November 20, 2017

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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely | SLJ Review

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AllAmericanBoys_600pxREYNOLDS, Jason & Brendan Kiely. All American Boys. 320p. ebook available. S. & S. Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481463331.

Gr 8 Up–Rashad Butler is a quiet, artistic teen who hates ROTC but dutifully attends because father insists “there’s no better opportunity for a black boy in this country than to join the army.” He heads to Jerry’s corner store on a Friday night to buy chips, and ends up the victim of unwarranted arrest and police brutality: an event his white schoolmate Quinn Collins witnesses in terrified disbelief. Quinn is even more shocked because the cop is Paul Galluzzo, older brother of his best friend and Quinn’s mentor since his father died in Afghanistan. As events unfold, both boys are forced to confront the knowledge that racism in America has not disappeared and that change will not come unless they step forward. Reynolds and Kiely’s collaborative effort deftly explores the aftermath of police brutality, addressing the fear, confusion, and anger that affects entire communities. Diverse perspectives are presented in a manner that feels organic to the narrative, further emphasizing the tension created when privilege and racism cannot be ignored. Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning. VERDICT Great for fostering discussions about current events among teenage audiences. A must-have for all collections.–Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal

See also: Jason Reynolds on Building Houses and Affirming Young Lives

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s September 2015 issue.

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