Review by Abigail Fellin
“Do you know that stat? It’s something like black people are six times as likely to have no weapons on them when they’re killed by cops.”
Some books punch you in the stomach with the power of their lines. This is one of those books. Focused on the story of a young, black male named Rashad who was beaten by police outside a local convenience store, All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely tackles the relevant and pressing issue of racial inequalities and police brutality in the United States.
Rashad is buying a bag of chips at a local convenience store after finishing up with ROTC when a lady trips over him and he is accused of stealing. The police officer in the store uses what some would consider unnecessary force to arrest him, resulting in a hospital stay. Quinn is standing outside and watched it all happen. The rest of the novel takes place over the next week as both Rashad and Quinn struggle to understand what happened, and their place in the issue.
Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely work well together to show two different perspectives of the American experience. By raising challenging questions on issues of race and responsibility, these authors force readers to think deeply about their identity and what they consider to be the All-American experience.
With controversial topics being the center of this book, it can be a challenging read. Forcing some readers to come face to face with their own prejudices, forcing others to relive tragic moments, and bringing up painful emotions for almost everyone, this book holds the potential to change lives.
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