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I love the reliability of Rashad and his friends, it's something I haven't seen in a book in a very long time. Oct 10, Krista Regester rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. How important it is to show that monsters can act human sometimes. Jul 08, Hannah Greendale rated it it was amazing Shelves: young-adult. Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. A powerful social commentary, relevant and deeply moving.
This book has the power to open eyes, to invoke empathy, to initiate essential conversations, to aid with understanding, to encourage change. Rich with authenticity and narrative voice, All American Boys is a must read. Jun 18, Jillian Heise rated it it was amazing Shelves: wsra-chpbk , boy-appeal-recs , multiple-perspectives , historical , yrshortlist , favorite-authors-new-books , representation-matters , edited-by-caitlyn , yrreads.
I'm not sure my words will be able to adequately express the importance of this book and the urgency I feel to get it into hands of my urban teens. This is a book to start conversations, in our classrooms and with each other. It's a book to make you take a step back and look at bias in your own life. The power in this book lies in the stripped down simplicity-two boys, two views, one incident, which, through the honesty and realness of the characters who are dealing with complex issues of race, I'm not sure my words will be able to adequately express the importance of this book and the urgency I feel to get it into hands of my urban teens.
The power in this book lies in the stripped down simplicity-two boys, two views, one incident, which, through the honesty and realness of the characters who are dealing with complex issues of race, community, perceptions, stereotypes, and assumptions, is able to address a timely issue in a way teens will be able to relate to without feeling lectured at.
Reynolds and Kiely have written a story that stays true to the teen voice and the inner struggle of trying to understand things that don't make sense, and wanting to change but not knowing how, wanting to fight for what's right in the face of outside pressures, and how that all impacts relationships with family and friends. I especially appreciated that the two characters were the forefront, but had friends, teachers, and family who all affected their actions and decisions in a true to life way.
It's honest, real, powerful, and oh so important. It's a book people need to read. View 2 comments. Oct 14, Tatiana added it Shelves: book-club , , ya , 4 , starred An important book, but unfortunately not a very well written one. The "message" overshadows absolutely everything in this novel.
There is no room for the reader to come to any own conclusions. Still, a fair primer for kids unfamiliar with the "black lives matter" movement. Sep 26, Jennifer Bacall rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. If I had a million dollars I would buy cases of this book. Anytime that someone begins a discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality in the United States, or the current American experience of race I'd hand them a copy. This is the most timely and deftly handled book directed at teens , on the issues of the black and white American racial divide.
The frightening thing is that it is set in current time. But that was nuts It was everywhere and all mixed up in everything Rashad is a high school aged black boy. He's clean cut, in ROTC. He stops at a convenience store to buy a snack. Quinn is a white boy on the basketball team. His father died as a soldier in the war in Afghanistan and is considered a hero.
Quinn's best friend is Guzzo, and his brother Paul is the police officer that attacked Rashad. Quinn witnesses the entire attack. He doesn't know what happened in the store but feels like there is nothing that Rashad could have done that would make him deserve being brutally beaten. Jason chooses direct and simple words but uses unpredictable cadences and inflections that give a kind of musicality to his writing.
In a section when Rashad's brother, Spoony, learns of his attack he uses the phrase "calm down" six times in two paragraphs. When read aloud it sounds like beat poetry. The layers of Rashad's character are endearing. Reynolds includes unexpected yet yield producing quirks, like his love of the very white comic, Family Circus.
Quinn's sections are written by Brendan Kiely.
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Kiely's character reads both sympathetic and self important. He is an ultimately "good" person who has to sort through piles of confusing relationships and familial biases to decide what is right. His family is strongly influenced by their relationship with Paul Guzzo, and they blindly stand behind him believing that he did his best.
They choose to trust his judgement but Quinn is conflicted because he knows what he has seen. Besides the actual scene of violence, Quinn's sections are the most difficult to read as his pain and frustration are palatable and deep. As readers we cheer for him to choose to fight for others while seeing that it may cost him a role in his only social outlet, basketball. The author duo mange to gesture to: Police brutality Hands up, Don't shoot Racial profiling "Were your pants sagging? I hope that this title will be completely irrelevant in a few years. I'd love for kids to look at it and wonder if it was an exaggerated, apocalyptic fiction.
