Cover Image: All Boys Aren't Blue

All Boys Aren't Blue

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Member Reviews

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.
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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.
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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!
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is such an important read for literally anyone, no matter your age, sexuality, gender, race, nationality, religion, I could go on. It’s heartbreaking at points, and it’s heartwarming at points. George M. Johnson’s life story so far is one that we can all learn something from.
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Wow. All Boys Aren’t Blue is a powerful and moving memoir by George M. Johnson. 
The topics discussed are so important for the youth (and adults) of today who may be struggling with their identity. I will be purchasing this memoir and passing it on to the young people in my family with the hope that they will feel supported and encouraged to discover themselves. 
As a white cis woman, I have been educated by George’s life and I would like to thank him for that.
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The thing about the pools being blocked left me shocked. I didn't know that black people drown more often than white, because they aren’t teached and aren’t helped :(
He bought cowboy boots, I yelled of happiness <3
Played football like a king! I just love the vibe and the way he is teaching me
He tried to confront his teacher that said if he lived in that time, he would have slaves :o that is ridiculous. who could say that? 

We love being weird!!!! 
I also love his grandma <3 <3 I agree that it is important for young people to learn on how to help elder people.
Covergirl doesn’t cover boy :( I got really sad with the death of Hope. It literally kills HOPE if we don't learn. I also enjoyed how he talked about remembering people, giving them a story, because you are never forgotten if people can read about you.
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Wow! What more can I say.

I really enjoyed reading All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, and found it so relatable considering I’m not a person from the LGBTQ+ community, and I did not grow up in the USA. Holidays don’t count for me I’m afraid.

As a YA book, I believe the memoir serves as a brilliant guide to navigating the conversations around gender, identity and sexuality for all ages - with the intersection of race. 

I loved the essay structure and found each honest, refreshing and sometimes raw. So many parts of the book resonated with me eg being known by your middle name for the majority of your life and adapting to being known by your first name. 
George’s explorations around what it means to be masculine were also insightful as he navigated school and college, participating in sports as well as joining a fraternity.
The cover and the title drew  me to the book as they were both visually striking.

George’s family sound loving, and it was beautiful to read that they weren’t homophobic, but rather accepting, understand and loving. Why was it beautiful, it was beautiful as often Black people are portrayed as being more homophobic than other ethnicities.

I would 100% recommend All Boys Aren’t Blue to not just the teenagers experiencing this, but to the adults around them, as well as any adult who wants to understand.

A must read.

***Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House Children’s/ Puffin for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.***
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All Boys Aren't Blue is George M. Johnson's young adult coming of age memoir. In this book George writes beautifully and frankly about growing up black and queer, trying to come to terms with his identity. George said he wrote this book to help young LGBTQ+ people, with the goal of normalising talking about their experiences, so that hopefully others won't have to go through the same. Some of the stories and memories George shares are hilarious and others are painful and heart breaking, leaving me shedding silent tears.

I'm so grateful that I've read this, it's going to leave an impression on me for a long time. Thank you so much Penguin for providing me with a copy, the paperback edition is available in the UK from 04/03/21.
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I wished there were more books like this when I was growing up. This is an incredibly smart, sometime hilarious and sometimes upsetting memoir of stories that have not been told before. It gives hope, guidance and understanding to young queer adults - especially those who are POC. 

The writing is perfect. It's so human, and so honest. It helped me think about my own queerness and gave me more insight and understanding into insectional queerness as well and the particular struggles other people face.
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(Trigger warnings for this book include homophobia, racism and the use of slurs, sexual assault and death of a loved one)

A powerful memoir and love letter to the friends and family who made him who he is George M Johnson's All Boys Aren't Blue battles topics like homophobia, racism, toxic masculinity and what it is like to grow up Black and Queer.

The book is both easy to read and also raw and emotional and unafraid to talk about heavy topics that many young Black and Queer boys face and the intersectionality between the two.

This will be such an important book for many young people and help them to understand themselves more.

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House who I received a free eARC copy from in return for a fair review.
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This memoir centres around the life of George M Johnson, activist and writer, and the struggles that he faced growing up as a queer black person. 

Johnson writes in such an emotive and honest way, he talks of trying to find his identity in a society that continously tries to put us into boxes. And there are also themes of family, brotherhood, consent, toxic masculinity and marginilisation throughout. I also loved that whilst this was a personal account of Johnson's experiences he also directed this at a wider audience in the hopes that by telling his story it could help other people. Whether it be to help those who may be in the same situation as him feel as though they're not alone, to understand better and have this resource available to them that he never had himself or even if it's just for someone to become a better ally.

And its for that reason that I think it's great that this is marketed as a young adult memoir (although it can be read by people of any age) it deals with some tough topics and there are trigger warnings which are listed at the start of the book but as Johnson said these were things that he experienced as a teen himself so it's necessary that they are told especially because there are some teens that may have to navigate through these same things. In my eyes this is a must read and it should be a book that teachers encourage their students to read across schools. I feel as though this book could be a companion to those who are perhaps experiencing similar things but also for others to learn how to become a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

An honest and beautifully written memoir that will stay with me and one that I believe everyone should read.

