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All American Boys

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  35,759 ratings  ·  6,096 reviews
A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature.

In this New York Times bestselling novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of c
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (first published September 29th 2015)
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Matthew I am pretty sure that ¨All American Boys¨ is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. This book really made me think about how people think ab…more I am pretty sure that ¨All American Boys¨ is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. This book really made me think about how people think about others by their looks and how jumping to conclusions can lead to many bad things.
On page 21-23 it shows that Rashad, one of the main characters getting beat up by a police officer after getting accused for stealing on Friday afternoon. When other people around the fight were recording, the police officer was punching and kicking Rashad, the police officer also refers to Rashad as a “thug”. The police officer called him that because Rashad was black and his pants were sagging, giving the police officer the impression the Rashad was a thug. Another thing that made the police officer keep punching and kicking at Rashad was the fact that Rashad was moving around when the police officer was arresting him. The police officer thought that Rashad was trying to resist, but really he was just reacting to the pain. Afterwards, when
Rashad was at the hospital recovering from broken ribs and a broken nose, His dad asked him this question after he woke up,” Were your pants sagging?”. Rashad was startled by that question because he always wore sagging pants and his dad never said anything about it before. Everyone in Rashad’s neighborhood also knew that he was a good kid considering the fact that he is in ROTC. ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps which is for the pre-military. Since he was in this program, many people didn’t think that he would just change randomly and start stealing. Throughout the book, more and more people see the video of him getting beat up by the police officer that was recorded on that Friday afternoon. At the end of the book, where the people of Springfield started a march to the police department, they all started chanting,¨Springfield PD, we don't want brutality!¨. Eventually Rashad comes out of the hospital in the middle of this march and joins in.
Jumping to conclusions in real life can end up good or bad. I this book though, jumping to conclusions goes to a completely new level. Just because the police officer saw that Rashad’s pants were sagging and that he was black, he automatically assumed that Rashad was trying to steal the chips. In the book, while Rashad was picking up his chips, the woman behind him tripped and knocked him over while he was looking for his phone in his backpack. When he fell over he dropped the chips next to his backpack. When the police officer saw that Rashad’s backpack was open and that the chips were next to his backpack, the police officer thought that Rashad was trying to steal the chips. This relates to jumping to conclusions because the police officer did jump to conclusions when he started punching and kicking Rashad. I think that the police officer should have waited by the door and see if Rashad was going to pay or not. If Rashad did pay for the chips, the police officer would see him then just let him go out. If Rashad did just start trying to run out the door, the police officer would be there to stop him. “I reached into my pocket to grab the dollar I had designated to pay for those stupid chips. But before I could get my fingers on the money, the cop had me knotted in a submission hold…”, that is what Rashad was thinking when the cop first saw him and was heading towards him.
This book taught me very important lessons. I read this book because of my book club choice, but I don’t regret picking “All American Boys” because I ended up liking this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction and anyone who likes books who are written in the 1st person. (less)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  35,759 ratings  ·  6,096 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Wow! This was incredibly powerful. This is a book that will move you and challenge you to think about the world that we currently live in. It focuses on racism and police brutality. I really respected the emphasis on how not all police are bad, but that there can be power imbalances. This book definitely left a mark on me and I know that it’s one that I’ll think about often.
Books save lives. And they change hearts and minds. This will be one of those books.
C.G. Drews
This was so so powerful and basically amazing. I know it's a slightly older book (2015) but it's like on par with The Hate U Give which has a ton of well-earned fame. This one about #blackLivesMatter is like just as powerful and super heartbreaking and the last scenes were heartwrenching.

It's dual narrated by Rashad and Quinn. And it was interesting to get both perspectives. Rashad is the victim of police brutality where he's nearly beaten to death for doing absolutely nothing. And Quinn knows t
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel the same way I did after reading The Hate U Give - a powerful, well written story that can be appreciated by all. But if it’s not already, this should be required reading for middle and high school students. Looking forward to reading more by Jason Reynolds.
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
***(re)read for YA lit course***
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:


I’m going to be perfectly honest here and say All American Boys is not the most well-written book you’ll ever find. However, it might be one of the most important and I encourage any parent of a middle-grader to force them to encourage them to read it.

