Booked by Kwame Alexander

Published: 2016

Genre: middle grade fiction in verse

Length: 314 pages

Setting: somewhere near Dallas, Texas, present day

Interest: We loved The Crossover so much that when we saw Booked sitting on a shelf at the library as we returned The Crossover, the kids made me get it and read it next. It helps that Mr. Curiosity is a big soccer fan, and this book focuses on soccer.

Summary: Nick is a soccer enthusiast and he’s pretty good on the field (although maybe not as good as his best friend, Coby). Sadly, he’s not as confident off the pitch. There’s this girl he likes, April, from deportment class, but the bullies from his class have decided she’s theirs and he can’t stand up to them. It doesn’t help that it looks like his parents are splitting up. He does manage to get together with April, helped by the hip school librarian’s book club. His dreams of soccer glory in the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup are dashed when his appendix bursts during a game. As he’s healing, he takes stock of his life, and makes a few changes. One of which is finally getting the courage to stand up to the school bullies, without fighting them.

Final thoughts: Another delightful book, if not quite as good as The Crossover. I missed the jazzy, hip-hop styled, free form poems during games. There were some game poems in Booked, but they didn’t have as much energy. We did get a new type of poem, though, a blackout poem, that I’ll have to try with the kids this year. There were also a few book review poems. The books suggested were all books in verse, which we’ll have to check out when we’re in the mood for some more poetry.

We did see Nick dealing with all the usual middle-school angst both among peers (girls, friends, and bullies) and parents (dealing with the possibility of divorce). Again, it’s written with minority characters. I feel like Nick might be a minority, but I know Coby was at least half Asian. We also get introduced to new words throughout the book. Nick’s father is a linguist who wrote a dictionary. Nick is expected to read said dictionary, under duress, but he still manages to sneak some big words into his everyday speech. We get the definitions as footnotes to the poems (which is harder to incorporate into reading the poems out loud).

Title comes from: Booked is a soccer term which means you committed a foul and were given a yellow card or a red card

Reading challenges fulfilled: #70 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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