All American Boys

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All American Boys (audiobook)

by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

 

All American Boys is a book that needs to be in the hands of everyone.  I really appreciate Jason Reynolds as an author, and I thought this one was really well co-written.  Both voices come out loud and strong.  It is about a boy named Rashad who is picking up some chips and soda, and is mistakenly accused of stealing by a cop.  The cop then beats the crap out of him, putting him into the hospital.  Quinn, in the mean time, witnessed what happened, but the cop is a family friend who is like a big brother to him.  Quinn can’t get past the fact that what the cop did was wrong, and he has to decide whether to push aside his loyalty to do what is right.  Rashad deals with his own feelings, being accused of doing something wrong just because he is black.

What I liked about this book was that it was told from two perspectives (and read by two different people on the audiobook).  Rashad is a black teen, and Quinn is white.  Jason Reynolds is a black author and Brendan Kiely white.  I liked that it was written and told from a black and white perspective.  I will never ever understand what it is like to be an African American living in America, facing discrimination and racism.  What stood out to me was the list of rules Rashad had to learn that were not part of my education as a white teenager.  These are the kinds of things that help us understand what is going on in today’s society (although I wouldn’t limit it to today- it seems like a lot hasn’t changed from 70 years ago).

What I didn’t like about this book (although I understand) is the cussing, only because I want to share this with my students.  Unfortunately, while many of my students hear (and use) the kinds of words, I am not about to respond to angry parent complaints.  It has a message that NEEDS to be heard, but it’s definitely a YA book.

Book 12 of summer 2017!

Ghost

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Ghost (paperback)

by Jason Reynolds

AR Level 4.6, 6 points

 

I loved this one.  Ghost is the nickname Castle Cranshaw gave himself due to his speed.  Ghost learned to run when his father chased him and his mother out of their house.  Now, Ghost lives with his mom in the poorest part of town with dreams of becoming the next Lebron, but he finds himself on a track team with a tough coach.  This coach sees potential in Ghost, despite the trouble Ghost gets himself into.  Finally, Ghost learns that he has control of his life and starts making better choices.

What I liked about this book was… everything.  This is a great read, and I look forward to the next book in the series, Patina, which should be out this fall.  I liked the positive message, the positive role model, and the fact that Ghost faced consequences for his actions and learned a lesson.  I think it shows there is hope when you take control of your life instead of just drifting along.

What I didn’t like about this book… there wasn’t anything.  It is my first Jason Reynolds book, and I look forward to reading more from him.  I think he has a strong voice, and readers of all ages can appreciate his style.

Book 42 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)