Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
In this painful and all-too-timely book, two authors-one black, one white-present a story of police brutality. Reynolds (The Boy in the Black Suit) voices Rashad, the innocent victim of a police beating; Kiely (The Gospel of Winter) writes Quinn, a horrified witness. The book moves quickly, starting on a Friday night with the boys-classmates who don't know each other-preparing for a party, and ending with a social-media-inspired protest march one week later. For Rashad, the week means facing the physical and mental effects of what has happened, including a father who initially assumes that Rashad is guilty. For fatherless Quinn, the struggle comes from the fact that the cop is not only the older brother of a close friend, but also a father figure. 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. Ages 12-up. Agent: (for Reynolds) Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties; (for Kiely) Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-Rashad Butler is a quiet, artistic teen who hates ROTC but dutifully attends because father insists "there's no better opportunity for a black boy in this country than to join the army." He heads to Jerry's corner store on a Friday night to buy chips, and ends up the victim of unwarranted arrest and police brutality: an event his white schoolmate Quinn Collins witnesses in terrified disbelief. Quinn is even more shocked because the cop is Paul Galluzzo, older brother of his best friend and Quinn's mentor since his father died in Afghanistan. As events unfold, both boys are forced to confront the knowledge that racism in America has not disappeared and that change will not come unless they step forward. 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. VERDICT Great for fostering discussions about current events among teenage audiences. A must-have for all collections.-Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Two teenage boys, one black (Rashad) and one white (Quinn), are inextricably linked when Quinn witnesses Rashad being savagely beaten with little or no provocation by a policeman who has served as Quinn's de facto big brother since his father was killed in Afghanistan and whose younger brother is one of Quinn's best friends. Can Quinn simply walk away from this apparent atrocity and pretend he hasn't seen what he has seen? And what of Rashad? Hospitalized with internal bleeding, all he wants is to be left alone so he can focus on his art. The challenge for both boys becomes more intense when the case becomes a cause célèbre dividing first their school and then the entire community. The basketball team becomes a microcosm of split loyalties and angry disputes that come to a head when a protest march powerfully demonstrates the importance of action in the face of injustice. With Reynolds writing Rashad's first-person narrative and Kiely writing 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.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2015 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Teens Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) are high school classmates and not much moreneither even knows the others name. But when a quick stop at the corner store for a bag of chips on a Friday night suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene of police brutality, the two boys are linked and altered by the violenceRashad as its victim and Quinn as its witness. During the week following the incident, and in alternating voices, the teens narrate events as Rashad deals with his injuries and the unwanted limelight as the latest black victim in the news; and as Quinn tries to understand how a cop he considers family could be capable of such unprovoked rage, and where his loyalties are now supposed to lie. Faced with an all-too-common issue, both narrators must navigate opposing views from their friends and families to decide for themselves whether to get involved or walk away. Written with sharp humor and devastating honesty, this nuanced, thoughtful novel recalls the work of Walter Dean Myers and is worthy of his legacy. Reynolds and Kiely explore issues of racism, power, and justice with a diverse (ethnically and philosophically) cast of characters and two remarkable protagonists forced to grapple with the layered complexities of growing up in a racially tense America. anastasia m. collins (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Two boys, one black and one white, act out an all-too-familiar drama when the former is brutally beaten during an arrest and the latter witnesses it. Rashad wasn't trying to steal that bag of chips, but Officer Paul Galuzzo beats him to a pulp rather than hear him out. Quinn doesn't know that, but he does know that no one should be treated the way he sees family friend and surrogate father Paul whaling on that black kid. Day by day over the next week, each boy tells his story, Rashad in the hospital, where he watches endless replays of the incident, and Quinn at school, where he tries to avoid it. Soon Rashad's a trending hashtag, as his brother and friends organize a protest he's not sure he wants. Meanwhile, Quinn negotiates basketball practice with his best friendGaluzzo's little brother, who expects loyaltyand Rashad's, who tells him bluntly, "White boy like you can just walk away whenever you want." In a series of set pieces, Rashad contemplates his unwanted role as the latest statistic, and Quinn decides whether he'll walk away or stand. Reynolds and Kiely supply their protagonists with a supporting cast that prods them in all the right ways; Rashad's strict, ex-cop dad provides unexpected complexity. If the hands and agenda of the authors are evident, their passion elevates the novel beyond a needed call to action to a deeply moving experience. (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.