TWs: sexual assault, homophobia, racism, death and racial/homophobic slurs
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All Boys Aren't Blue is a young adult memoir centered around the life of writer and activist George M. Johnson. The book explores what it means be a Queer Black person, and how the two aspects of their life intersect or more often than not struggled to connect. 

This is a truthfully honest account of someone who grew up struggling to come to terms with their identity in a world which is preoccupied with placing people within a box. Within the final paragraph of the book Johnson states 'if one person is helped by my story, then it was all worth it', this is a message which is felt throughout the entire storytelling process. They manage to interweave a story personal to them yet continue to relate it to a wider context, and make it feel like a story for anyone who needs it.

I can imagine this book will be a solace to many young people who are struggling with their identity. This should be a book read in schools worldwide, and one that I imagine will become a vital companion for many young people, particularly those who are LGBTQIAP+.

Overall, this is a beautifully written and honest memoir, and one which will stay with me, and I imagine many other people who read it.
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I had seen this floating around Booktube recently so when I saw it was available for request through NetGalley, I had to try. I am so glad I was able to read it. All Boys Aren't Blue is such a powerful and honest account of George M. Johnson's experience as a queer, black man; and the fact that it is a YA memoir makes it even more important. There are stories in here that will resonate with a younger audience who might be struggling with their identity, and George takes so much care to ensure that these readers feel supported in their journey.

He does not shy away from topics that are usually ignored in the YA genre, and I think it is becoming more and more evident that young adults *need* to know about these issues ideally before they experience them. This book is out in UK on 4th March 2021 so please go pick it up when you can!
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This book is written beautifully, it's very informative and educational on how racism and homophobia has influence the life of George M. Johnson.  This was a genre I normally do not read and found that I read this book slower than others. I feel as though I struggled to connect with the book not because of the style of writing - which was beautiful and emotive but because I do not feel any ties to the narrative as a white cis-female. Despite this, I find it very informative and perhaps the reason for my lack of connection is in fact a reason why I find the book so interesting and engaging.
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Johnson has written this YA memoir solely to help others just like him. Drawing on his experiences growing up as a gay Black boy, he recounts his worries and hopes, and recalls how he didn’t have any books or media to guide him as he grew up. This is something I truly believe is important - everyone should be able to find someone to relate to in life - and I commend him for sharing his obstacles, some of which I imagine would have been very painful to remember, never mind committing to paper.

There was a lot to learn here as a white woman, so reading this isn’t only beneficial for those either Black or queer. I found some deeper insight into how society is so ingrained in unconscious (or indeed conscious) racism and homophobia, some of the origins of this, and how I can continue to learn and make efforts to improve myself and the language I use.

In addition, Johnson ensures he reinforces just how accepting and affirming his family were of his ‘differences’, and how this impacted his life. He does this so forcefully as he’s aware of the general misconception that the Black community wouldn’t be as accepting as others, and he entirely quashes this myth with his heartwarming stories of family life.

I would have loved for this to have felt a bit deeper. Johnson tells us stories as though we were old friends, and this feels cosy for a little while, until I started to feel I’d prefer to be shown these things happening, rather than being told. Sometimes I felt he was only touching the surface of the story, and I would’ve liked some more depth to what I was hearing. I also felt some more editing could have helped - the chapters aren’t chronological, so I felt confused at times on where I was with Johnson in his life. It felt jarring and dizzying; a bit more of a focus on the structure could have helped this massively.

An important and powerful book, and although it’s intended to help those who are young, queer, Black, or a combination of those, it’s also helpful for those outside of those communities to learn more about the types of experiences these people have, and how we can help, even if it’s in the smallest of ways.
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All Boys Aren't Blue is a very personal, candid memoir. It's an exploration of the many different interlinking parts of the author's identity and how they affected him growing up. It was very easy to read, and felt almost conversational in tone which added to the open personal tone. A great insight into the life of George M. Johnson as a black queer teen.
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This is a heartbreaking and heartwarming memoir all rolled into one. George has a way of writing that has you hooked from the first word. It’s a series of personal memoirs of his life and what it means to be both a proud black man but also gay. Being a black man in America is hard enough to be gay makes it 10x harder. From the bullying he endured to the devastating abuse he faces this book leaves you on a journey where you just find yourself unable to stop reading
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George M. Johnson’s personal memoir of growing up a Black, queer, boy is one of the most necessary and honest account of someone ‘s life, I think I have ever encountered. With each chapter an ode to a particular person or anecdote, his writing style is like reading a handwritten letter. He does not hold back or censor topics that mainstream media neglects to show, and provides an open dialogue about growing up as both black and queer, exploring what it means to be both of these identities. This book is so important because it is written for young people, who should be educated about the life experiences addressed in this book.
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All Boys Aren’t Blue covers so many areas, but I would urge people to read it, even if you don’t see it as having direct relevance to you.
Part memoir, this series of reflections offer an insight into the author’s life as a child and growing up (as he calls himself) black and queer. We journey from an early memory of having his teeth kicked in at five years old to dealing with the death of a close friend at college and, along the way, get to hear about family members and the various events that he recalls shaping him as he grew up.
I was struck, more than anything, by the love and strength gained from family. Things may not have always been articulated, but there’s a clear sense that when it counted they would have your back. You might be held to account, but you would always be loved - and it strikes me that this may well be the best gift you can give someone.
So many of the memories were tinged with sadness and made me feel angry that they had to be experienced, but if all of us were to pinpoint moments that shaped us I’m sure that not all of them would be positive. As so eloquently written in the latter stages of the book, reading about the experiences of others can help us define ourselves and for this reason alone I would recommend this book. While so much was nothing like my own experiences, that search for yourself and the need to find your family will resonate with most readers.
I’m in awe of Nanny and the devotion she has so clearly inspired. I feel privileged to have been allowed to see inside our author’s head, and grateful to have been given this opportunity.
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I am honestly stunned by this book. I am not used to reading memoirs or manifesto or anything that is not fiction. Even if I try to read more of them this year. This one really did surprise me in a lot of ways. The way the author has to organize their thoughts and part of life under peculiar subjects, while keeping a timeline we can navigate through. This way, it is really easy to get into George M.’s life, into their trauma, their past and how it shapes the person they are while writing this. You can feel the impact of every word on the person who wrote them, which is one of the most powerful things to tell a story when you think about it. And well, even if it is non-fiction, it is still a person’s story. And the fact all of it was real deliver much stronger messages. As I see it, the following: live your life right here, right now. Your life is going to be shaped by your decisions, do not let anyone else decide anything for you. And finally: you are not alone.

« People being allowed to be called by their chosen names and their gender pronouns is the rule. »

Okay, I need to tell you something before going on why this review: I am queer, not cis, and I am white. So, of course, the story didn’t have the same power it certainly has on black queer people that it had on me, in the way my life will never be bothered by the colour of my skin. This gave a whole new perspective to my reading, it made it all more informative and touching because one can never know what someone is living through, at least their walk in their shoes. I think this is a memoir to put in every young person’s hand who might question their sexuality, gender identity, or what it means to be a black person and also be queer. Not only because it is a powerful take on traumas and how they shape our existence, but also because as the author tell us themselves, maybe by telling their story and what went wrong in their queer experience they can help young queer and black people not to have the same traumas.

« To go years without smiling in pictures, rarely being questioned why leaves me to wonder how many signs of trauma we miss or ignore in Black children. »

There is a kind of trauma, though, that no one can really escape: death, and grief. There is a whole chapter about it in this book, about death and seeing death and acknowledging death and dealing with the grief. Not that the author really gives any key – it is not the point, and no one has keys to go through this – but they share their experience. It is not really about death, but more about what happens before that: the moment the child becomes the parent, the moment it is our turn to take care like we’ve been cared for. And I think it was a fantastic take on the subject, because some people – especially us, young peeps – are afraid of death, of dying, of things changing and of people around us getting old. But we sometimes forget how long and important this chapter of our lives can be, and how taking care of our elder can be the most beautiful thing ever. This whole part of the book touched me deeply for some personal reasons, like it will for a lot of people I think, and that’s how I know reading this book was the greatest of ideas.

« I’ve never thought about immortality before. I always assumed that my mortality would be linked to my inability to survive as a Black queer person. »

Also, the whole becoming adult part of the memoir is simply amazing. Because, hey people, we are going to make mistakes on our way to adulthood. Many mistakes. We are going to get lost, on our own, as it happens to a lot of young adults as they leave their parents’ place for university. And this is something we don’t talk enough about, how the university can be a lonely place and how you can easily get lost when there is no one around to support you and walk along your path. You need to find yourself a new family, far from your own, and this family you will find in people who look like you, in people who you will be able to find yourselves into. Because those people will truly see you. Not the idea of you. Not who they wish you are. And this is the most important thing ever. I dropped out of college because I was alone, and it took me a whole year to find myself. For some, it takes more time. And George M. lived something very similar, the loneliness, the feeling to be lost and the need to be found. I would have loved to read this before entering my college, it would have been amazing to know about someone else, somewhere, living something similar

« There is truly something to be said about the fact that you sometimes can’t see yourself if you can’t see other people like you existing, thriving, working. « 

Wow, I am sorry, I think it is my longest review so far, but I have so much to say! I loved the way masculinity is treated in this memoir, the impact of it, the importance it takes in our society and therefore, in our minds. Little boys will grow, either queer or not, under very masculine expectations. And if they don’t reach all of them, they will feel less, not worth it, not truly legitimate. And it is a part of George M. story, how trying to gain this masculinity led to traumas but also to the greatest things in his life. Because that’s all it is about in the end: the path you take in your life does not have to be the most perfect one – and it won’t be – but what is important is to keep on walking. Because as unperfect it sounds, you will always find ways to make it worth it, that you notice it or not. That you are aware of it yet, or not. You will always learn something, about yourself, about the world, about how you can make things better. And don’t forget…

« Be bold and brave and queer. I know that’s easy to say and much harder to do. »

Read more on: www.thebookishgarden.com
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