by Kwame Alexander


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New York Times Bestseller   National Book Award Longlist ∙ ILA-CBC Children's Choice List  ∙ ALA Notable Children’s Book ∙  Book Links’ Lasting Connections ∙ Kirkus Best Book ∙ San Francisco Chronicle Best Book ∙  Washington Post Best Book∙ BookPage Best Book

"A novel about a soccer-obsessed tween boy written entirely in verse? In a word, yes. Kwame Alexander has the magic to pull off this unlikely feat, both as a poet and as a storyteller. " The Chicago Tribune

Can’t nobody stop you
Can’t nobody cop you…

In this follow-up to Newbery-winner The Crossover, soccer, family, love, and friendship take center stage. Twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.  

This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match! Now in paperback.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328596307
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Series: Kwame Alexander's Crossover Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 18,863
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the NYT bestselling author of 25 books, including the Newbery Medal-winning The Crossover, which also received the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. 

Read an Excerpt


on the pitch, lightning faSt,
dribble, fake, then make a dash

player tries tO steal the ball
lift and step and make him fall

zip and zoom to find the spot
defense readies for the shot

Chip, then kick it in the air
take off like a Belgian hare

shoot it left, but watch it Curve
all he can do is observe

watch the ball bEnd in midflight
play this game faR into night.

Wake Up Call

After playing FIFA
online with Coby
till one thirty a.m.
last night,
you wake
this morning
to the sound
of Mom arguing
on the phone
with Dad.


Did you make up your bed?
Yeah. Can you put bananas in my pancakes, please?

Did you finish your homework?
Yeah. Can we play a quick game of Ping-Pong, Mom?

And what about the reading. I didn’t see you doing that yesterday.
Mom, Dad’s not even here.

Just because your father’s away doesn’t mean you can avoid your chores.
I barely have time for my real chores.

Perhaps you should spend less time playing Xbox at all hours of the night.

Oh, you think I didn’t know?
I’m sick of reading his stupid words, Mom. I’m going to high school next year and I shouldn’t have to keep doing this.

Why couldn’t your dad

be a musician
like Jimmy Leon’s dad
or own an oil company
like Coby’s?
Better yet, why couldn’t
he be a cool detective
a sleek silver
convertible sports car
like Will Smith
in Bad Boys?
Instead, your dad’s
a linguistics professor
with chronic verbomania*
as evidenced
by the fact
that he actually wrote
a dictionary
called Weird and Wonderful Words
     get this,

* verbomania [vurb-oh-mey-nee-uh] noun: a crazed obsession for words. Every freakin’ day I have to read his “dictionary,” which has freakin’ FOOTNOTES. That’s absurd to me. Kinda like ordering a glass of chocolate milk, then asking for chocolate syrup on the side. Seriously, who does that? SMH!

In the elementary school spelling bee

when you intentionally
misspelled heifer,
he almost had a cow.

You’re the only kid
on your block
at school
who lives in a prison
of words.
He calls it the pursuit of excellence.
You call it Shawshank.
And even though your mother
forbids you to say it,
the truth is

Customer Reviews

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Booked 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
SCHS_Reader 8 months ago
The book I read was called Booked. The book Booked was about a kid named Nicholas, and he likes playing soccer in real life and in video games. Nicholas also likes a girl that has an upcoming soccer tournament so he wants to go watch her. Next, the book Booked is 314 pages long but has a lot of poems so it's very short. I would recommend the book, Booked, to people that like soccer and short books. Next, Nicholas hates books and his dad makes him read the dictionary, but he learned the words and has a really big vocabulary. Nick is getting bullied at his school and the bullies steal his bike and he never gets it back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think I liked this one more than The Crossover. It deals with friendship, parents, divorce, balancing school and sports, young romance, and reading. It was a lot of fun and had some interesting characters. A great pick for the Rebecca Caudill list and a great introduction to Kwame Alexander.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually like poems now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eating for the soccer into he mean time I am reading crossover ...???????????????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book shows telife of a boy a fegulaboyr
Fritz409 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars. Once again, a great book told in verse. Nick is a young man, almost 13 years old, with his life playing out before him. Soccer is a huge part of that life as well as his best friend Coby. His parents are okay. His mom is quirky, but that just endears her to him. His dad ...? Well, his dad makes Nick read a dictionary that he wrote, which Nick doesn't enjoy. But still, overall, life is good. Then things start to fall apart with an announcement from his parents. Then bullies, stress, falling asleep in class, a girl that he's interested in all plus many other things combine to keep him off balance. I loved how this all played out. We get to see things in Nick's life fall apart and then find a way back together again. There are some wonderful secondary characters who provide some great humor in the book. But I think one of my favorite things about this book is the use of sesquipedalians throughout it. Not only were they informative, but they added to the humor of the book as well. Definitely one I'll be recommending to the higher YA readers I know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago