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All American Boys Hardcover – September 29, 2015
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In this Coretta Scott King Honor Award–winning novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this four-starred reviews tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.
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From School Library Journal
*"With Reynolds writing Rashad’s first-person narrative and Kiely Quinn’s, this hard-edged, ripped-from-the-headlines
book is more than a problem novel; it’s a carefully plotted, psychologically acute, character-driven work of
fiction that dramatizes an all-too-frequent occurrence. Police brutality and race relations in America are
issues that demand debate and discussion, which his superb book powerfully enables.” - Booklist, starred review
*"Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impactlong after the pages stop turning. " - School Library Journal, starred review
"The scenario that Reynolds and Kiely depict has become a recurrent feature of news reports, and a book that lets readers think it through outside of the roiling emotions of a real-life event is both welcome and necessary." - Publishers Weekly
"...[The authors'] passion elevates the novel beyond aneeded call to action to a deeply moving experience." -Kirkus Reviews
- Publisher : Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (September 29, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1481463330
- ISBN-13 : 978-1481463331
- Reading age : 12 years and up
- Lexile measure : HL770L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #185,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I noticed a change in the book's theme as it book goes along. It starts off almost hateful but then it has a theme of generosity or support near the end. Without spoiling too much, the events of the first chapter are never forgotten about. With every page, you see the effects of what happened. A quote from the book, “Nobody says the words anymore, but somehow the violence still remains. If I didn’t want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things.” , perfectly reflects how I felt reading this book.
The two authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely try to maintain a balance between Rashad and Quinn. The middle of the book is very focused on Quinn and him dealing with betrayal and his friends, while Rashad is focused on more in the beginning and end of the book. I guess this makes sense because Rashad was just in the hospital, but I feel that there was more he could have done at certain points. The support given to Rashad by his friends, English, Carlos, and Shannon, is the opposite of how Quinn’s friendships are falling apart.
I am disappointed that some parts of this book were not as challenging for me, and also that there was no real struggle for me in deciding which side I was on, but I think it was a very good book. Although there were things they could improve on, the message is good and the book as a whole is definitely a 5/5. The book is the perfect amount of pages to last you a good week or two, and it is immersing. There were parts of this book where I would not put it down until my kindle died.
I have read this book twice and I am reading it a third time. I would recommend this to every reading teacher out there. This is a must read and can replace books like “Old Yeller” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” in required reading. It gives a good stance on current political issues and gives different views on those issues. Every library, bookstore, and online bookstore needs to have this book. This book will brighten the minds of the latest generation while giving them a good time. This book is one of the best books I have ever read, and that really says something about this book. I look forward to reading the author's other books.
I tried to use this bok for teaching inferencing to a high school class. There is almost nothing to infer because the authors think the audience is too ignorant for that. This is all telling and no showing. SKIP!
Top reviews from other countries
The book is told from the dual viewpoints of Rashad, the victim of the violent act, and Quinn, his classmate and friend of the brother of the policeman involved in the arrest. Quinn is very torn between loyalty, and the tensions that arise in his school as everyone begins to take sides. It is a very effective way to present the different perspectives on the events of the book and to see how people are pressured to taking a stand for one side or another, and how the tension spreads quickly through a community. The subject is dealt with very sensitively, and it really brought the reality of the fallout from these events home in a way that we can all relate to.
The book is emotional and difficult to read in parts, but these are issues that need to be brought into the open and discussed in the light, even if that makes us uncomfortable, so I would highly recommend this as a book you can give to young people in your life as a way of introducing them to the topic and giving you a jumping off point for discussion. I am certainly going to be encouraging my teenage daughters to read it as another step in the conversations I have already had with them following the events of the last twelve months.
The writing between the two authors is seamless, you wouldn’t know it was co-authored if you hadn’t been told, but I am sure the input of both made this book the balanced and considered telling of the story that it is. A great and important read, especially for the young adults it is aimed at.
The novel opens with Rashad and his backstory is slowly expanded upon. We learn that he is being pressured into a military career by his father. Rashad’s father has served as both a former soldier and former cop. When Rashad becomes the victim of police brutality that is largely based upon his race; it shakes the family to its very foundations.
Rashad attends Springfield Central High School, he also regularly attends junior reserve officer training corps (ROTC) to please his father. Upon leaving ROTC he enters Jerry’s a local shop that is known to him. There is an innocent accident, then accusations are thrown and before anyone can attempt to open a dialogue. Rashad finds himself cuffed and being beaten.
‘I just wanted him to stop beating me. I just wanted to live’ – Rashad
The police officer in question maintains that a HANDCUFFED teenage was ‘resisting’. But it is only later, when we discover the full extent of Rashad’s injuries, we learn this was a violent assault on an innocent teen.
‘My brain exploded into a million thoughts and only one thought at the same time -
kill me’ – Rashad
Quinn is then introduced into the novel. He is a young man living with his widowed mother Mia and brother Willy. His father died in Afghan, due to an IED attack. What we learn from Quinn’s internal thoughts is that Quinn was present that day at Jerry’s, he witnessed the brutal assault and fled. Will he now have the courage to stand up for what is right?
The dilemma within the novel, is that Quinn is good friends with the police officer that delivered the violent beating. To Quinn he is a father figure, and this forces Quinn to question everything he has ever known about Paul. Did Paul really assault Rashad due to his race? Was the assault racially motivated?
Rashad is slowly recovering in hospital. He must deal with a father that blames him for the assault and a brother hellbent on fighting the injustice. Then mobile phone footage of the assault is released online. Suddenly Rashad’s assault has gone viral and the world wants answers. . .
‘I didn’t deserve this. None of us did. None of us’ – Rashad
Soon there is a graffiti tag ‘Rashad is absent again today’ and #RashadIsAbsentAgainToday is trending. Kids begin to speak up about racial injustice and question their own internal prejudices. None more so than Quinn.
When Quinn attend the Galluzzo family BBQ, he over hears some comments that leave him emotionally troubled. Quinn fears exposure as a witness to the assault. He fears that others will know he witnessed an attack and fled. Is Quinn part of the problem?
The novel forces you to see the world through both boy’s eyes. Obviously, we build an emotional response to Rashad’s experience. But we also begin to question and speculate what Quinn will do. It is very cleverly structured, and I think perfect for young teens in education settings.
I can’t fully get across how I feel about this novel in text. But it made me think about what I teach my kids. That it is important to educate them not just on injustice, but HOW they should respond in certain situations. As a mother I really felt for Rashad’s situation, you desperately want to reach through the pages and help him. But realistically what Rashad needs, is to learn to come to terms with his experience in his own time.
Emotive, moving and intelligently written. 5* Genius
it is about two characters and relates to racism one who experiences it
and another who observes it. it is a interesting dive into the experiences
of different individuals and how they make the choices they make.
it was interesting to see the struggle of one character who saw the racism and
struggled to understand and compute what the right course of action is for him
all in all it is really enjoyable.
Not only a great story but a thought provoking insight into the lives of both black and white communities and how they interact. It doesn't dwell on racism solely but how individuals acts affect those around them.