Rashad is doing the same old thing he does every weekend when his life suddenly spins out of control. He and his friends head down to the corner grocery store to buy some chips and to try to talk some passerby into buying them some beer. They're all under age. But this time it doesn't go right. This time a lady steps back from the merchandise she is considering, knocks into Rashad and suddenly he is being throw to the ground and pounded by the cop, Paul Galluzo, who happened to be in the bodega as the bumping occurred. Paul Galluzzo's instincts tell him this kid is a shoplifter and this kid is trying to resist.
Rashad doesn't have a chance to explain. Rashad is being smashed into concrete and the fists of the cop are pounding him. Ribs are breaking.
Quinn Collins witnesses the violence on the sidewalk. He isn't sure what to think. But he knows Paul Galluzzo stepped into his life when Quinn's father was killed in Afghanistan. Paul took him out to the basketball court and taught him some moves and how to handle himself in the world.
This is an absolutely gripping story of two young men who face pressure and choices as their community begins to roil with gulf between the injustice of the violence done to Rashad and the difficult, in the moment choices demanded of the police force as they struggle to do their job.
Rashad's own father was a police officer who found himself drowning in his own racial stereotyping.
Written in the two voices by the two authors, this story does not take the easy way out. It presents all of the facets of prejudice and choices. It's an outstanding book for any discussion group. Makes a great One Book One School or One Book One Community read.
320 pages 978-1481463331 Ages 12 and up
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com