All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Reviewed by: EPL
Fiction , Young Adult
Title: All American Boys
By: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Call #: YA Fiction Reyno.J
Rashad is a boy trying to navigate high school. He’s clean cut, an ROTC kid, and he has mad art skills. Quinn is also a boy trying to navigate high school: he’s on the basketball team and he’s really focused on impressing all those college recruiters. Rashad is black and Quinn is white. They have mutual friends, but don’t really know each other; it’s a big school. Rashad has an older brother, a very strict father, and a warm, loving mother. Quinn’s mom takes care of him and his younger brother because his dad died while serving in the army. Quinn is on the basketball team with his best friend, Guzzo. And although Quinn didn’t witness what happened inside the corner store, he was outside and witnessed when Rashad was taken down by a white cop and dragged out of the and brutally beaten. This police officer just so happens to be Guzzo’s brother, and is like a second father to Quinn.
This story is told from two different perspectives with alternating chapters, and the incident is portrayed through both the point of view of victim and bystander. It will bring up many significant questions: How do you choose sides––especially when someone you once respected is in the wrong? And if we want the violence to stop, how do we end it? This is a hard-hitting contemporary, realistic novel and it forces you to question what it means to be all American. It also makes you ask: Why is Rashad absent again today? And what does that mean?
Tags: African American, high school, realistic fiction