Kwame Alexander shot to fame with his book in verse The Crossover so when I saw this book on a list I decided to check it out. I confess that I am an über soccer fan so that influenced my decision as well. I was curious as to how Alexander would incorporate the soccer elements into the narrative.
This book is also in verse and features a middle schooler called Nick whose dad is a studious but loving man and whose mom loves horses as much as she loves people. Nick loves soccer and he and his best pal Coby obsess about the game when they are not stressing about school work and other trials of middle school life.
Alexander loves to write about youths who have some sort of family issues going on and this book is no different. Nick however must learn to deal with his family turmoil as well as his issues at school. I do wish however that he had explored the characters' diversity somewhat more instead of just briefly touching on it.
Perhaps my favorite character in the book is the cool librarian Mr Mack. As a former teacher myself if I had half of his cool factor I think I would have related better to my students. Mac for his part does his best to get the kids to read by being gentle but persistent, by meeting them where they are and by choosing things they might like to read about. This novel, Booked should be added to reading lists for the very same reason. I highly recommend it.