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I was given this book as a present from my grandfather, John M, and reported on it to my seventh grade class. It was a wonderful tale of overcoming racism and police brutality. The main characters were Quinn, who was white, and who witnessed his school friend Rashad, who was black, being beaten by a white police officer. The white police officer had raised Quinn after his father died. This is a story about a conflict that Quinn had whether he could believe that his substitute father would do something so wrong. I thought it was very well written, how Rashad talked about artists because Rashad lover to draw, the suspense in the book, how Quinn would be about to do something and then the story would switch to Rashad so I had to wait to find out what would happen, the slang that they used was how people their age talk. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a realistic book that talks about racism and how it still exists. Check it out!
From School Library Journal Gr 8 Up—Rashad Butler is a quiet, artistic teen who hates ROTC but dutifully attends because father insists “there’s no better opportunity for a black boy in this country than to join the army.” He heads to Jerry’s corner store on a Friday night to buy chips, and ends up the victim of unwarranted arrest and police brutality: an event his white schoolmate Quinn Collins witnesses in terrified disbelief. Quinn is even more shocked because the cop is Paul Galluzzo, older brother of his best friend and Quinn’s mentor since his father died in Afghanistan. As events unfold, both boys are forced to confront the knowledge that racism in America has not disappeared and that change will not come unless they step forward. Reynolds and Kiely’s collaborative effort deftly explores the aftermath of police brutality, addressing the fear, confusion, and anger that affects entire communities. Diverse perspectives are presented in a manner that feels organic to the narrative, further emphasizing the tension created when privilege and racism cannot be ignored. Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning. VERDICT Great for fostering discussions about current events among teenage audiences. A must-have for all collections.—Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal
All American Boys Hardcover – September 29, 2015 by Jason Reynolds (Author) Review
All American Boys tries to demonstrate the arguments both for and against what has become the Black Lives Matter movement. Rashad Butler, a black youth, is grabbed from a store and beaten up by Paul Galluzzo, a white police officer, who mistook Rashad for a shoplifter. Quinn Collins, a white youth who goes to the same school and knows several of the same kids as Rashad, witnesses the pummeling outside of the store. Authors Jason Reynolds (black) and Brendon Keily (white) weave many recent news stories through their fictional story. All American Boys is a great choice for a book club and other discussions of this divisive controversy. Here are a few of the themes Ive been thinking about from my reading of this book: Has discrimination been eliminated or has it become camouflaged? Have we become color-blind in our dealings with each other? Is there a difference in what a young black person can expect to experience from police and what a white person of the same age and socio-economic status can expect? Do our appearances (dress, hair, language, actions) matter enough in how others perceive us that we should compromise our own need to be true to ourselves to avoid misunderstandings? Do the parents of black youth face a different challenge in raising their children in teaching them what they need to be productive and safe in America? Do we actually see each other when we arent compelled to do so by circumstances or social conditions? What shortcuts do we take in understanding one another? How much do the expectations that others have of us box us in, even shape who we become? Reynolds and Keily made a valiant effort to be even-handed in considering these themes, drawing a number of parallels between the experiences of Rashad and Quinn as they struggle with adolescence, on the threshold of becoming adults. For example, Rashads father wonders if the way Rashads dressed that night (sagging pants) contributed to what happened to him. Quinns mother is appalled to discover that underage Quinn has been breaking the law by carrying a flask of liquor, which would destroy his good regard in town if known. My hesitation in my rating is that I wasnt as challenged in my own biases as I expected when I started the book. It became fairly clear as I read who the authors considered to be in the wrong. Rashid and his defenders became more and more reasonable and thoughtful, searching for the truth. Paul and his defenders, especially his younger brother, became caricatures, starting fights, being angry and unreasonable, refusing to listen or consider other points of view. In conclusion, although a bit heavy-handed, All American Boys is well worth the read, and is a step toward narrowing the divide in perceptions. -Read Reviews-
All American Boys tells the story of Rashad Butler (black) and Quinn Collins (white) who dont really socialize but go to the same school. When Rashad is involved in an incident on his way to a party, he starts getting a ton of attention. Throughout the book, we see how Rashad recovers from this incident and how people he would have never suspected support him. This book has points that will have you almost in tears of joy and points that leave you in shock. 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 didnt 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 Quinns 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.
Tags: African Americans, All American Boys, Atheneum, Brendan Kiely, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Children: Young Adult (Gr. 7-9), Jason Reynolds, Juvenile Fiction, Law & Crime, Police brutality, Prejudice & Racism, Race relations, Racial profiling in law enforcement, Racism, Social Issues, Social Themes, Social Themes - Prejudice & Racism, Social Themes - Values & Virtues, Social Themes - Violence, Violence, YOUNG ADULT FICTION