Sunday, February 28, 2016

ALL AMERICAN BOYS by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All American Boys
ALL AMERICAN BOYS definitely deserves the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award nomination it received!  Powerful and current, the story represents a part of America both present and past.

Authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely partnered to tell the tale of two teens whose starkly different lives combine to make a statement relevant to everyone everywhere.

Rashad is glad it's Friday.  A quick stop at Jerry's corner store to grab a bag of chips turns into a nightmare.  After choosing his chips, Rashad bends down to search for his phone in his backpack when a woman in the same aisle steps back and accidentally trips over Rashad's bent form.  The store owner immediately jumps to the conclusion that Rashad is a shoplifter, and before Rashad can defend himself, he is hauled out of the store by a cop and slammed to the ground.

Quinn and a couple of buddies are passing Jerry's when Rashad is being dragged from the store.  Quinn witnesses the police brutality but the intense drama leaves him too freaked out to step forward.  When he also realizes that the cop involved in the incident is also the brother of his best friend, he allows himself to be talked into thinking that he didn't actually know what transpired inside the store so the kid probably had it coming.

Rashad ends up in the hospital with a broken nose, shattered ribs, and internal bleeding.  A video of what took place outside Jerry's surfaces and begins playing on news stations inflaming outrage from both sides of the issue. 

As each day passes and everyone at the boys' high school begins to take sides, Quinn begins to regret not speaking up about what he now knows was unfair treatment of a black teenager by a white police officer.  Should he ignore the warnings of his coach and friends and do what he believes is right? 

ALL AMERICAN BOYS takes the subject of police brutality and the strong emotions connected to the sensitive issue and presents it in a format that will speak to teen readers.  The powerful message that our voices can make the difference in righting what is wrong is clearly stated and will inspire many.

No comments: