Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Booked by Kwame Alexander

This book-in-verse (or is it verse-in-book? novel-in-verse? or a novel inverse? or inverse novel? I shouldn't be writing a book review last crazy week of school) about a boy who loves soccer and is dealing with the divorce of his parents. Kwame Alexander can pound out images and rhythms that will make you beat through the pages like a drummer. While "Crossover," the 2015 Newbery Winner was on basketball this one is on soccer. Except the sport takes back seat to the power of words as Nick Hall learns to use them against teachers, parents, wooing a girl, and friends at school. He says he hates words since his dad is a professor and "verbomaniac" who has written a dictionary he's making Nick memorize. But Nick likes words. If he didn't he wouldn't fling around words like "limerence," "codswallop," or "ragabash". This story might leave you with "onomatophobia", but it sure is a heck-of-alot of fun.

Twelve-year-old Nick Hall daydreams in class getting the teacher's unwanted attention. He uses words in a clever way to charm her on to Team Nick before using the same technique to get a girlfriend. Although shy and scared of girls, his words come through for him in the end. His mom and dad are splitting up and he goes through grief as his athletic mom leaves to train horses in Kentucky. When he expresses how upset he is he finds the power of words to bring his mom back and find some equilibrium in a rough time. Cody is his soccer friend who he joke-brags with they are on rival soccer teams and will play each other in a prestigious tournament. When things fall apart, the rapping librarian hooks Nick onto reading and a book club where he discovers books help him articulate what he's going through in his life at the moment (and win the girl of his dreams).

The end doesn't tell the reader what was in the mysterious dragonfly box. A dragonfly symbolizes change and self-realization which is Nick's character arc in the story. If I had time I'd look into rappers. I'm sure the author is doing more with the verses than I can tell but I'm on a break away - I have a parent waiting for this book at the circulation desk and I'm trying to write this as fast as I can. If I shoot this review over the goal or you think it is ragabash, that's why.  (Ah... I see on my labels/tags that I usually use novel-in-verse. Long day.)

5 Smileys

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