Synopsis – Twin brothers, Josh and Jordan, are star basketball players at school. The brothers deal with growing up, both on and off the court, before the tragedy happens.
My thoughts – I wasn’t too sure about the book at first, it took a few pages to get used to it being written in verse, but when I did get into it, I really enjoyed it. The verses have a good flow to them and lend themselves to being read aloud. There is an emphasis placed on certain words with the layout of the book, an example of this is the word down is split into four lines, each letter on the line below so you are reading down. This is done throughout the book, and makes it more engaging for a reader.
You quickly become attached to the characters within the book and empathise with their situation. It feels very real and is easy to relate to the events throughout the book. The use of slang makes it feel more personal and realistic and helps you to build a connection with the character.
Even though there’s no description within the book, it is easy to imagine what is happening and where they are from the language used and prior knowledge.
Classroom ideas – It would be good to explore the point of view of other key characters within the book. The book is told by Josh and only really considers his feelings. Exploring the thoughts and feelings of other characters would enable the pupils to develop their understanding of the plot and the motives of the characters.
The author uses key poetry techniques throughout the book which would lend itself to lots of discussions about the different techniques and what impact it has on the story and how it is read.
It would be important to discuss the death of their dad with the class, to ensure they all were ok. It can be a hard ending to read and for some children may not be an appropriate book to share with them, depending on their needs. This would need to be addressed sensitively and with caution to cause as little upset as possible, whilst getting important messages across to the class.