Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Teen Tuesday (audiobook review): All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Unabridged audiobook on six compact discs; 6.5 hours. Read by Keith Nobbs and Guy Lockard. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2015. 9781442398689. (Review from recording borrowed from public library)

This compelling dual narrative won the pair a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. Rashad and Quinn attend the same high school. Rashad is a good student, fantastic artist and a member of the junior ROTC. Quinn is a basketball star looking forward to getting scouted by a top college. When Rashad stops by a local bodega on the way to a party, all he wants is a bag of chips. But when he and a white woman accidentally trip over each other, the store owner assumes Rashad is shoplifting and the policeman who happens to be in the store rushes in and rushes to judgment. Not only that, he beats Rashad mercilessly. Quinn and his best friend witness this and Quinn is stunned by the brutality of the arrest. Complicating things is the fact that the cop is his friend's brother and has always been a hero and mentor to Quinn. Then, a video taken by another witness is released and everyone in town is taking sides. The topic of this thought-provoking, beautifully written novel is timely and worthy of discussion.

This is one of the few books that I booktalked without reading. It went out almost immediately and has been steadily checked out via word-of-mouth among my students.

The audio performances were outstanding. Nobbs is a new-to-me narrator, I thought his portrayal of Quinn, all laid-back and mostly confident, rang true. Guy Lockard is my newest voice crush. He hits it out of the park again in this one. Rashad springs to vivid life in his hands. 

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