Cover Image: All Boys Aren't Blue

All Boys Aren't Blue

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is such an emotional memoir aimed at younger readers but one that all ages will get something from. All Boys Aren’t Blue is Johnson’s story of growing up black and queer and he details his experiences of the things he went through and had to deal with. Through the book there is exploration of race, sexuality and gender, each handled so well and whilst not pulling any punches it is appropriate to its audience. I found this book heartbreaking at times; it’s horrendous to read what Johnson has been through in his life, but it’s also inspiring to read of the way he has come through their struggles and found peace in who he is. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to everyone.
Was this review helpful?
All Boys Aren't Blue is a book that will make you feel so many emotions as you read it. It's a very honest memoir, brutally so in some parts. But an exceptionally good and interesting read.
Was this review helpful?
All Boys Aren’t Blue is a beautiful young adult memoir that is perfect for (Black) LGBTQ+ teens that might need some help navigating topics like gender, identity, (toxic) masculinity, loneliness and homophobia.

Johnson is a natural born storyteller. Like he writes at the very beginning: he made me laugh, cry, and feel so many other emotions in between.

His love for his family was inspiring, he made his struggles feel real, and he was very open about all the different things he experienced and the choices he made - both good and bad.

I highly recommend All Boys Aren’t Blue.
Was this review helpful?
This book was raw, unflinching, powerful and inspirational. Johnson's memoir illustrates a life and experinances that are very different from my own, and he tells his story in a way that is so illuminating, it had be hooked from the first page. This is such an important perspective that is often forced into the shadows. I hope many people read and learn from this book, regardless of their race or sexuality. Essential reading.
Was this review helpful?
A deeply insightful and brutally honest memoir giving real insight into the experiences of being both black and gay.

This is definitely an important read and I can see why this is aimed at a YA audience.

The author is great at story telling and this flowed beautifully. I was unable to put this down.

I only wish this had been longer.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy to review.
Was this review helpful?
Thankyou to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me a copy of this book. All Boys Aren't Blue was everything, once i started this book i couldnt put it down. A wonderful memoir which normalises talking about experiences relating to LGBTQ+
Was this review helpful?
I laud this book for existing. 

I am not the intended audience for this novel, and I'm not the person whose review you should read. Read own voices reviews instead, because they will have so much more valuable information and input to give you. 

I will say instead that I am happy this book is written. Back when I was a young adult, these books weren't available and my generation has had to cope with mainly white and heterosexual stories. We're entering a new time where that's not the norm, and I applaud that. 

I hope people who need this book, find their way to it.
Was this review helpful?
This is an emotionally honest and open memoir.  This examines the role that the influences such as family and race play in an individual’s development, these essays are addictive reading, Johnson’ writing style just flows and feels so natural , it makes effortless reading and I finished this before I had realised it. Johnson’s open letter is to young LGBTQ+ , but I think should be read by everyone as this the reader takes on an exploration of their own gender identity, exploration and vulnerabilities, not just LGBTQ+, I say this as a white heterosexual reader, as this book can and will help in my unlearning. More importantly it’s simply a beautiful, hopeful and very insightful read, one that will stay with me for my life I feel. Highly recommended 


Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Was this review helpful?
Johnson's memoir is an open exploration of his sexuality and identity. Examining the influence that race, family and experience play on each individual's development of self, All Boys aren't blue explores the key moments in Johnson's life as he developed his understanding of his emotions. By examining his sexuality from early life, school life, teenage years and through to his college years, the author illustrates that there is no single 'lightbulb' defining moment, but a gradual understanding and acceptance that is unique to the individual. The specific examination of race and gender is important and as Johnson end "if one person is helped by my story, then it was all worth it". Highly readable and recommended regardless of your sexual preference(s).
Was this review helpful?
"This book is an exploration of two of my identities-Black and queer-and how I became aware of their intersections within myself and in society."

All Boys Aren't Blue is an emotionally honest young adult memoir-manifesto by George M. Johnson. It primarily focuses on his childhood growing up in a queer-affirming household in New Jersey and his college experience in Virginia, as well as the friends and family members that helped shaped him. I was overwhelmed by Johnson's openness and vulnerability, as he discusses everything from getting his teeth kicked in at age five to his sexual experiences in college. 

Compiled as a series of personal essays, Johnson has a natural writing style that will instantly captivate you. And while he has written this book for young adults (which is reaffirmed at the end when he states "it's for you"), I believe many people will benefit from reading about Johnson's first-hand experiences as a queer Black man in America.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for this honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I don't even have the words to explain how hard-hitting and intense I found this part memoir, part manifesto. This is one of the best things I've read to get to the core of the importance of queer activism and the importance people of colour play in that.
Was this review helpful?
“I fought harder to fit in but my spirit fought harder to fit out.”

