On the fourth day of NaBloPoMo, your true love gave to you… one
fancy book rec! Sing this aloud. I dare you.
Here’s my book recommendation for the day:
I’m starting to think I’m just nominating my fave audiobooks of the year… which is bad because I have a post about that coming down the pipeline in December (Surprise!) But this book was just so damn powerful, I couldn’t not recommend it. I am trying really hard to not spoil my review that is also in the works, but I have to let some of it out.
There aren’t many books like this– YA books about the present struggles that blacks are going through in the here and now. I have been waiting for the day our current reality made it onto the page. Yes, we were slaves once. Yes, those narratives still hold meaning. But I need books to give my nieces and nephews and future children when my words aren’t enough.
I hate it when people say that “books are just… books.” Because they’re not. Sometimes, they’re the link that connects you to others in your community. Sometimes, they’re the only friend you’ve got when no one will listen. Sometimes, they’re the hope that one day enough people are going to get it and start seeing you as a person. I just have so many feelings about All American Boys, and would totally be remiss if I didn’t try to shove this down your throat at least once this month (and for the rest of my natural life)… And, trust me, you can expect more of my word vomit of feels when the review comes around.
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this four-starred reviews tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?