Thursday, January 14, 2016

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

I don't remember how I heard about All American Boys but I'm glad I did. If you or a teen in your life is looking to understand the #BlackLivesMatter protests or understand more about racial inequality in America, then All American Boys is the book. Reynolds and Kiely do an excellent job of showing how complex the issues are without dumbing down the issues or making light of people's lives.

Rashad goes into a convenience store to pick up some gum and chips on a Friday evening. When he bends down to retrieve his phone from his duffle, a woman trips over him. Moments later, he's being beaten and handcuffed by a police officer. Quinn watches his friend haul Rashad out of the convenience store and beat him mercilessly.

Told in alternating chapters, the reader explores the depth of this situation. Why does this happen? Is it the police? Is black men? How has racial inequality changed or not changed in the last 50 years? All American Boys puts a much more human face on the struggle and helps show how this is everyone's problem. I also found the story to be easier to understand but not easier to determine where the solution lies.

Overall, All American Boys is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it for teens and adults. I think we can all learn from this well told book. Others who shared their thoughts on All American Boys: Rich In Color, YA Bibliophile, YA Love, and Sorcery In The Bookshelves.

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