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All boys aren't blue : a memoir-manifesto
2020
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A first book by the prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist shares personal essays that chronicle his childhood, adolescence and college years as a Black queer youth, exploring subjects ranging from gender identity and toxic masculinity to structural marginalization and Black joy. - (Baker & Taylor)

A first book by the prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist shares personal essays that chronicle his childhood, adolescence and college years as a Black queer youth, exploring subjects ranging from gender identity and toxic masculinity to structural marginalization and Black joy. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

*An Amazon Best Book of the Year optioned for television by Gabrielle Union!*

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren't Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson's emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood and adolescence growing up as a gay black man. - (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

GEORGE M. JOHNSON is a writer and activist based in New York. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. George has appeared on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM as well as on MSNBC. All Boys Aren’t Blue is their debut, and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an Indie Bestseller, a People Magazine Best Book of the Year, and optioned for television by Gabrielle Union. The New York Times called it "an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects." At the time of publication, George used he/him pronouns. Speak with them on Twitter:
@IamGMJohnson. iamgmjohnson.com

- (McMillan Palgrave)

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Booklist Reviews

With this title, Johnson offers his memoir-manifesto of growing up queer before he had the language to know exactly what that meant. Split into three parts, Johnson's book shares intimate stories of his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood as he navigates family, friends, and the performance of masculinity. Discussion of his stories includes theory and statistical information that tie his ideas and struggles in with a larger intersectional identity. Johnson struggles with finding his YA voice. Though it's clear that his stories and experiences are formative to his identity as a Black queer boy (now man), they pour out with an intensity that may lead readers to feelings of confusion about the main point of the book. The severe lack of #OwnVoices books from Black queer men makes this title an absolute necessity, but it may fall to the wayside for cultural outsiders. Nevertheless, the personal stories and the healing and reconciliation of self in this title are all undeniably honest and relatable—a reminder of our shared imperfection and humanity. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Journalist and activist Johnson takes readers through his life from childhood through young adulthood, reflecting on how his identity as a queer Black boy was shaped, refracted, and often suppressed for his own safety. Growing up in New Jersey, Johnson recounts becoming aware of his "difference" and how it necessitated choices between who he was and who he felt pressured to be. Part memoir and part manifesto, the text infuses personal reflections with observations about white supremacy, toxic masculinity, homophobia, and how these concepts affected him, whether as a boy forced to choose football over double dutch at recess or as a fraternity pledge struggling to come out on campus. Separated into acts, the book describes different members of his community (family, teenagers, friends)—a stylistic demonstration of his valuable support system that occasionally makes the narrative choppy. Still, the various tangents don't detract from the book's power, and the conversational tone will leave readers feeling like they are sitting with an insightful friend. There are a few detailed depictions of sexual situations and an incident of sexual abuse by a family member. Johnson handles the painful, complicated feelings around this experience with an honesty and tone appropriate for the intended audience. VERDICT This young adult memoir is a contemporary hallmark of the blossoming genre. Johnson anchors the text with encouragement and realistic guidance for queer Black youth. Recommended for YA nonfiction collections where autobiographical and social justice titles are popular.—Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii
Introduction: Black. Queer. Here 1(18)
Act 1 A Different Kid
Chapter 1 Smile
19(17)
Chapter 2 Identity
36(16)
Chapter 3 "Honeychild"
52(13)
Chapter 4 Fags Play Football, Too
65(16)
Chapter 5 "Honest Abe" Lied to Me
81(24)
Chapter 6 You Can't Swim in Cowboy Boots
105(18)
Act 2 Family
Dear Little Brother
123(5)
Chapter 7 Nanny: The Caregiver, the Hustler, My Best Friend
128(16)
Chapter 8 Daddy's Second Chance
144(16)
Chapter 9 Losing Hope
160(22)
Dear Mommy
177(5)
Chapter 10 A Lesson Before Dying
182(15)
Act 3 Teenagers
Chapter 11 Boys Will Be Boys
197(16)
Chapter 12 The Prom Kings We Never Were
213(11)
Chapter 13 Setting Myself Free or Setting Myself Up?
224(19)
Act 4 Friends
Chapter 14 Caught in a Haze
243(19)
Chapter 15 Losing My Virginity Twice
262(15)
Chapter 16 Don't Know Why I Didn't Call
277(16)
Afterword: All Boys Aren't Blue 293(8)
Acknowledgments 301

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