“Nobody says the words anymore, but somehow the violence still remains. If I didn’t want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things.”
Title: All American Boys
Authors: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Publication: September 29th 2015 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Summary from Goodreads:
Rashad is absent again today.
That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…
Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.
And that’s how it started.
And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.
Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.
Cuz that’s how it can end.
All American Boys is about All-American racism. It is about police brutality, what it means to choose a side, and how not choosing a side makes you part of the problem. All American Boys offers contrasting views of the same incident – both from the victim and from a bystander. This is a story of troubles those with privilege would never likely think twice about. It is a story about choosing to take a stand when everyone around you tells you you’re wrong. It is about honesty, responsibility, and how perceptions can be both subtle and out in the open yet be equally problematic and hurtful.