Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Title: All American Boys
Author: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Year Published: 2015

Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 311
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2016 Google Reading map)USA

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book):
 "Rashad is Absent Again Today." That's the sidewalk graffiti that started it all... Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn't matter what Rashad said next--that it was an accident, that he wasn't stealing--the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again... and again... stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing. And that's how it started.

And that's what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend's older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn't tell al soul.... He's not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera anyway. But when the school--and nation--starts to divide on what happened, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like "racism" and "police brutality." Quinn realizes he's got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he's a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn--one black, one white, both American--face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn't die after the civil rights movement. There's a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world. Cuz that's how it can end.

Review: What a good book. I think it's important that this story was written by two authors. Hearing both of their voices and perspectives has a great impact on the characters and story. And what a timely story this is. Police stepping over the line, an unarmed black male suffering the consequences.

I don't have a lot to say except that I think high school students will like this book, relate to it on a number of levels, and will understand where both sides are coming from. And, it just won the Coretta Scott King Award!

This book covers so much: race relations; teen issues; consequences; being raised black in America; friendship; betrayal; loyalty; and more.

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