________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 4 . . . . October 10, 2008


Crossover. (Orca Sports).

Jeff Rud.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2008.
170 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-981-5.

Subjecy Headings:
Basketball stories.
Bullying - Juvenile stories.

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Deborah Pethrick.

*** /4


I marched toward Stillman, who was at the far free throw line, standing with the ball on his hip. “What exactly is your problem?” I said, looking directly into his black eyes.

“Just you,” Stillman replied, an irritating smirk forming at one corner of his mouth. “I thought you were supposed to be a basketball player, not one of the funny boys of the drama department.”

Kyle Evans is a 15-year-old high school student with the world by the tail. A triple threat basketball player, a beautiful girlfriend and lots of friends, his life is perfect, perfect, that is, until he is convinced to try out for the school play. Then life takes a tumble. Lukas is an old friend from grade school. When they were younger, they used to make up plays and present them to family. As they got older, their interests changed. Kyle became interested in sports while Lukas continued with drama. So it was a surprise to Kyle when Lukas calls and suggests he try out for the school play. Kyle says no but changes his mind after talking to his girlfriend, Jenna, a shoo-in for the female lead. After getting a part in the production, Kyle is now left with the challenge of fitting in rehearsals, basketball practices and school work.

     But the biggest hurdle is telling his coach and team he has a role, a lead role, in the school production of Oliver. “I just wanted to talk to you, Coach,”… “I’ve got a part in the school play,” I said. “I just wanted you to know that. It won’t interfere with practices and-“…Coach cuts Kyle off, annoyed. … “Kyle, you should have checked this out with me first.”… “the school play is huge commitment,” Coach said. “But basketball is an even bigger one.”… Back at rehearsals, Ms. Lawson, the drama teacher, was telling them the production was to be their number one commitment outside of school work  “Was the musical bigger than basketball for me? Bigger than Jenna? I was excited about being part of it, but I couldn’t quite go that far.”

     Ben Stillman is the basketball team’s star player. He also has the biggest ego and little tolerance for anyone other than his fellow jocks. But there is a friction between Ben and Kyle, and the tension increases when the stage sets for the play are vandalized and Lukas becomes the target of homophobic hatred. Kyle knows who is behind it and must decide what to do. If he tells Coach who is responsible, the team will be jeopardized. If he doesn’t, he betrays his friendship with Lukas and Jenna.

     A new addition to the “Orca Sports” series, Crossover is a story with issues to which readers will easily relate. There is the age-old “jock” vs. “geek” question, the subject of loyalty and friendship and the struggle with maintaining image. Although the ending is a bit of a letdown, you cannot read this book without asking yourself,  “What would I do?” while knowing all the while what you should do. Crossover is the fourth title in the “Orca Sports” series for author Jeff Rud. In the Orca style, Crossover is a short hi- interest novel that teens will enjoy.


Deborah Pethrick works in a Kindergarten-grade 9 school library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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