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All Boys Aren't Blue

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for All Boys Aren't Blue

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Update: Changing my GR rating to 4 stars because I'm trying to keep my goodreads more consistent to my personal impressions rather than what I think the book should be "objectively"! 4 stars for me personally, but I believe it deserves 5 stars for young adults that this is geared towards. This is a lovely and wonderful memoir that I think would be perfect for LGBT+ teens and allies who are seeking to learn more about gender identity, toxic masculinity, and themselves. Johnson puts himself in the Update: Changing my GR rating to 4 stars because I'm trying to keep my goodreads more consistent to my personal impressions rather than what I think the book should be "objectively"! 4 stars for me personally, but I believe it deserves 5 stars for young adults that this is geared towards. This is a lovely and wonderful memoir that I think would be perfect for LGBT+ teens and allies who are seeking to learn more about gender identity, toxic masculinity, and themselves. Johnson puts himself in the place of a mentor and friend who's looking out for others (and directly talks to you, the reader) who have been in vulnerable places like him. He shares anecdotes from his life growing up and turns them into accessible lessons for his audience. Johnson seems like such a caring and compassionate person, who holds so much love for his family and the support network he has, and I could truly feel it in his writing and audiobook narration. My caveat is more of a personal preference, but I wish he had done more showing instead of telling in his writing. When he shares anecdotes throughout his life, he also goes out of his way to explain what the story symbolized, which becomes overt and repetitive. I would have liked for him to take a step back and let us process and immerse ourselves in his stories as they are, rather than explaining directly to the reader, especially when the messages can be quite obvious without any further demonstration. As a reader, I prefer the writing to push ideas in a more poetic way, rather than have it be directly told. I’m sure he really wanted to nail the messages down to a teenage audience though, so I don’t really mind and am willing to boost my rating to 5 stars because I still think this is a valuable book for young people in the LGBT+ community.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    so who the fuck let it slip that I cannot resist books with beautiful people wearing beautiful flower crowns on their covers What baffles me most about this book is the realisation that heteronormativity and homophobia sit so deeply within society that even when you have a loving and queer-friendly family and friend-circle you will fear and avoid coming out (to yourself as much as to others) for decades. Let that sink in. Honestly though, this book was everything I hoped it would be: An exploratio so who the fuck let it slip that I cannot resist books with beautiful people wearing beautiful flower crowns on their covers What baffles me most about this book is the realisation that heteronormativity and homophobia sit so deeply within society that even when you have a loving and queer-friendly family and friend-circle you will fear and avoid coming out (to yourself as much as to others) for decades. Let that sink in. Honestly though, this book was everything I hoped it would be: An exploration of gender, identity and sexuality. A guide for queer and especially queer, Black kids that shows them they're valued and wanted and powerful. A moving memoir - I cried so much and at this point I don't know whether I'm just a big softie or have an immense talent in always picking books that hit me hardest. I can recommend it to teenagers that have questions about sex, relationships, growing up queer, about growing up Black but also to parents that want to ensure their kid has an affirming and supportive environment. Actually, I want everyone to read this because you're missing out if you're not. Find more of my books on Instagram

  3. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    this is a very powerful memoir about being black and queer, and the intersection of those identities. the author narrates the audiobook and you can tell he is a natural born story-teller. i highly highly recommend this

  4. 4 out of 5

    emma

    Truly I don’t know how to review this book, so I’m just going to list a few things about it here. - Rarely have I encountered a memoir as honest as this one. - Eventually I felt like it was a little dumbed down??? - And it’s called a “YA memoir”...I don’t know what that means but it seems unnecessary - Despite that & feeling kind of slumpy when I picked this up, I fell into it right away. - It’s so well-written and compulsively readable!!! - There is just so much forgiveness and truth and wisdom in th Truly I don’t know how to review this book, so I’m just going to list a few things about it here. - Rarely have I encountered a memoir as honest as this one. - Eventually I felt like it was a little dumbed down??? - And it’s called a “YA memoir”...I don’t know what that means but it seems unnecessary - Despite that & feeling kind of slumpy when I picked this up, I fell into it right away. - It’s so well-written and compulsively readable!!! - There is just so much forgiveness and truth and wisdom in this book. It’s miraculous to read. Bottom line: Read the first letter of each bullet point and then tell me how cool and impressive I am in the comments below! And then read this book. 4.5 stars ------------- please tell the people that keep making these gorgeous flowery covers to take mercy on my tbr and my wallet (thanks to the publisher for the ARC) --- i am spending this month reading books by Black authors. please join me! book 1: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them book 2: Homegoing book 3: Let's Talk about Love book 4: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race book 5: The Sellout book 6: Queenie book 7: Red at the Bone book 8: The Weight of the Stars book 9: An American Marriage book 10: Dear Ijeawaele book 11: Sing, Unburied, Sing book 12: Real Men Knit book 13: All Boys Aren't Blue

