- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: HL770L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (September 29, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481463330
- ISBN-13: 978-1481463331
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 219 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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All American Boys Hardcover – September 29, 2015
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From School Library Journal
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
"ALL AMERICAN BOYS is a terrific story that will compel readers to consider who they are, what they stand for, and what they should stand for. It’s that good." -Richie's Picks
*"With Reynolds writing Rashad’s first-person narrative and Kiely 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 his superb book powerfully enables.” - Booklist, starred review
*"Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impactlong after the pages stop turning. " - School Library Journal, starred review
"The scenario that Reynolds and Kiely depict has become a recurrent feature of news reports, and a book that lets readers think it through outside of the roiling emotions of a real-life event is both welcome and necessary." - Publishers Weekly
"...[The authors'] passion elevates the novel beyond aneeded call to action to a deeply moving experience." -Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
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Here are a few of the themes I’ve been thinking about from my reading of this book: Has discrimination been eliminated or has it become camouflaged? Have we become color-blind in our dealings with each other? Is there a difference in what a young black person can expect to experience from police and what a white person of the same age and socio-economic status can expect? Do our appearances (dress, hair, language, actions) matter enough in how others perceive us that we should compromise our own need to be true to ourselves to avoid misunderstandings? Do the parents of black youth face a different challenge in raising their children in teaching them what they need to be productive and safe in America? Do we actually “see” each other when we aren’t compelled to do so by circumstances or social conditions? What shortcuts do we take in understanding one another? How much do the expectations that others have of us box us in, even shape who we become?
Reynolds and Keily made a valiant effort to be even-handed in considering these themes, drawing a number of parallels between the experiences of Rashad and Quinn as they struggle with adolescence, on the threshold of becoming adults. For example, Rashad’s father wonders if the way Rashad’s dressed that night (sagging pants) contributed to what happened to him. Quinn’s mother is appalled to discover that underage Quinn has been breaking the law by carrying a flask of liquor, which would destroy his good regard in town if known.
My hesitation in my rating is that I wasn’t as challenged in my own biases as I expected when I started the book. It became fairly clear as I read who the authors considered to be in the wrong. Rashid and his defenders became more and more reasonable and thoughtful, searching for the truth. Paul and his defenders, especially his younger brother, became caricatures, starting fights, being angry and unreasonable, refusing to listen or consider other points of view.
In conclusion, although a bit heavy-handed, “All American Boys” is well worth the read, and is a step toward narrowing the divide in perceptions.
I noticed a change in the book's theme as it book goes along. It starts off almost hateful but then it has a theme of generosity or support near the end. Without spoiling too much, the events of the first chapter are never forgotten about. With every page, you see the effects of what happened. A quote from the book, “Nobody says the words anymore, but somehow the violence still remains. If I didn’t want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things.” , perfectly reflects how I felt reading this book.
The two authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely try to maintain a balance between Rashad and Quinn. The middle of the book is very focused on Quinn and him dealing with betrayal and his friends, while Rashad is focused on more in the beginning and end of the book. I guess this makes sense because Rashad was just in the hospital, but I feel that there was more he could have done at certain points. The support given to Rashad by his friends, English, Carlos, and Shannon, is the opposite of how Quinn’s friendships are falling apart.
I am disappointed that some parts of this book were not as challenging for me, and also that there was no real struggle for me in deciding which side I was on, but I think it was a very good book. Although there were things they could improve on, the message is good and the book as a whole is definitely a 5/5. The book is the perfect amount of pages to last you a good week or two, and it is immersing. There were parts of this book where I would not put it down until my kindle died.
I have read this book twice and I am reading it a third time. I would recommend this to every reading teacher out there. This is a must read and can replace books like “Old Yeller” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” in required reading. It gives a good stance on current political issues and gives different views on those issues. Every library, bookstore, and online bookstore needs to have this book. This book will brighten the minds of the latest generation while giving them a good time. This book is one of the best books I have ever read, and that really says something about this book. I look forward to reading the author's other books.
Rashad, an African-American ROTC student, narrates most of his story from a hospital room, where he’s recovering from the brutal violence he suffered at the hands of a white officer, who suspected him of attacking a woman and robbing a convenience store. The officer is a close family friend of Quinn, a white, well-respected son of an Iraqi War vet who was killed in action. Quinn, who is Rashad’s classmate but doesn’t know him well, witnesses the assault and spends most of the novel struggling with questions of racism, privilege, and inequality.
Reynolds and Kiely wisely keep Rashad and Quinn apart for most of the novel—and the effect is powerful. This technique highlights the disparity in their worlds and the impact that each boy’s race has on his life experience. Very much a contemporary novel, the story alludes to fairly recent and well publicized acts of police violence against Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and others.
The novel is a quick read, yet that does not detract one iota from its impact or the authenticity of its social commentary. Reynolds and Kiely have crafted a gripping, trenchant narrative featuring believable characters coping with current social problems that have real consequences. This novel belongs in the hands of every teenager and secondary English teacher in the country.