The Crossover is a terrific read. It is written in lyrical style. Some of the sections rhyme, some of them are more lyrical and some are visual poetry. I have loved this style ever since I read Inside Out and Back Again which I think is a must read for all grade five teachers or anyone who has to teach about immigration or origins. This book centers on two twin brothers who are future basketball stars with a semi-famous retired basketball player father. The brothers have bright futures and the basketball scenes are exquisitely written. Take it from someone who lives for March Madness college basketball, the sport scenes are great. But where this book really shines is in the relationships between the brothers, brothers and their parents and the parents themselves. The author weaves a beautiful story of complicated feeling and relationships. Totally recommend and a great read for boys that deals with real issues and feeling. I hope to see this book go deep in the field this year.
Love is the Drug is a good post apocalyptic type novel. This one centers around the Venezuelan bird flu and a war for control over a vast resource of oil. The main character Emily Bird, who goes mostly by Bird, is a typical teenager who feels the expectations of her parents and struggles to figure out who she is. Her love interest, Coffee, helps her feel confident enough to break the mold and express what she really thinks of the people in her life. The love story is good but I was hoping for more of a political thriller. It never seemed to really get out of the gate. The book couldn't decide if it was a political thriller or a teen romance about high school peer relationships.
It is interesting to note that both these novels had African American main characters and it is refreshing for me to recommend books to students that have different perspectives.
Overall, read The Crossover for sure (great Christmas present for teens) and Love is the Drug is good for the post apocalyptic junkie teen romance reader in your life.