Rashad and Quinn are two people with an astounding story, one being a victim of police brutality and the other watching with disbelief. It starts off with Rashad, an ROTC student, preparing for a party by going to see his brother for money. Along the way, he stops at a corner store to buy a bag of chips. This ends up fatal for him because he becomes a victim of police brutality when a white lady trips over him. As it turns out, Quinn was at Jerry’s Corner Store at that same time and saw the whole thing, from Rashad being pushed on the ground to being beaten and shoved into the squad car.
The story maintains its course throughout as Rashad’s friends find out about what has happened. This conflict ropes around the people in and outside of the school into two different groups, creating a schism between friend groups. This story contains what the people go through when they experience police brutality, and the book even explores the mind of what the cop must have thought. Both Rashad and Quinn have an important role to play in the story and fulfill it well, both in their own narratives. Rashad’s friend Carlos speaks to Rashad about the need to act when he says, ”Naw, man, we gotta do something,’Shad. I mean, maybe you can’t do nothing,’cause you in here. And maybe these two can’t do nothing because of punk-ass Carney. But I’m not on the team.” Carlos wants to act on behalf of Rashad and becomes an important ally in the story.
All-American Boys made me think more about the community and the people around me because it highlighted that even though people can seem caring and protective, they might drastically change under certain circumstances. All-American Boys also brought to mind the many cops that I have met; it has aroused suspicion of many officers either kind or rude.
The story “grabbed me” from the start. I read it easily and quickly, and I recommend it to all teens!