C.G. Drews's Reviews > All American Boys

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2017, young-adult, ya-male-narrators, ya-without-romance

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 the cop who beat Rashad and has to come to realise that being apathetic and silent in matters of racism is taking the side of the brutality. It's also actually co-written, which I didn't know at first! And these two characters basically never meet. Their lives are intertwined but they don't really even know it.

I liked how deep and complex everything was too. Like the characters aren't paper plates. The writing is complex! I felt super angry at Quinn's narrative at first (like he automatically sides with the white cop who was "just doing his job" until Quinn actually DECIDES TO USE HIS BRAIN) but his character development is A+. Rashad's POV is a little slow because it's mostly set in the hospital, but he's an artist and he's aaaaamazing. I loved the detailed exploration of his thoughts through this. The anxiety and nightmares and realising he's never going to be the same after this. (Also, as a side note, his injuries and recovery process were detailed REALLY CLOSELY and I found that super interesting. Mostly books seem to gloss over hospital stays.) Basically Rashad was a lovely artistic cinnamon roll.

The protest scenes were SO POWERFUL.

Also 10/10 impressed at the absence of romance. The boys had crushes but this book basically has NO romance.

I do confess that I don't do sport though. There is a bit of a focus on basketball, so my brain checked out there.

BASICALLY: excellent book is excellent. I think it's really important to read these kind of books that tackle racism, white supremacy, police brutality, and protesting for equality and totally discuss them in depth in ways that make them real. This isn't just something that "happens occasionally and you see a hashtag on twitter". It's sad and wrong.


Well, guess what? I'm white too -- and that's exactly why I was marching. I had to. Because racism was alive and real as shit. It was everywhere and all mixed up in everything, and the only people who said it wasn't, and the only people who said, "Don't talk about it" were white. Well stop lying. That's what I wanted to tell those people. Stop lying. Stop denying. That's why I was marching. Nothing was going to change unless we did something about it.

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.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
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Reading Progress

May 10, 2017 – Shelved
May 10, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
September 15, 2017 – Started Reading
September 16, 2017 –
page 80
25.32% "ME: has 9489 books in my room that needed to be read yesterday
ALSO ME: spontaneously libraries this one and reads it instead"
September 16, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 16, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
September 16, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 16, 2017 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
September 16, 2017 – Shelved as: ya-without-romance
September 16, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Annie (new) - added it

Annie I know! This book is so powerful and deserves so much more attention!

C.G. Drews @Annie: It totally boggles me why it's not like RIGHT UP THERE with all the books everyone constantly recs?!??? I wonder if it's because people were refusing to talk about this in 2015. Which is super sad. :(

Megan (ReadingRover) Jason Reynolds is amazing! This was the first book of his that I read and I was so impressed. The audiobook was really well produced. Even his MG stuff is entertaining and still gets a point across.

Darci Mckibben-young I am listening to the audiobook with my 7/8 grade LA classes and I want to know why Quinn uses so much bad language. Not judging just hoping to find a solid reason. The kids are struggling with it, but I think it is a really important book for them to read. Any answers?

message 5: by Margaret (new) - added it

Margaret Fogarty I just found out about this book and I am also wondering why I hadn't heard of it earlier!

C.G. Drews @Margaret: I guess it's easier to promote/talk about newer books, maybe, right?? But this one deserves so much love and should be a backlist title we don't forget!!

Dariana Espinal You should also read dear Martin if you haven’t. It’s just as good

Tiffany This book was very powerful, and the protest is what really got me. This book along with The Hate You Give are currently being challenged in Charleston, SC because the police department doesn't like the portrayal of the police, but I think they should read it so that they can get more of understanding of issues in our society.

Lydia (ps_i_still_read_you) I think the emphasis on basketball had a lot to do with the location of the story. Since basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts, its emphasis highlights the stereotypical ideals of an All American Boy.

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Lydia: Oh that makes sense! I have no idea about what sports were invented where (and also I'm Australian haha).

Lydia (ps_i_still_read_you) @C.G. I read a short story about the invention of basketball in middle school. That's the only reason I know.

Julia I live an hour and a half away from Springfield, MA. IMO, this is set in Springfield like "The Simpsons" is set there. There is a Springfield in every state

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