All American Boys Review

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book… Wow. It was powerful. If I had to compare it to another book… I’d say The Hate U Give; it was actually really similar to that one. There were a number of things I really liked about this book and not many things I could criticize, so that’s really good. Overall it was well written and although I didn’t notice much difference in the writing styles of both authors, their characters were each sharp and well defined. I never found myself starting a new chapter and being confused as to whose perspective we were hearing from next.
Spoilers Below
First of all, I really liked Jill’s and Quinn’s relationship. It was very cute how they were kind of a couple but at the same time kind of just friends. Personally I think books need more characters like this; guys and girls who are friends without any awkwardness. I really liked those two together.
Another tiny duo I shipped was Rashad and Clarissa (Clarissa as in the nurse at the hospital. I think Clarissa was her name). They were super cute together and the way he gave her one of his drawings at the end was adorable. I was totally shipping them the entire time! And they didn’t even have much of an age difference! They were perfect for each other!
I also really liked how the authors ended the book. I was happy that Quinn and Rashad were able to connect in a way (during the last chapter) and that they actually kind of met over the climax. I also liked how the two boys connected throughout the entire story, not just during the climax: like how they heard about each other from their friends. It was almost a bit of an easter egg to see Quinn mentioned in one of Rashad’s chapters.
On the topic of Quinn’s racism… geez, that character seriously needed to take a look at his treatment of other people (even if it was just how he felt about them in his head) and reevaluate himself. Quinn was really blind to how horrible he was acting in some moments; I’m glad he changed by the end. Just because Paul was like family to him, does not mean that he should be allowed to behave how he did.
On the topic of Paul, grrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!! I hated him just as much as I hate Umbridge and I hate Umbrigde a lot! I just cannot comprehend how a human being can be so inhumane to another human being.
Also, I completely agree with the quote in the book that said something like ‘the bystander is just as bad as the oppressor in a situation of injustice’, because if the bystander is not trying to stop what is going on; it means they are allowing the situation to happen. That quote is the truest thing I have ever heard.
The protest scene at the end was also really powerful and I loved how the last chapter was told from both characters’ perspectives. Kind of off-topic, but I think the idea of a die in is smart. I was super happy that in the end Rashad’s dad came to march with his family and on the topic of him, when I was reading, I couldn’t believe that he had paralyzed a kid who wasn’t even doing something wrong. Then again, the worst part is that this happens a lot in the US. Those statistics that the math teacher wrote on the board are real; like how there were barely any people killed by the police in the UK, vs the US where so many people are killed we need pages and pages to remember then all.
This book was really similar to the Hate U Give; so similar I actually noticed some plot elements that were in both books. Still, the two stories were different enough that it did not bother me much. That is the only thing I could criticize about this book, but I’m not sure which one came out first, so maybe not even that.
Overall, this book was stupendous. It was beautifully written and I think the choice to have it from two perspectives was very necessary and made the book so much better. I also like how it was written by two different authors who each held one character.
I feel this book should be one of those novels that are studied in school. Nobody needs to read Frankenstein anymore (sorry Mary Shelley); I feel this is much more important for kids to learn about. Everyone needs to read this book.

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