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All American Boys In an unforgettable new novel from award winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, 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 tensionA 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 But 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 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 Rashad is a pretty typical 17 year old kid, going to high school, partying with his friends, working on the sketches he hopes to make a living at one day, and participating in ROTC because his dad makes him But Rashad is also black and when a woman trips over him in a convenience store, a white cop jumps to conclusions about what Rashad was doing and beats him up, brutally enough to break ribs and put him in the hospital for a week Quinn, a white kid at the same school, misses what triggere Rashad is a pretty typical 17 year old kid, going to high school, partying with his friends, working on the sketches he hopes to make a living at one day, and participating in ROTC because his dad makes him But Rashad is also black and when a woman trips over him in a convenience store, a white cop jumps to conclusions about what Rashad was doing and beats him up, brutally enough to break ribs and put him in the hospital for a week Quinn, a white kid at the same school, misses what triggered the beating, but sees the rest including that the cop is a guy who is practically his own big brother But Quinn plays basketball with some of Rashad s friends, who let him know the cop s version of the story is wrong Quinn is torn who should he support And should he tell anyone what he saw I really liked this book It s narrated by both Rashad and Quinn, and since they re written by two different authors, their voices were distinct I never once had to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to figure out whose POV I was reading Both boys are well rounded and engaging characters, trying to find their way in the world through their own unique experiences They both speak powerfully and authentically, and as a reader sharing their development through this particular event, I was completely engrossed, zooming through this book in two days This is one of the few issue type books I d consider re reading, because there was enough else going on in the story to make it just a plain good book, even without the timely and important message Rashad s interest in art and Quinn s dedication to basketball made great subthreads both felt completely organic Their families and friends are real people as well, just trying to make their own way in the world as best they can The book also brings in other issues of police brutality, such as how the cop s official story is often different from what really happened, and how we only know this because of the ubiquity of phone videos over the past few years Rashad is absent again today, painted in front of the school as graffiti by one of his friends, became a rallying cry through the story, and then made me cry when it was applied to real life victims of police violence in the US Eric Garner absent again today Tamir Rice absent again today Sandra Bland absent again today And the list goes on and on Absent again today and forever And thinking about that is making me cry all over again I read this book over the July 4th weekend And then we had the last two weeks in this country, which made it really hard to write this review Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, absent again today Five police officers in Dallas and three police officers in Baton Rouge, absent again today When and where the hell is it going to end Read this book It doesn t offer any answers to that question, but its insights are important and well worth a few hours Wow This was incredibly powerful This is a book that will move you and challenge you to think about the world that we currently live in It focuses on racism and police brutality I really respected the emphasis on how not all police are bad, but that there can be power imbalances This book definitely left a mark on me and I know that it s one that I ll think about often. Books save lives And they change hearts and minds This will be one of those books. This was so so powerful and basically amazing I know it s a slightly older book 2015 but it s like on par with The Hate U Give which has a ton of well earned fame This one about blackLivesMatter is like just as powerful and super heartbreaking and the last scenes were heartwrenching.It s dual narrated by Rashad and Quinn And it was interesting to get both perspectives Rashad is the victim of police brutality where he s nearly beaten to death for doing absolutely nothing And Quinn knows t This was so so powerful and basically amazing I know it s a slightly older book 2015 but it s like on par with The Hate U Give which has a ton of well earned fame This one about blackLivesMatter is like just as powerful and super heartbreaking and the last scenes were heartwrenching.It s dual narrated by Rashad and Quinn And it was interesting to get both perspectives Rashad is the victim of police brutality where he s nearly beaten to death for doing absolutely nothing And Quinn knows the cop who beat Rashad and has to come to realise that being apathetic and silent in matters of racism is taking the side of the brutality It s also actually co written, which I didn t know at first And these two characters basically never meet Their lives are intertwined but they don t really even know it.I liked how deep and complex everything was too Like the characters aren t paper plates The writing is complex I felt super angry at Quinn s narrative at first like he automatically sides with the white cop who was just doing his job until Quinn actually DECIDES TO USE HIS BRAIN but his character development is A Rashad s POV is a little slow because it s mostly set in the hospital, but he s an artist and he s aaaaamazing I loved the detailed exploration of his thoughts through this The anxiety and nightmares and realising he s never going to be the same after this Also, as a side note, his injuries and recovery process were detailed REALLY CLOSELY and I found that super interesting Mostly books seem to gloss over hospital stays Basically Rashad was a lovely artistic cinnamon roll.The protest scenes were SO POWERFUL Also 10 10 impressed at the absence of romance The boys had crushes but this book basically has NO romance.I do confess that I don t do sport though There is a bit of a focus on basketball, so my brain checked out there.BASICALLY excellent book is excellent I think it s really important to read these kind of books that tackle racism, white supremacy, police brutality, and protesting for equality and totally discuss them in depth in ways that make them real This isn t just something that happens occasionally and you see a hashtag on twitter It s sad and wrong Well, guess what I m white too and that s exactly why I was marching I had to Because racism was alive and real as shit It was everywhere and all mixed up in everything, and the only people who said it wasn t, and the only people who said, Don t talk about it were white Well stop lying That s what I wanted to tell those people Stop lying Stop denying That s why I was marching Nothing was going to change unless we did something about it In the United States, in the seven year period ending in 2012, a white police officer killed a black person nearly two times a week If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor

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