All American Boys
Booklist Reviews 2015 September #2
*Starred Review* Two teenage boys, one black (Rashad) and one white (Quinn), are inextricably linked when Quinn witnesses Rashad being savagely beaten with little or no provocation by a policeman who has served as Quinn's de facto big brother since his father was killed in Afghanistan—and whose younger brother is one of Quinn's best friends. Can Quinn simply walk away from this apparent atrocity and pretend he hasn't seen what he has seen? And what of Rashad? Hospitalized with internal bleeding, all he wants is to be left alone so he can focus on his art. The challenge for both boys becomes more intense when the case becomes a cause célèbre dividing first their school and then the entire community. The basketball team becomes a microcosm of split loyalties and angry disputes that come to a head when a protest march powerfully demonstrates the importance of action in the face of injustice. With Reynolds writing Rashad's first-person narrative and Kiely writing Quinn's, this hard-edged, ripped-from-the-headlines book is more than a problem novel; it's a carefully plotted, psychologically acute, character-driven work of fiction that dramatizes an all-too-frequent occurrence. Police brutality and race relations in America are issues that demand debate and discussion, which this superb book powerfully enables. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring
When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into police brutality, high school classmates Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) are linked and altered by the violence--Rashad as victim and Quinn as witness. This nuanced novel explores issues of racism, power, and justice with a diverse (ethnically and philosophically) cast and two remarkable protagonists.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #6
Teens Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) are high school classmates and not much more—neither even knows the other's name. But when a quick stop at the corner store for a bag of chips on a Friday night suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene of police brutality, the two boys are linked and altered by the violence—Rashad as its victim and Quinn as its witness. During the week following the incident, and in alternating voices, the teens narrate events as Rashad deals with his injuries and the unwanted limelight as the latest black victim in the news; and as Quinn tries to understand how a cop he considers family could be capable of such unprovoked rage, and where his loyalties are now supposed to lie. Faced with an all-too-common issue, both narrators must navigate opposing views from their friends and families to decide for themselves whether to get involved or walk away. Written with sharp humor and devastating honesty, this nuanced, thoughtful novel recalls the work of Walter Dean Myers and is worthy of his legacy. Reynolds and Kiely explore issues of racism, power, and justice with a diverse (ethnically and philosophically) cast of characters and two remarkable protagonists forced to grapple with the layered complexities of growing up in a racially tense America. anastasia m. collin Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.