If we ever honestly start a dialog in this country as intelligent and open as this book, maybe then All American Boys will cease to be one of the most important books published for teens.
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All American Boys zooms in on a violent act that inflames racial tension, similar to books like The Hate U Give and all too familiar in American media culture. Similar to The Hate U Give , All American Boys is written for a YA audience and deals directly with the event and aftermath of a violent act by a police officer on an unarmed black male teenager. What sets this work apart from others is the alternating viewpoint between two protagonists, Rashad and Quinn, and how authors Jason Reynolds and All American Boys zooms in on a violent act that inflames racial tension, similar to books like The Hate U Give and all too familiar in American media culture.
What sets this work apart from others is the alternating viewpoint between two protagonists, Rashad and Quinn, and how authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely bring them to life. Rashad is mistaken for a shoplifter by Officer Paul Galluzzo; the subsequent belligerent arrest is witnessed by Quinn, who considers the Galluzzo family as his own after his father died in Afghanistan. The alternating perspectives allow the reader to consider the event from multiple viewpoints. In summary, this can certainly be classified as a Teen Issue Book and was a satisfying read. Recommended to fans of YA lit.
This was such a powerful book and I absolutely loved every second of it.
I didn't realize that this book was about the topic that it covered and I'm so glad that I went into it blind. It was done beautifully and think that this book definitely doesn't get as much hype as it deserves. I really hope that more people get the opportunity to read it. I definitely will be doing a fully review on it.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
Through this book, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely explores racism, police brutality, and what it means to be an "American Boy". This story is told through different lenses and explores different perspectives. Rashad, a black student, was beaten up by a white police officer and Quinn, a fellow classmate, witnessed it.
The authors explained the importance of perspective and how nothing is right or wrong. But more importantly, they also dug into what an "American boy" is. Another message that came across stated how everyone's presence is changing history and making a difference. It really stood out towards the end not only through the march but also when Rashad finally added faces to his Aaron Douglas styled drawings- telling the world that the character deserves to be noticed and isn't "invisible".
Because they are there. They matter. And they are to be heard. Dec 19, David Schaafsma rated it liked it Shelves: ya , ya-afram , ya-sports , ya-race. The rating for this YA book so far is very high I think primarily because it is timely, ripped out of the daily news about racism and police brutality: Rashad, a black teen in a convenience store to buy a bag of chips, reaches into his backpack while in line just as a white woman accidentally bumps into him, and he falls to the floor.
The owner, much besieged by petty theft, sees Rashad with his hand in his bag, yells to a white cop in the store that the kid is shoplifting. The cop beats t The rating for this YA book so far is very high I think primarily because it is timely, ripped out of the daily news about racism and police brutality: Rashad, a black teen in a convenience store to buy a bag of chips, reaches into his backpack while in line just as a white woman accidentally bumps into him, and he falls to the floor.
The cop beats the kid to a pulp, which would be brutally harsh even if he WERE shoplifting. Quinn, a white teen who sees this agrees the brutality is unwarranted. But the tricky thing is that the cop doing the beating is Paul, a father figure to Quinn, whose biological Dad died in battle. Paul lives right across the street, has helped me in many ways, including developing as a basketball player.
The answer is that it is a process. So the courage to do the right thing bumps up against the code of silence. I had just read YA texts by Alexie and Schmidt, also about difficult social issues, and they have greater complexity and overall writing quality than this book, which I read very fast, hardly marking a phrase I loved. The characters seem real, the friendships and tensions and the dialogue seems real, and we get to understand how whites and blacks might see situations differently though in the end, they see everything exactly alike, basically.
