Book Review: All American Boys
Title: All American Boys
Author: Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
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Listen to the audio book here!
What's it about?
Rashad is a typical teenaged boy trying to get through school, make his parents happy and proud and have some fun. And then he goes to the corner store and reaches into his bag to get his cell phone in the wrong spot, catching attention when a woman accidently trips over him and starting it all in motion. A cop sees the woman fall and Rashad with chips in his hand and bag open and assumes that Rashad is trying to steal from the store, unwilling to hear any of the protests Rashad and the woman try to utter before his face meets the cement. He wakes up in the hospital in pain and confused, left to stay in his hospital room for days to heal and try to make sense of all this madness.
Quinn is ready to party on Friday night, but his enthusiasm fades when he turns the corner to see his best friend's older brother, someone who's been a big brother and role model to him, too, wailing on a kid who's not even trying to fight back. He thinks he can just turn around and walk away like he didn't see anything but he can't seem to get the image of Paul beating that kid out of his head. And, to make matters worse, that kid's (Rashad's) closest friends are on on Quinn's treasured basketball team. How he's left to watch the aftermath unfold all around him and to decide for himself what is right and what man he wants to be.
Favorite Character: I think my favorite characters were Jill and Quinn, and both for similar reasons. They had to face some of the hardest philosophical terrain. Rashad had the most obvious hardship, and I don't want to minimize what he went through but Jill and Quinn had to ask themselves some really hard questions. They had to look at themselves and admit some really hard truths and then they had to choose, do they sit quietly knowing that they didn't agree with things happening around them, or do they stand up against the most important people in their lives. Maybe this choice also has to do