BookPage Children's Top Pick, April 2016
Malapropism. Flummoxed. Rapprochement. Stupefy. “The average person knows about twelve thousand words. / Average president knows twice that. . . .” In Booked, the new novel-in-verse by Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander, 12-year-old Nick knows all about words. His father is obsessed with them and makes Nick read every day from Weird and Wonderful Words, a dictionary that he wrote. Though immersed in books and language at home, Nick’s passion lies somewhere else: the soccer field.
Nick is a talented soccer player and just made the A team for his travel soccer club—but his best friend, Coby, didn’t. So now Nick plays for a rival team. If that’s not bad enough, Nick is being bullied on a regular basis, and he’s finding it harder than he hoped to talk to April, the girl of his dreams. On top of everything else, his mom is leaving Nick and his dad to pursue her dream of training racehorses.
Filled with rich, brilliant language and sharp, staccato verse that drives the reader forward, Booked handles difficult and painful realities with the ease of a superstar on the soccer field. While eschewing the eclectic verse structures and concrete poetry in exchange for more traditional free verse (with a sprinkling of informative and very funny footnotes), Alexander recaptures the magic of The Crossover and delivers a powerful story that will leave the reader breathless, right to the very end.