This is a BlackLIvesMatter book with pretty didactic anti-racist purposes. Overall my students are liking it. The writing strategy for the book is interesting: Two authors, one white, one black, friends, each represent the same events in alternating chapter fashion for each of the two main characters. Unfortunately there are many such stories for us to choose from for comparative purposes. Things move with almost no real complications to its pretty uplifting conclusion, but without a real conversation between Quinn and cop Paul.
Quiinn a little too quickly goes from regular guy basketball-obsessed guy to admirable but sorta unbelievably articulate spokesman for anti-racist action. Two races, two families, two cops who have done bad things, but neither of these things are adequately discussed with the perpetrators. Still, I liked the book and will recommend it widely to young people and teachers of young people. Jan 16, K. Trigger warnings: racism, racial stereotyping, police brutality, mentions of police shooting, mentions of racial slurs. So I've been meaning to read this book for at least the past year, and yet somehow I never quite got around to it.
Better late than never?? I was a little hesitant going into this, because I wasn't sure if I was in the mood for a book dealing with this subject matter. And yet I ended up completely hooked from page 1. I found the juxtaposition of Rashad an Trigger warnings: racism, racial stereotyping, police brutality, mentions of police shooting, mentions of racial slurs.
I found the juxtaposition of Rashad and Quinn's narratives to be incredibly powerful. Getting to see what was happening at school in Rashad's absence was incredibly powerful, while seeing Rashad in the hospital processing what's happened to him was heartbreaking. I read this in physical form, but I kind of wish I'd been reading it on my Kindle, just so I could have highlighted all the passages that stabbed me in the feelings. It's an amazing book that made me cry and feel things and cry some more. But in a good way? Favourite quote 1: "And if I don't do something 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.
Nov 26, Catie rated it really liked it Shelves: audio , ya , read-insummer , read-in , book-club-social-issues. It's absolutely an "issue" book, but the authors do a great job of crafting each character even the villain in a way that is nuanced, flawed, and human. I think that young people will connect with these boys and will be inspired by the empowering ending.
I wish that every incident of unnecessary violence against a person of color would be as hotly protested as the one in this book, but that's not always reality. That's why we all need this book. The story that this book brings to our young people has the power to help change our reality. If this book didn't have so many f-bombs, I would teach it in a hot minute! Jan 16, Chelsea rated it it was ok Shelves: 2-star.
TW: racism, police brutality, assault Another book that has a strong central message, but is bogged down by the writing and story structure. The other perspective is Quinn, a white teen who witnessed the assault and must decide whether to speak up. The best part of this boo TW: racism, police brutality, assault Another book that has a strong central message, but is bogged down by the writing and story structure.
The best part of this book, without a doubt, is its examination of racism, culminating in a way that made the story feel rewarding by the end. Many teens could benefit from reading this story. The plot moves along quickly enough to keep the story engaging. Some parts are intentional, like the authors trying to talk like teens, but other parts just feel like bad writing, perhaps amplified by the stream of consciousness narrative in parts. It felt like a book trying to appeal to teenage boys but just ended up coming off as annoying.
It was fascinating reading this book in both Rashad and Quinn 's perspective. At the beginning of this book, both of them were at the opposite sides of the spectrum regarding this issue. But as the story went on, Quinn's attitude and perspective started to change.
He was there when Rashad was beaten. He saw what happened.
And although he could have easily shrugged his shoulders and walked away saying, "This isn't my problem. This isn't my fight. He Rashad is absent again today. He does not want to stay quiet any more. Police brutality has been happening all over the world to undeserving citizens that did nothing wrong. I hope that as this book garner more attention, more people can open their eyes and help do something about the injustice happening all around us.
Overall, an amazing book to read for the BlackLivesMatter movement. Who am I if I need to be shocked back into my best self? Dec 27, Xueting rated it really liked it. The very timely and important topic of police brutality and race in America did not stop this book from being engaging and in my opinion pretty objective.
I loved how the book surprised me about giving multiple sides to the story, not just the black boy Rashad but also the white policeman Paul, and then also the perspectives of black policemen. I also love the rare inclusion of female voices, leading the activism no less. When I read the part in Jason Reynolds' acknowledgements about the femal The very timely and important topic of police brutality and race in America did not stop this book from being engaging and in my opinion pretty objective.