I generally try to keep my non-book opinions off of Goodreads, but . . . .

I’m telling you right now, if you are a Trump supporter person who already kno
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Phew. This is a difficult one to rate, equally difficult to review. I wanted to give it one star and three stars and five stars simultaneously. I can't quite work out my own response.

Part of the problem is that All American Boys is preaching to the choir for me. This book did little to further my understanding of race relations or police power in the US. Then again, I've closely followed the stories of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, etc. etc. etc. I'd be curious to know the reaction o
Joce (squibblesreads)
I am not the same person that I was when I started this book. Thank you Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, for reminding me why I read and the propensity with which books can change us, make us alter our lenses we use to view the world and our privilege, and touch our souls.
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
4.5 stars rounded up to 5. Such an important, beautifully written story.
Brigid ✩
I feel bad that I had to kinda rush through this (it was overdue at the library)––but I can tell you, this is a great and important book that deserves attention.

All-American Boys is the story of Rashad, a black teen who is assaulted by a white cop, and Quinn, a white classmate of his who witnesses the crime (and who also happens to be friends with the cop). It's quite a painful story to read because it's all too familiar. It's impossible to even count the number of true stories about people of
Marilena ⚓
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Απ τα καλύτερα βιβλία που διάβασα φέτος!!!

“In 2012, in the United Kingdom, the number of people (regardless of race) shot and killed by police officers: 1 In 2013, in the United Kingdom, the number of times police officers fired guns in the line of duty/the number of people fatally shot: 3/0 In the United States, in the seven year period ending in 2012, a white police officer killed a black person nearly two times a week. “I’m not much of a talker,” she finished up. “You know that. But I know
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.

Quinn, a white kid at the same school, misses what triggere
Sarah (YA Love)
Review originally posted on YA Love

Typically for an audio review I break up my post into two parts: the audio review followed by the book review. Today I’ve decided to break away from that. Rashad’s and Quinn’s stories prompted a number of questions to form as I listened to All American Boys, so I decided to list my questions instead of writing a formal review. I think the questions I kept asking myself speak volumes about the story and about our society. All of the questions I’m listing stem fr
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Why have I waited until I am this many years old to read Jason Reynolds? His writing is amazing! Reynolds is such an important voice today along with Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Tiffany D. Jackson, and so many others.
All American Boys tells the ripped-from-headlines story of Rashad who is accused of stealing a bag of chips then beaten by a white police officer. The story alternates with Quinn’s story as well. Quinn, a classmate of Rashad’s, witnessed the beating and is good friends with the police
Krista Regester
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
How important it is to show that monsters can act human sometimes.
Jennifer Bacall
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If I had a million dollars I would buy cases of this book. Anytime that someone begins a discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality in the United States, or the current American experience of race I'd hand them a copy. This is the most timely and deftly handled book (directed at teens), on the issues of the black and white American racial divide. The frightening thing is that it is set in current time.

"People had told me that racism was a thing of the past, they'd told me no
Dave Schaafsma
The rating for this YA book so far is very high I think primarily because it is timely, ripped out of the daily news about racism and police brutality: Rashad, a (black) teen in a convenience store to buy a bag of chips, reaches into his backpack while in line just as a (white) woman accidentally bumps into him, and he falls to the floor. The owner, much besieged by petty theft, sees Rashad with his hand in his bag, yells to a (white) cop in the store that the kid is shoplifting. The cop beats t ...more
India Brown
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EXCELLENT. This book talks about the problems that plague black boys in this society so eloquently, and looks at it from every aspect. Quinn's struggle was equally as important, as he decides whether or not to make a stand or ignore everything. I love the reliability of Rashad and his friends, it's something I haven't seen in a book in a very long time. ...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

