What do you think?
Rate this book
321 pages, Kindle Edition
First published September 29, 2015
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.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.
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?
Rashad is absent again today.
“There's a guy who'd just spent six days in the hospital because the guy who'd been my personal hero for four years had put him there.”
“Had our hearts really become so numb that we needed dead bodies in order to feel the beat of compassion in our chests? Who am I if I need to be shocked back into my best self?”