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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

All American Boys

by Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely

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This bold and compelling YA novel tackles a sensitive and potentially incendiary topic—police violence against people of color—in an effective and realistic manner. Told from the alternating perspectives of two adolescent male narrators, the story demonstrates quite vividly the vast differences that exist between the worlds that each teen inhabits despite the school and community that they share.

Rashad, an African-American ROTC student, narrates most of his story from a hospital room, where he’s recovering from the brutal violence he suffered at the hands of a white officer, who suspected him of attacking a woman and robbing a convenience store. The officer is a close family friend of Quinn, a white, well-respected son of an Iraqi War vet who was killed in action. Quinn, who is Rashad’s classmate but doesn’t know him well, witnesses the assault and spends most of the novel struggling with questions of racism, privilege, and inequality.

Reynolds and Kiely wisely keep Rashad and Quinn apart for most of the novel—and the effect is powerful. This technique highlights the disparity in their worlds and the impact that each boy’s race has on his life experience. Very much a contemporary novel, the story alludes to fairly recent and well publicized acts of police violence against Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and others.

The novel is a quick read, yet that does not detract one iota from its impact or the authenticity of its social commentary. Reynolds and Kiely have crafted a gripping, trenchant narrative featuring believable characters coping with current social problems that have real consequences. This novel belongs in the hands of every teenager and secondary English teacher in the country. ( )
  jimrgill | Aug 9, 2017 |
Told from alternating points of view, Rashad and Quinn are high school acquaintances who find their lives connected after a brutal police beating.
Rashad, an African American teenager is in a convenience store, reaching for his cell phone when he is accused of shoplifting. A police officer who is in the store drags Rashad out of the store and beats him. Quinn, a white teenager witnesses the beating. He vaguely recognizes Rashad, but does recognize the police officer Paul Galluzzo, who became like a big brother to Quinn after Quinn's after died.
The book builds dramatic tension when both boys must make a decision--will Rashad put himself into the spotlight and speak out to get justice and as Quinn struggles with loyalty, will he tell what he saw? ( )
  StacyWright | Jul 2, 2017 |
This breathtakingly honest, artfully written, emotionally smart look at lives rocked by police brutality; it moves beyond headlines, hashtags, and stereotypes.
  KatieChapman8908 | Jun 21, 2017 |
Very good, thought provoking book that should be required reading for high school students ( )
  susan.h.schofield | Jun 15, 2017 |
This was an amazing read about race, community, and friendship. This book is about two boys, the first a black boy who was beaten for no reason by a police officer and the white boy who witnessed the altercation. This book is (unfortunately) very socially relevant and a good way to introduce a discussion about this issue in the classroom. The story has great voice for both characters, and it really gives you a sense of how difficult this is for every single aspect of the community. There is some swearing in this book so that would have to be filtered if you read it aloud.
  siobhan.mcsweeney | Apr 3, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jason Reynoldsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kiely, Brendanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Your left! Your left! Your left-right-left! Your left! Your left! Your left-right-left! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I left. I left. I left-left-left that wack school and that even more wack ROTC drill team because it was Friday, which to me, and basically every other person on Earth, meant it was time to party.
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When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints.… (more)

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