannot. Josh's narration makes use of changes in font size, line breaks, and rhyme to guide the reader through the novel, slowing down or speeding up the action according to how the text is arranged on the page. This speaks to Josh's immersion in music…

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