Sunday, January 24, 2016

Reynolds, Jason, and Brendan Kiely. All American Boys.

Reynolds, Jason, and Brendan Kiely.  All American Boys.     Simon & Schuster/ Atheneum    2015  308p  ISBN 978-1-4814-6333-1  ms/hs  Conflict  E-BN  

In this excellent young-adult novel, Rashad, a black teenager, finds himself as the victim of unjust police brutality.  He ends up in the hospital with broken ribs and other injuries that the policeman, Paul, inflicted, but most of all, his sense of justice has been damaged.  At the same time, Quinn, a classmate who is white, has witnessed the event up close.  Quinn has a long-standing friendship with Paul and his family, and he is pressured by them to defend Paul’s actions.  To complicate matters further, Quinn plays on the same basketball team as Paul’s brother, and the coach wants the boys to focus only on basketball.  The narrative, which switches back and forth from Rashad to Quinn, is riveting, and poses some very important questions about individual responsibility, racism, friendship, and loyalty.  The language is quite strong and for that reason, middle-school collections may want to think twice about purchasing it.  However, it is an excellent read for high school, and the kids talk the way many kids really do talk.  For middle-school and high-school collections.       

Summary: A black teenage boy is brutally beaten by a police officer who misunderstands his actions, and an entire town is torn apart by opposing reactions to the situation.  Meanwhile, a white boy witnesses the beating and must decide how to respond. 

Police brutality-Fiction, Race relations-Fiction                  --Carol Kennedy

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