Critically acclaimed authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely have joined forces to write an explosive new novel, ALL AMERICAN BOYS, inspired by recent controversial events and the national firestorm over police brutality.
Rashad Butler and Quinn Collins are two young men, one black and one white, whose lives are forever changed by an act of extreme police brutality. Rashad wakes up in a hospital. Quinn saw how he got there. And so did the video camera that taped the cop beating Rashad senseless into the pavement. Thus begins ALL AMERICAN BOYS, written in tandem by two of our great literary talents, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. The story is told in Rashad and Quinn’s alternating perspectives, as they grapple with the complications that spin out of this violent moment and reverberate in their families, school, and town. Over the course of one week, Rashad tries to find the strength to accept his role as the symbolic figure of the community’s response to police brutality, and Quinn tries to decide where he belongs in a town bitterly divided by racial tension. Ultimately, the two narratives weave back together, in the moment in which the two boys, now changed, can actually see each other—the first step for healing and understanding in a country still deeply sick with racial injustice. Reynolds pens the voice of Rashad, and Kiely has taken the voice of Quinn.
“As a black man and a white man, both writers and educators, we came together to cowrite a book about how systemic racism and police brutality affect the lives of young people in America, in order to create an important, unique, and honest work that would give young people and the people who educate them a tool for talking about these difficult but absolutely vital conversations,” said Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.
Caitlyn Dlouhy, Vice President, Editorial Director, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, added, “Brendan and Jason have taken on one of the most fraught subjects in our history in a way that is fiercely brave and honest, and will change the way you think.”
★ Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"The scenario that Reynolds and Kiely depict has become a recurrent feature of news reports, and a book that lets readers think it through outside of the roiling emotions of a real-life event is both welcome and necessary."
★ Booklist Starred Review
"With Reynolds writing Rashad’s first-person narrative and Kiely Quinn’s, this hard-edged, ripped-from-the-headlines book is more than a problem novel; it’s a carefully plotted, psychologically acute, character-driven work of fiction that dramatizes an all-too-frequent occurrence. Police brutality and race relations in America are issues that demand debate and discussion, which this superb book powerfully enables."
★ School Library Journal Starred Review
"Reynolds and Kiely’s collaborative effort deftly explores the aftermath of police brutality, addressing the fear, confusion, and anger that affects entire communities. Diverse perspectives are presented in a manner that feels organic to the narrative, further emphasizing the tension created when privilege and racism cannot be ignored. Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning. Great for fostering discussions about current events among teenage audiences. A must-have for all collections."
Jacqueline Woodson (author of Brown Girl Dreaming, winner of the National Book Award)
"At once timely and timeless, funny and wickedly smart, ALL AMERICAN BOYS is a beautifully written narrative about … about so many things — but most importantly — what it means to be a young man in America — across lines of race — and what it means to be a GOOD person in America — across lines of Everything."
Laurie Halse Anderson (New York Times-bestselling author of Speak)
"This life-changing, nation-changing book is written with fire and love and courage. Read it, weep, and then share its power with everyone you know."
Matt de la Peña (New York Times-bestselling author of The Living and Mexican Whiteboy)
"A first-rate exploration of one of the most important issues of the day: police brutality. But this is more than just a timely issue novel. Reynolds and Kiely have produced a layered, thoughtful, literary work of art."
Listen to an Excerpt
As two friends and writers watching the national narrative of racially charged police brutality unfold last year, we agreed that we needed to create our own response to the important moment of history that affected us.
We became friends by virtue of being two debut authors published by the same house, at the same time, who first got to know each other on a tour arranged by the house. We discovered how deeply we both care about creating work that contributes to the conversation about social justice and diversity in YA literature.
As the stories of police brutality and the community responses to them intensified, our conversations with each other became more than an acknowledgement of the deep-seeded injustices in our country that enrage us—they became a question of how to respond as writers, how to participate in the most meaningful and positive way to the very troubled moment of history we found ourselves living in.
As a black man and a white man, both writers and educators, we came together to co-write a book about how systemic racism and police brutality affect the lives of young people in America, in order to create an important, unique, and honest work that would give young people and the people who educate them a tool for talking about these difficult but absolutely vital conversations.
— Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, May 2015