Rebound (Crossover)

by Kwame Alexander (Author)

Rebound (Crossover)
Reading Level: 6th − 7th Grade
Series: Crossover
New York Times bestseller ∙ ALA Notable Book

From the New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander comes Rebound, a dynamic novel in verse and companion to his Newbery Award-winner, The Crossover, illustrated with striking graphic novel panels.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.

A novel in verse with all the impact and rhythm readers have come to expect from Kwame Alexander, Rebound will go back in time to visit the childhood of Chuck "Da Man" Bell during one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family's past.
Select format:

More books in the series - See All

Other series you might like


Starred Review
Librarians who delighted at Crossover's popularity will be thrilled with this pitch-perfect follow-up...Kwame Alexander is unstoppable.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood.

Horn Book Magazine

Starred Review
A story filled with preteen angst, peer pressure, realistic family dynamics, and first romance is elevated to uncommon heights by a visceral exploration of grief and a search for confidence that pays off in spectacular ways.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 6 Up--In this prequel/companion to the acclaimed The Crossover, readers meet a young Charlie Bell, father of the twins from the first book. It's 1988, and Charlie just lost his dad to a heart attack. Suppressing his grief and alienating himself from his concerned mother, Charlie gets in trouble, which results in him spending the summer with his paternal grandparents. Granddaddy is a no-nonsense, jazz-loving man, who quickly puts "Chuck" in his place and demands that the sullen teenager help out around the house and spend time with his cousin Roxie shooting hoops. Not a natural baller, Chuck gets schooled by Roxie and slowly improves his game. With firm but loving support from his family and friends, he learns to refocus and get in touch with his emotions. In a high-stakes tournament, Roxie and Chuck learn that "it's okay/to be down/and upset/as long as/you're not down/and out." As in his previous novels in verse, Alexander shows off his expert command of the format, employing staccato breaks with smooth rhymes that mimic the bounce and flow of the sport. Interspersed are several comic panels illustrated by Anyabwile, which serve as fantastical imaginings--Chuck Bell dominating on the court like a superhero from his favorite comic books. As Chuck works his way through deep grief and deals with the consequences of some bad decisions, his voice is always fresh and compelling; Alexander's poetry is buoyant and optimistic. VERDICT Fans of The Crossover will delight in learning the origin tale of Josh and JB's dad, while new readers can comfortably jump right into the game.--Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

This prequel to Alexander's Newbery Medal winner, The Crossover (2014), provides the backstory of twins Josh and Jordan Bell's father, Chuck "Da Man" Bell, a basketball star who died young. Set in 1988, the novel-in-verse follows Chuck, who is acting out as he mourns the premature death of his own father. His mother's solution is to send him to spend the summer at his paternal grandparents' home, where he endures his grandfather's tough love and his cousin Roxie's superior skills as a baller. Alexander's non-rhyming poetry has propulsive, hard-hitting rhythm. A few poems are cast in graphic novel-style panels, which serve as nice breaks among the poems and illustrate how Chuck, a comic book lover, imagines himself. Adults may get more of a kick out of the references to 1980s pop culture (Members Only jackets, Now and Later candy) than the target audience, but the multilayered coming-of-age story should resonate with young readers. While this companion novel works as a standalone, those who have read the first book will have a richer experience. Ages 10-12. Agent: Arielle Eckstut, Levine, Greenberg, Rostan Literary Agency. (Apr.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This book will bounce off of the shelves."—VOYA

"Even without knowledge of the other titles, readers will find this to be a fully realized family drama that stands on its own merit."—Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

"'Rebound' grapples with grief and loss, but never buckles under the weight of it...Readers familiar with 'The Crossover' will find themselves smiling as details of Charlie's early life emerge that give us glimpses of the man and father he will later become; those who haven't read it will find it a strong and satisfying stand-alone book about grief, love and the power of family." —The New York Times

"His books pulse with musicality..." -Tina Jordan, The New York Times
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
May 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV005000 - Juvenile Fiction | Boys & Men
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
JUV016150 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States - 20th Century
JUV032020 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Basketball
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
20th century
Novels in verse
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United S
JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States
Basketball stories
Washington (D.C.)
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational
JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Gene

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!