Dad demands (and thinks it’s best).
Mom competes (but yearns for more).
Coby dribbles (and is there for his friend).
April teases (but might be interested).
Mr. Mac throws (rhymes and stories).
Mrs. Hardwick bores (but means well).
Dean and Don push (and pummel).
Life happens (both good and bad).
And through it all, Nick grows (a little).
And that’s why Kwame Alexander kills it (with his newest novel).
I loved it (and you will too).— Daniel Goldin
Like a whirling soccer ball, twelve year old Nick's life is spiraling out of control. Tough spins in his life include how his dad wants him to love words and books the way he does, and how his mom and dad don't get along anymore. Nick's bright lights are a girl named April, his best friend Coby, and a book loving rapper school librarian. Told in verses, soccer and books weave through Nick's days. Readers will cheer as Nick gradually starts to go along with the twists in his changing life, and comes to see the value in books and words.— Barbara Katz
"A novel about a soccer-obsessed tween boy written entirely in verse? In a word, yes. Kwame Alexander has the magic to pull off this unlikely feat, both as a poet and as a storyteller. " — The Chicago Tribune
Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/
can’t nobody cop you…
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.
This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!
About the Author
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 28 books, including Rebound, the follow-up to his, Newbery medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover. Some of his other works include Booked, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game of Life, Swing, and the picture books, Out of Wonder and The Undefeated.
A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The NCTE/Charlotte Huck Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people around the world through The Write Thing, his K-12 Writing Workshop. Kwame is the founder of Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch. He's led cultural exchange delegations to Brazil, Italy, Singapore, and Ghana, where he built the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded.www.kwamealexander.com
Book Links’ Lasting Connections 2016
Kirkus Best of 2016
Nerdy Book Club Nerdies 2016 Poetry/Novels in Verse
New York Times Bestseller
San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2016
Washington Post Best of 2016
BookPage Best of 2016
"A novel about a soccer-obsessed tween boy written entirely in verse? In a word, yes.Kwame Alexander has the magic to pull off this unlikely feat, both as a poet and as a storyteller. " —The Chicago Tribune
"This lively, touching middle school soccer story is full of fun." —Common Sense Media
* "A satisfying, winning read." —Kirkus, STARRED review
* "Alexander skillfully juggles verse styles to realistically capture Nick's humor and smarts, passion for soccer, and vulnerability when being bullied, having surgery, or facing his parents' troubled marriage. Emotionally resonant and with a pace like a player on a breakaway..." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
* "Alexander understands reluctant readers deeply, and here hands them a protagonist who is himself a smart, reading-averse kid who just wants to enjoy the words that interest him on his own terms. With accessible poetic forms and engaging formatting, Booked ’s pages will be turned swiftly and enthusiastically." — Horn BookMagazine, STARRED review
* "Middle-school readers and their advocates will surely love Alexander’s joyous word play and celebration of reading." — Booklist, STARRED review
"Newbery-winning poet Alexander once again brings to life a novel in verse that equally captures the rapid-fire excitement of a soccer match and the palpable pain of a young boy whose family is falling apart. Another winning goal for Alexander and middle school readers alike." —School Library Journal
"This is a fantastic book with a never-ending supply of new words like “onomatophobia” and “yobbery” that will leave readers full of new words and ideas. This is an absolute must-have for any library serving tweens." — VOYA
"A powerful story that will leave the reader breathless, right to the very end." —BookPage Children's Top Pick