Booked (Crossover)

by Kwame Alexander (Author)

Reading Level: 6th − 7th Grade
Series: Crossover
New York Times Bestseller National Book Award Longlist ∙ ILA-CBC Children's Choice List ∙ ALA Notable Children's Book ∙ Book Links' Lasting Connections ∙ Kirkus Best Book ∙ San Francisco Chronicle Best BookWashington Post Best Book∙ BookPage Best Book

"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!
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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
A satisfying, winning read. 

School Library Journal

Gr 6-10--Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer, and he and his best friend Coby have big plans for winning the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup, the renowned world youth soccer tournament, even though they will be playing on opposing teams. Besides the big game, Nick has a lot of other things on his mind. For one thing, his mother wants to move away to pursue her dream of training race horses, and his linguistics professor father is pressuring him to improve his vocabulary by reading the dictionary. Throw in the twin eighth-grade tyrants who relentlessly want to pound him and weekly lessons at Miss Quattlebaum's School of Ballroom Dance & Etiquette, and his life at Langston Hughes Magnet School of the Arts is pretty hectic. But school is also where "the Mac" can be found, Langston's resident rapping, dragonfly-loving, red mohawk-wearing librarian and Nick's favorite adult. And then there's April, Nick's current crush. 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. Peppered throughout are useful and amusing vocabulary words as well as wise-cracking yet sage life lessons from a beloved librarian. Authentic characters and amusing situations abound, making this story one that will be welcomed by readers of all levels. VERDICT Another winning goal for Alexander and middle school readers alike.--Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Alexander scores again with this sports-themed verse novel, a companion to his Newbery Medal-winning The Crossover. Eighth grader Nick, a devoted soccer player and fan, enjoys some friendly competition with his best friend, Coby. What Nick doesn't like is words--neither the ones in the dictionary that his linguistics professor father wrote (and is making him read) nor the ones he learns in his honors English class. But the school's quirky rapping librarian, Mr. Mac, helps Nick discover both a love of reading and a way to connect with the girl of his dreams. Alexander skillfully juggles verse styles to realistically capture Nick's humor and smarts (showcased in witty footnoted definitions of words like "cachinnate" and "mewling"), 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, Nick's story will have readers agreeing: "The poems/ were cool./ The best ones were/ like bombs, / and when all the right words/ came together/ it was like an explosion./ So good, I/ didn't want it to end." Ages 10-12. Agent: Arielle Eckstut, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Apr.)

Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

2017 ILA-CBC Children's Choice List
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

"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
Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than 500 students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit his website at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
April 05, 2016
BISAC categories
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
JUV032150 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Soccer
Library of Congress categories
Books and reading
Novels in verse
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United S
Soccer stories
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General (see also
JUVENILE FICTION / Stories in Verse
Book and reading
JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Socc

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