All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
All American Boys was a very touching novel about police violence and racial issues.
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been on a book competition list. It was a book that looked interesting enough, but not exactly my type of book.
This book is so timely. Rashad was attacked by a white cop because he was supposedly stealing. Then, Rashad becomes a representative for police brutality on black teens. Whether or not you believe that police brutality is a real thing, this shows a different perspective.
I liked Quinn. His brother was the cop who beat up Rashad, and he has mixed emotions about it. On one hand, he sides with his brother, who he always believed was good. On the other hand, he felt sadness for Rashad, because he was just a normal teen.
The whole two perspectives were so unique and vivid, and they were fun to read.
Overall, this was a great book about a timely topic.
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