Title: All American Boys
Author: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Release date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Page number: 316
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 a 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—start to divide on what happens, 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.
I picked up this book one Saturday morning on my way to work (tutoring kids) to bide the time while I waited to start working. I always show up at least 20 minutes early so there’s plenty of time to knock out a few pages and I was hooked right from the beginning. From the first page the story had me engrossed and I really didn’t want to put the book down when I had to start working. I resumed reading the second I got home and didn’t stop until I finished. It was an amazing read and so relevant in the climate many of us live in. If you haven’t read this yet, you totally should it’s an engrossing powerful read and in my own (not expert) opinion does a great job of portraying what many people have to go through every single day. This book is just absolutely amazing and breathtaking and really hit home for me. This is a real fear that impacts many people and reading about it is a way for us to learn and spread awareness.
I loved the dual povs and how that structure was integral to how the story works out. Our two main characters never really meet in person until the very end of the book and even then they don’t talk to each other. We see two sides to the same story just like there are always to sides when events like this happen in real life. It really makes you look back and think about whether we have done enough and if there even is more that we can do. Police brutality is a big problem and there really doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it or to at least make sure that the victims get justice. There isn’t much of a happy ending to this book just as there isn’t a happy ending when these things happen in real life. The right word to describe the ending is hopeful. Hopeful that it won’t happen again and hopeful that in the future we will all stand together and make sure it ends right.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?