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Booked

Review

Booked

In BOOKED, Kwame Alexander takes readers on a unique adventure with teen boy Nick Hall. This is not because of the overly spectacular events in the tale, but because of the magical use of poetry in telling an otherwise unremarkable story.

Nick is an average boy of 13 who likes football and hates books. Forced by his word-loving father to read dictionaries as a hobby, Nick tries to escape words wherever he can. This is until he realizes words are his best weapon in getting the girl, beating the bullies and rebuilding the bonds between him and his father. The challenges Nick faces throughout the story are portrayed through his eyes and, therefore, his words. With the help of Coby, his football-loving friend, Nick is able to face teen dramas of all sorts in his life. April, his teen crush also gives Nick more feminine support, which drives him to overcome some of his greatest dilemmas.

"I highly recommend Kwame Alexander’s poetic novel masterpiece. The way Nick’s story is told is highly refreshing and the moral of the story very poignant."

This book is a true triumph in the children’s poetry novel genre. It is rare to find a book that addresses themes so relatable to the target audience of children without being patronizing. Kwame gives the readers the benefit of the doubt by allowing them to fill in the blanks that his poetry does not cover word for word. The poems themselves provide incredible imagery with the dialogue in the book being very enjoyable to read. The line for line punctuality makes the poet’s work very easy to read, and after diving into a few pages of the book, a flow for reading is found which makes the rest of the novel fast paced, funny and interesting. The characters in this book are extremely realistic and relatable. I found myself giggling at the conversations Nick has both with and about the people in the story. Mr. and Mrs. Hall in particular were very entertaining and added a depth to BOOKED.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way this novel was written, and the use of poetry really highlighted the language and importance of words in society, through Nick’s eyes. I found the first few pages rather tricky to get through, as the poetic flow was new to me. However, as the story progressed, I embraced the nature of the lines and really enjoyed the difference in the reading. The themes discussed by Kwame Alexander are rather stock-standard, with things such as family breakups, identity crises and average teen struggles coming into play rather too often for my liking as a slightly older reader.  However, the use of poetry definitely made up for these regularities.

BOOKED by Kwame Alexander is definitely a great alternative to Shakespearean sonnets, for readers looking to dive into the world of poetic storytelling. The age-group who would benefit the most from reading BOOKED would be those in their late childhood or early teens. I highly recommend Kwame Alexander’s poetic novel masterpiece. The way Nick’s story is told is highly refreshing and the moral of the story very poignant. Alexander has used his own personal experience to build the story and help get kids interested in poetry and literature in general. This book should be found in all school libraries as it is the novel that a kid will pick up, start reading and be inspired to start writing differently because Alexander’s use of words is interesting and inspirational.

Reviewed by Sally Witchalls on May 18, 2016

Booked
by Kwame Alexander