Date Published: April 2, 2018
Book Author: Kwame Alexander
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
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Get ready to dribble your way through heartache and slam dunk your soul back to life! "Rebound" by Kwame Alexander takes us to 1988, weaving the highs and lows of life on and off the basketball court. When twelve-year-old Charlie Bell loses his father, his world crumbles like a deflated basketball. Charlie's grieving heart can't find its rhythm. Frustration and sadness lead him into trouble, leaving his mother no choice but to send him to his grandparents' home for the summer. There, in the land of tough love and timeless wisdom, Charlie meets his cousin Roxie, a basketball prodigy who knows the key to flying is first learning how to fall.
Summer, however, is not just about fast breaks and alley-oops; it's about comic books and first crushes, enduring hardships and soaring triumphs. It's about finding family in unexpected places, like the neighborhood characters who make you laugh, teach you lessons, and even break your heart. But most importantly, it's about learning the power of the rebound—how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and slam life's challenges right back. Kwame Alexander masterfully crafts a tale written in free verse and dotted with comic book interludes, creating a beautiful narrative that speaks to resilience, family, and the transformative power of sport.
Spoilers (click here to reveal spoilers)
The final buzzer has sounded, but the game's far from over. As summer ends, Charlie returns home, different yet the same. The transformation is subtle but powerful, like a well-executed layup in the dying seconds of a match. With newfound confidence and skills honed on the court, he’s ready to face his first year of high school. Though the absence of his father still echoes in his heart, Charlie learns that life goes on, that you can score even when you’re down, and that family and love are the ultimate rebound. He finally finds the courage to read his father's last letter, letting the words settle in his soul, as he realizes he's ready to face the world, to live and not just exist.
Charlie Bell: A twelve-year-old grieving his father’s loss, yearns for normality but finds strength through basketball and family. Values the concept of resilience, evidenced when he decides to rebound from his emotional setbacks.
Roxie: Charlie’s cousin, a basketball prodigy who’s tough on the surface but loving at the core. She values hard work, as shown by her relentless training and supportive mentorship of Charlie.
Grandma and Granddaddy: Charlie’s grandparents, the epitome of tough love and wisdom. Value family and heritage, seen when they take Charlie in and guide him back on the right path.
Grief and Loss: The emptiness Charlie feels without his father symbolizes the struggle many face when dealing with loss.
Resilience: Illustrated through Charlie’s journey from a broken boy to a young man ready to face life’s challenges.
Family: The importance of family shines through in the strength and support Charlie gains from his grandparents and cousin.
Transformation and Growth: From rebellious acts to mature decisions, Charlie’s character evolves, epitomizing the coming-of-age journey.
The Power of Sport: Basketball serves as more than a game; it becomes a coping mechanism, a form of expression, and a path toward self-discovery for Charlie.