All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely – A Book Review

“Had our hearts really become so numb that we needed dead bodies in order to feel the beat of compassion in our chests? Who am I if I need to be shocked back into my best self?” ― Jason Reynolds, All American Boys


Synopsis

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.

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Book: All American Boys

Author: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.29/5 stars

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

 


Review

Overview. After seeing a Buzzfeed article about what are the most important diverse reads to add to your TBR, I saw All American Boys on there, which has been on my shelf or a little while now, I decided I needed to finally pick it up. I’m so glad that I did. This book really does touch something inside of me while reading it. It’s the story of two boys, Rashad and Quinn who have to experience and witness something that nobody should have to go through. 

Pros. Everything about this book was phenomenally done. This book addresses such a huge issue in today’s world that I really do think it is a diverse book that everyone should be reading right now. 

I love the fact that Reynolds and Kiely wrote this together. I had the awesome opportunity to see the two of these guys in action together at YALLFest and they just flow together. There were many points in this book where I don’t think it would have felt as honest if they hadn’t written it together.

The plot line of this book is one of my favorites. I hate that it has to be written but it’s such an important topic in today’s world. It’s not okay to stereotype and police brutality is also not okay, both of those hurt so many people.

Rashad and Quinn felt so real to me and they held such a connection without even meeting until the end of the book. 

Cons. Honestly, nothing. There’s not a single thing that I would nitpick at this book about. I loved everything from the writing styles to the characters.

Overall. So obviously, I very much appreciated this novel. Reynolds and Kelly definitely have an amazing book here and I have to agree with the Buzzfeed article that I read, it is a must read diverse novel. People need to understand why this is not okay, books like this one are so necessary. I gave this book a 5/5 stars.

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