All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds is not a fun read. I did not laugh until I cried. Mostly, I just seethed. You see, All-American Boys is about racism and police brutality.
Told through alternating viewpoints, the story revolves around two young, All-American kids in an all-American city. One is in the ROTC and is an amazing artist. One loves basketball and partying with his buddies. One is black. And one is white. One gets beaten by a police officer. One witnesses it.
Rashad just stepped into the convenience store to grab a snack. It didn’t matter to the cop that some lady had tripped over him, making him drop the bag of chips he’d been holding. All his attempts to explain were just “resisting arrest.” And the police officer beat him senseless for it.
Quinn wanted to stop off at the convenience store on his way to a party. But, as he turned the corner, he saw his best friend’s older brother beating up a boy he knew from school. Nobody saw Quinn there and he didn’t want to tell anyone what he saw. The whole thing was already recorded and online, so what does it matter? But it does matter. This event and others like it have formed a rift through Quinn and Rashad’s city and all over the country. And Quinn must decide which side he’s on.
All-American Boys is not a fun read, but it’s an extremely important one. I loved every uncomfortable, horrifying, empowering minute of this book. You can place a hold on it here.