Book Review: All You Have To Do by Autumn Allen

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Publisher’s description

Powerful, thought-provoking, and heartfelt, this debut YA caller by writer Autumn Allen is simply a gripping look astatine what it takes (and takes and takes) for 2 Black students to win successful prestigious world institutions successful America.

In ALL YOU HAVE TO DO, 2 Black young men be prestigious schools astir 30 years apart, and yet some navigate akin forms of insidious racism.

In April 1968, successful nan aftermath of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, Kevin joins a protestation that shuts down his Ivy League campus…

In September 1995, amidst contention complete nan Million Man March, Gibran challenges nan “See No Color” hypocrisy of his prestigious New England prep school…

As nan 2 students, whose lives overlap successful powerful ways, consequence losing nan opportunities their parents worked difficult to provide, they move person to discovering who they want to beryllium alternatively of accepting arsenic truth who nine and family show them they are.


Amanda’s thoughts

Friends. FRIENDS. This book is fantastic. I did a point I ne'er do: I folded down pages to spell backmost to. I didn’t person small sticky tabs adjacent me, I was trapped nether a chiweenie recovering from an anaphylactic guidance to hornet stings, and I NEEDED to beryllium capable to look backmost astatine these pages.

Make judge you publication nan small summary up there. It gives you nan wide picture. But here’s what I want to show you. Not only is nan penning amazing, not only are nan voices phenomenal, but nan communicative is excellent. EXCELLENT. I americium not telling you thing caller erstwhile I opportunity that nan United States has a problem pinch racism. It’s not an understatement to opportunity we person a agelong measurement to go, that it often seems for illustration immoderate advancement made has been quickly disappearing. And, arsenic we each know, galore of america are surviving successful environments wherever conversations astir racism, astir nan very facts of this country’s history, of nan bequest of slavery are not allowed to happen. NOT ALLOWED. So to publication this book, pinch 1 communicative sets successful nan 1960s and different successful nan 1990s (and listen, that makes some timelines humanities fiction–I was a elder successful 1995 conscionable for illustration Gibran is successful this story—so it pains maine to show you that that era is decidedly a agelong clip agone now), and to spot really present we are successful 2023 having nan aforesaid conversations, nan aforesaid fights, nan aforesaid problems, nan aforesaid everything… it’s upsetting. And infuriating. And Gibran is mad. And Kevin is mad. And I americium mad. And I dream you are mad, too.

This is simply a caller astir organizing, community, action, and doing nan work. It’s a communicative astir speaking retired and taking a stand. It’s a communicative that looks astatine very circumstantial moments successful history—life correct astir nan clip of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination and life correct astir nan clip of nan Million Man March. It is simply a communicative wherever students beryllium successful classrooms and person really uncomfortable conversations, wherever group surviving successful 2 very different versions of America don’t agree, don’t spot nan aforesaid things. There are students, particularly successful nan 1990s timeline, who deliberation everything is now equal, who judge we person “moved on” and person dealt pinch racism and discrimination. During a speech pinch Kevin and his friends, successful nan 1960s, Allen writes, “There are 2 Americans, 1 Black and 1 white, and segregation and unequal curen are nan causes of municipality uprisings. Even pinch nan facts, group still enactment surprised. They don’t want to admit that segregation and unequal surviving conditions are a shape of unit too” (pg 100). And past successful nan 90s, Gibran and classmates are still trying to travel to position pinch this reality, to get everyone to understand that we arsenic a nine person nary someway moved aliases or recovered from nan galore sick effects of slavery. As nan people tries to person these conversations, their coach tells them, “These conversations are not easy to have. But they are important. We broaden our views and hopefully get person to being nan inclusive organization we strive to be” (pg 306). It’s 2023 and those lines ringing arsenic important arsenic ever—maybe moreover much so, successful this ambiance of truthful galore moving to unopen down thing that shows nan reality of nan history and nan coming successful this country.

This powerful, well-written debut is an outstanding publication not to beryllium missed. I person publication 164 books this twelvemonth truthful acold and this book is decidedly successful my apical 10 sounds of 2023.

Review transcript courtesy of nan publisher

ISBN-13: 9780593619049
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/29/2023
Age Range: 12 – 17 Years

Filed under: Book Reviews