The 2017 winner of the Evergreen Teen Book Award was announced recently and I could not be happier! The winner this year is: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.
If you're not familiar with the Evergreen Teen Book Award, it is an annual award that "was created to give teens in the state of Washington a voice in deciding the best literature for their age group." A group of librarians selects 10 young adult (YA) books they think have teen appeal then puts the list out to teens to vote. The last count has come in and teens in Washington State voted for The Crossover, a novel written in verse about twin brothers who have mad basketball skills but have a lot to learn off the court. The book has won multiple awards including the 2015 Newbery Medal and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award.
If you have not read The Crossover then check it out today! If you've already read it, then here are some other titles you might enjoy!
Kwame Alexander has several other books that are just as well written and similar in style to The Crossover. His newest, Booked, is sure to please fans of The Crossover because it is written in verse, and is about a young man who plays soccer and his troubles with school, family, girls, and a bully.
Ghost has been running from things his whole life, but when he decides to challenge the cocky track star to a race and wins, his whole life is changed. Ghost now has to keep his troubles off the track from interfering with his ability to race for his school and fellow teammates. This book has many of the same themes as The Crossover, including teens relying on their love of playing sports to help them through difficult times and the healing power of a close friendship.
Written in verse, All the Broken Pieces is about a boy from Vietnam who finds peace, redemption and love in baseball and his adoptive family. This novel is short but packs a punch and will leave the reader feeling just as emotionally spent and exhilarated as The Crossover.
This book is for all those who loved the beautiful descriptions of the basketball plays in The Crossover. Swagger not only has action packed basketball scenes but it also has an intense side plot about a player who discovers a terrible secret about his new coach and must decide what to do with it. There are some mature themes in this book, but the writing is approachable and great for reluctant readers. This was also a 2016 Evergreen Teen Book Award nominee so you know it has some serious teen approval.
Boy 21 used to be the star basketball player back at his elite boarding school but because of something terrible he refuses to play again or be called by his real name. Finley is one of the best players on his team in his small town and dreams of leaving it to play pro. When these two boys are forced to hangout by their coach, they both learn that the person you show the world is not always who you are inside. This may sound like another book about teen boys and basketball, but what stands out is the story's focus on the relationships that can be formed when you play sports together.