A powerful social commentary, relevant and deeply moving. This book has the power to open eyes, to invoke empathy, to initiate essential conversations, to aid with understanding, to encourage change. Rich with authenticity and narrative voice, All American Boys is a must read.
Jillian Heise
I'm not sure my words will be able to adequately express the importance of this book and the urgency I feel to get it into hands of my urban teens. This is a book to start conversations, in our classrooms and with each other. It's a book to make you take a step back and look at bias in your own life. The power in this book lies in the stripped down simplicity-two boys, two views, one incident, which, through the honesty and realness of the characters who are dealing with complex issues of race, ...more
An important book, but unfortunately not a very well written one. The "message" overshadows absolutely everything in this novel. There is no room for the reader to come to any own conclusions. Still, a fair primer for kids unfamiliar with the "black lives matter" movement. ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-star
TW: racism, police brutality, assault

Another book that has a strong central message, but is bogged down by the writing and story structure. 2 1/2 stars

This novel takes place in two perspectives. The first is Rashad, an African American teen, who is assaulted by a police officer after being accused of stealing something when he didn’t do anything wrong in actuality. The other perspective is Quinn, a white teen who witnessed the assault and must decide whether to speak up.

The best part of this boo
Lauren Lanz
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
All American Boys follows a black teen named Rashad who is victim to police brutality; put in the hospital by an officer after doing absolutely nothing wrong.

This book left me with chills, goosebumps littering my arms.


One thing I really appreciate is that Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely recognize and address the fact that there are police officers doing plenty of good in their communities. That not a
All American Boys zooms in on a violent act that inflames racial tension, similar to books like The Hate U Give and all too familiar in American media culture. Similar to The Hate U Give, All American Boys is written for a YA audience and deals directly with the event and aftermath of a violent act by a police officer on an unarmed black male teenager. What sets this work apart from others is the alternating viewpoint between two protagonists, Rashad and Quinn, and how authors Jason Reynolds and ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, audio, read-in-2016
4 1/2 stars

"Look, if there are people who are scared of the police every day of their lives," Jill said, determined, "I'm going to live in fear of them for at least one day to say that I don't think that's right."

This book needs to be in libraries and schools everywhere. It's absolutely an "issue" book, but the authors do a great job of crafting each character (even the villain) in a way that is nuanced, flawed, and human. I think that young people will connect with these boys and will be inspir
This was such a powerful book and I absolutely loved every second of it. I didn't realize that this book was about the topic that it covered and I'm so glad that I went into it blind. It was done beautifully and think that this book definitely doesn't get as much hype as it deserves. I really hope that more people get the opportunity to read it. I definitely will be doing a fully review on it. ...more
Trigger warnings: racism, racial stereotyping, police brutality, mentions of police shooting, mentions of racial slurs.


So I've been meaning to read this book for at least the past year, and yet somehow I never quite got around to it. Better late than never??

Anyway. I was a little hesitant going into this, because I wasn't sure if I was in the mood for a book dealing with this subject matter. And yet I ended up completely hooked from page 1. I found the juxtaposition of Rashad an
Merlin Hanson
Jan 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It surprises me how many educators have jumped on the bandwagon of this book, and have not reviewed the actual statistics of police brutality vs crime rates in various communities, homicide rates etc.. If you do the research (using government and university studies) vs believing the news (remember, they need to sell advertising) you may see this book to be part of the problem rather than an inspiration for a solution. It seems this book was more published at a convenient time to ignite more divi ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Through this book, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely explores racism, police brutality, and what it means to be an "American Boy". This story is told through different lenses and explores different perspectives. Rashad, a black student, was beaten up by a white police officer and Quinn, a fellow classmate, witnessed it. The authors explained the importance of perspective and how nothing is right or wrong. But more importantly, they also dug into what an "American boy" is. (view spoiler) ...more
Jessica Jeffers
4.5 stars. An excellent book on an important topic, but it did occasionally feel like a Book On An Important Topic. More to come.
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After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, Jason Reynolds moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it al ...more

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