All American Boys was my introduction to YA fiction dealing with police brutality issues. I finished this book the day I started it, which should tell you almost everything you need to know about it. I was completely sucked in. I started it on audio and switched to the print edition because I had it available and it is faster to read. On quick note on the audio, there are a couple text conversations in the book, and the way they are handled is clunky.
All American Boys tells the story of two high school boys: Rashad, an African-American ROTC member that is also a talented artist, and Quinn, your average All-American white student athlete. Very early in the novel Rashad is a victim of police brutality. Quinn is a witness. He is also the best friend of the brother of the police officer involved. The novel deals with the aftermath and the two boys' attempts to come to terms with what happened.
I thought the subject matter was handled well. The incident itself is fairly straightforward, but the characters' attempts to reframe their understanding of themselves adds the right kind of complexity.
As for content and who is this appropriate for, the teenagers drink. There are references to teens shoplifting and marijuana use.