Book Chat’s Rating: ∗∗∗∗/5

I attempted to write this review in rhymes
But after a few tries I thought it would be a crime
My hubby said I  don’t know a thing about rap
But hey, if they can rap about garbage bags
I can write about anything without feeling like crap.

The story is about 13-yo twin brothers
Who have their feuds about some crossovers
In a court of basketball they soon discover
Sometimes there is no winning even when the game is over.

Okie, well, that’s all the rhymes I can think of… It really was a fun and quick read. From the start of the book, I can already hear the music slamming with the poetic writing. The brothers, JB and Josh, aka, Filthy McNasty, through the course of the book, learned the 10 Rules of basketballs and 12 important words of their lives. Their mom is the school principal and their dad is an former basketball star. I can’t say if that is a typical African-American family but I can tell that they do not speak like the “rappers” we usually see on TV.

I’ve recently read quite some YA books and found that they were at some point, all trying to push some new vocabularies to the readers. I like that aspect and it makes me wonder why children books in Vietnamese aren’t written more that way. I particularly like the part when Dad and Filthy talked just by questioning each other. Sometimes you don’t really need answers you just need your questions to be heard.

Have you been practicing your free throw?
Why didn’t you go to the doctore when Mom asked you?

When is the game?
Why didn’t you ever take us fishing?

Does your brother still have a girlfriend?
Are you going to die?

Some say the book also deal subtly with racial issue, I didn’t notice (in fact did not believe) that being pulled over for a broken taillight or when momma Bell warning Filthy that young men with bad temper may not do them any good as signs of pushing social agenda. Although when people want to push their agenda, they can read into many things. I do hope this book is not another book about race, because for all I see, it’s about family, athleticism, friendship and brotherhood.

Photo Credit: Book stock cover

Hardcover, 237 pp.
Published March 18th 2014 by Harcourt Brace and Company (first published January 1st 2014)
Literary awards: Newbery Medal (2015), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee (2016), Coretta Scott King Award for Author Honor (2015), Charlotte Huck Honor Book (2015)