“Why was my Black queer experience one of unconditional love when several others have become the standard of hate and familial violence?”

“How could one family get so right what the world has gotten so wrong? We should have been the rule. Not the exception.”

“Love who you want to love and do it unapologetically, including that face you see everyday in the mirror.”

All Boys Aren’t Blue is a beautifully written memoir depicting George M Johnson’s younger years. It is organised into a series of essays with each one focusing on a different area of his life.

He wrote this book to not only be a voice for young, queer, Black boys but to also reassure them in knowing that they are not alone. He did not sugar coat anything and was very explicit when describing some of the things he had gone through but his intentions behind this was to ensure that readers who had gone through similar or the same things felt seen and heard.

If you haven’t read this yet, I would highly recommend it. It is an insightful yet ultimately hopeful book. However, the whole time I was reading, I almost wished I had it on audio too because I’m sure that Johnson’s eloquent writing would be even more powerful orally.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely fantastic, this book is so beautifully written and really sticks with you
we need more literature like this, it's really impacted me and I've recommended this to so so many people.
honestly, anyone who wants to read a book that will stay with you for years to come, this is the one!
Was this review helpful?
I would highly recommend this book to anyone. 
I'll admit that before beginning this book, I was a little intimidated. I thought it would be a difficult read, so it was a joyful surprise to discover that George M. Johnson's style of writing was so easy to get into and connect with. 
Once I started, I couldn't put it down. 
This is a very powerful and inspiring memoir with a beautiful message.
Was this review helpful?
Five years ago, I read If You Feel Too Much and one quote stayed with me: "There is something about hearing or seeing or feeling something that is true." This is what I felt while reading All Boys aren't Blue.

ABAB is described as a memoir/manifesto and it feels that way throughout the whole book. Johnson shares anecdotes from his personal life and explains how they made them the way they are. This double reading, by past George and Now George, is what makes the book so strong and so relevant. George grew up, learnt and now teaches. By telling AND analyzing their own history, ABAB provides representation to those who share their experience and shows them that other male role models exist and are just as valid. It's not just an important book, it's a precious one that will find an echo in many queer Black teens.

Trigger Warnings include racism and homophobia (with slurs), assault (sexual and not), incest and death. There's a lot of beauty in ABAB but there's tragedy too, so make sure to read this book when in the right headspace.

Johnson explores how racism, by imposing the idea of "respectability" on Black people, still has an impact on the community and how they deal with queer people. They also mention how their experience as a queer Black person shaped their sexuality, how they found friends for life in college, but what transpires the most is the love. How much they love their familey. How important the support of their friends was to them. Johnson lays their soul bare for us to read, vulnerable but unafraid, and it feels like a privilege to witness that. So thank you, George M. Johnson, for allowing us to see that much of you.

5 huge stars, all the freaking constallations actually. It's been an honour to read it.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review

I finished this wanting more, I could have honestly read another 300 pages of this. It was so raw and powerfully written and 100% the type of book that should have been available when I was a teen. I was shocked by some of the things George went through but reading about the family support and his found family made me feel so warm and fuzzy.

Such an important read!
Was this review helpful?
A beautiful memoir. For LGBTQ+ young people, the author takes them on an exploration of their own gender identity, exploration and vulnerabilities. The intersections of their identities and how societies views of them pose a danger to their very existence should be a wake up call to all allies.  This is so full of compassion and honesty, written as a love letter to queer youth. Excellent.
Was this review helpful?
I don’t read lots of memoirs but this one just grabbed my attention. And I am so glad it did, I loved every bit of it and finished the whole book in a day. 

I haven’t ready any YA memoir before leave alone a queer YA so this was educational, enlightening and very knowledgeable for me. As a South Asian, we aren’t taught in schools or at homes or anywhere else about many things related to books. I have always wanted to know and educate myself more on LGBTQI+ and this book definitely has added more perspective and knowledge. Thankyou for being so brave George Matthew Johnson in writing your beautiful story on your beautiful life.
Was this review helpful?
This book has just gained a special place in my heart. I want into it not expecting to relate to George's experience in anyway, and yet coming out of it feeling like I have learnt something about myself. Thank you for your honesty, I also agree that, here in the UK also, sex education is totally lacking. Thank you for putting this into the world and I am sure this will help young people the world over.
Was this review helpful?
The most amazing memoir I have personally read....from someone who is a similar age to me although a different gender, race and sexuality this book transcends all those things....it doesnt matter who you are...the experiences shared in this book are essential reading in my opinion! I laughed, I cried and most of all I read the words in awe!
Was this review helpful?