Rashad and Quinn - one black, one white, both American teens – grapple with the repercussions of a violent act that leaves their school, community, and country bitterly divided by racial tension. They face the unspeakable truth that racism & prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, one where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.
Booklist Starred (September 15, 2015):
Starred Review */ Grades 9-12 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.