When I read the part in Jason Reynolds' acknowledgements about the females at the front line, I realized that yeah, women are always involved in the Black Lives Matter activities and because they involve themselves!! A bit of the aftermath stuff got quite repetitive, but at the same time it felt realistically repetitive, so maybe that's more of a plus.
It pulled me into the book right away and I immediately started taking sides and forming my own opinions, just for them to get challenged as the book continues. Can't wait to read other Jason Reynolds books, and also Brendan Kiely. I love that they write it together too, I wonder if they alternate by Rashad and Quinn, hmm Sep 02, Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing. This book is incredibly timely and hard to read.
The story is told in alternating chapters by Rashad victim of police brutality and Quinn who saw the incidentwhich, if we're being honest, should really be called assaultbut who is incredibly close to the officer who assault Rashad and who is conflicted about what to think and whom to believe, even though he actually DID see pretty much everything.
It's not surprising exactly but everything here is so complicated. It's obvious that Paul is carrying around a lot of anger, but does that really discount all the good he does? This book is really great and if you want to see a case like this from both sides, this is for you. Highly recommended. Easy answer: Paul is wrong. Easy AND true. Jan 01, Franki Sibberson rated it it was amazing Shelves: young-adult-novel , A powerful must-read book. Feb 18, Jessica Jeffers rated it really liked it Shelves: young-adult , authors-of-color.
An excellent book on an important topic, but it did occasionally feel like a Book On An Important Topic. More to come. Feb 07, Fatma rated it liked it Shelves: poc-author , own-voices , audiobooks , library , poc-protag. Make it a staple. Make it a YA classic. Books like these are what we should be building our foundations--YA and otherwise--on.
Reynolds and Kiely do a great job exploring a breadth of topics in this novel, highlighting aspects that I don't think are often highlighted when we talk about these issues. Of course they unravel the larger, overarching topics, like police brutality, questioning and dismantling internalized racism, what to do when a community is rattled by a blatant act of injustice.
However, they also underscore the deeply intimate reverberations these acts can have on a person, like what it means to have a video of yourself being violated circulated across the media and played again and again and again. Needless to say, these issues are not constrained to this book. They are part of people's lived realities, more so than I can ever imagine. As for Quinn and Rashad's voices, they read as extremely authentic to me, and I really felt for them and what they were struggling with.
Personally, I think Rashad's perspective was a bit on the dry side, especially because he was in the hospital the whole time, and after a while it felt like I was reading different iterations of the same interactions. Quinn's chapters definitely drew me in a lot more. So far, this review has been all praise, so why the 3. Well, by far my biggest problem with All American Boys is that it felt like it needed to be more fleshed out.
That's too short a time period for such momentous character development to happen how does one even begin to dismantle internalized racism in a week? More importantly though, it's hard truly investing yourself in these characters when you've only known them in the context of what happened to Rashad. If we had known what Quinn's relationship with Paul was like before Paul did what he did to Rashad, then it would've given us so much more insight into Quinn's emotional conflict. Same thing with Spoony, Rashad's brother.
All we know him as is this super passionate activist for black rights. That's great, but if you asked me to tell you anything else about him, I'd draw a blank. This goes for every single character, and I think that's the crux of my problem with this book: every character is cast in a specific role, which ultimately makes it hard to think of them as anything outside those roles. Lastly--and this wasn't that big of an issue but I wanted to mention it anyway--the writing meandered at times, which made a lot of the scenes feel like filler.
I found this was especially pronounced in Rashad's chapters, largely because he was bedridden for almost the whole book. Overall, All American Boys is a great collaboration. Sure, I had my problems with it, but that doesn't make its message any less urgent. I know people throw around the statement "this book is important!! Read it. Listen to it. Learn from it. And don't let that learning experience end when you flip the last page.
Did you expect it to end this way or was there an ending that would have been better? Readers also enjoyed. Young Adult. Realistic Fiction. About Jason Reynolds.
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