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jesse bowtiesandbooks

    "No amount of money, love, or support can protect you from a society intent on killing you for your blackness, and shows that a community that has been taught that anyone "not straight" is dangerous." All Boy's Aren't Blue is Johnson's memoir-manifesto; designed to encourage queer black boys to uncrate the layers of their masculinity and racialized existence. All Boys Aren't Blue is an effervescent interrogation of compulsory heterosexuality and crushing gender-centric expectations, a kaleidosc "No amount of money, love, or support can protect you from a society intent on killing you for your blackness, and shows that a community that has been taught that anyone "not straight" is dangerous." All Boy's Aren't Blue is Johnson's memoir-manifesto; designed to encourage queer black boys to uncrate the layers of their masculinity and racialized existence. All Boys Aren't Blue is an effervescent interrogation of compulsory heterosexuality and crushing gender-centric expectations, a kaleidoscope of intergenerational storytelling, and cultural connectedness. All Boys Aren't Blue is a testimony, a love letter, to black queer bodies and officially one of my most treasured books. This work teaches black boys and gender nonconforming individuals to subsist in a world that seeks to build us out of it. It is the most powerful exploration of gender I have read next to Freshwater and the most touching memoir I have consumed next to In the Dream House. I state this praise with great care as both aforementioned titles are in my personal literature hall of fame. I related to the essays with a level of intimacy that I cannot name and maintain that the work itself exists as a powerful tool to fight marginalization and the ways we might internalize it. George's writing is casual but engrossing as he fluidly explores a myriad of topics relevant to the black queer body through a critical lens while still managing to fill the pages with black joy, love, hope, and celebration. Preorder this book - it releases in April. I want everybody and their mama to read it. Notes: Undoubtedly some elitists will denounce this book's casual teen-centric writing style, but George is able to deliver his messages without complex prose, proving that colloquial language is All Boy's Aren't Blue's strength, not its weakness. Topics/themes: sex, consent, pleasure, trans/nonbinary, blackness, trauma, racism, homophobia, black boy joy, masculinity, sexual assault, molestation

  6. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    At the conclusion of this memoir, the author writes, if one person is helped by my story, than it was all worth it. I think we can be confident that many, many people will be helped by reading this. Lives will be inspired and changed; not just young people either. THIS BOOK WILL SAVE LIVES. I am not even going to bother writing a full review for All Boys Aren't Blue. The bottom line is this book should be read by everyone. Pick it up for yourself and you will see just what I mean. I also highly rec At the conclusion of this memoir, the author writes, if one person is helped by my story, than it was all worth it. I think we can be confident that many, many people will be helped by reading this. Lives will be inspired and changed; not just young people either. THIS BOOK WILL SAVE LIVES. I am not even going to bother writing a full review for All Boys Aren't Blue. The bottom line is this book should be read by everyone. Pick it up for yourself and you will see just what I mean. I also highly recommend the audiobook, read by the author. Incredibly well done.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    While this book was hard to listen to at times, it packed SUCH a powerful punch and was an amazing memoir that touched on the intersections of being Black and queer. Definitely recommend checking this one out!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    This book was so good, it was so powerful. This is a powerful YA memoir about George exploring his sexuality, telling stories from his childhood, and it's written so beautifully. The story-telling in this book is so raw and I loved feeling as if we were growing up alongside him and rooting for him the whole way through. I listened to the audiobook which is read by the author and it was the best experience. I think this is a great place to start if you are new to nonfiction and you are looking fo This book was so good, it was so powerful. This is a powerful YA memoir about George exploring his sexuality, telling stories from his childhood, and it's written so beautifully. The story-telling in this book is so raw and I loved feeling as if we were growing up alongside him and rooting for him the whole way through. I listened to the audiobook which is read by the author and it was the best experience. I think this is a great place to start if you are new to nonfiction and you are looking for own voices stories, because it nearly reads like a story and I just really loved the complex family dynamics in this book, especially the stories of his Grandmother and when he eventually joins a Frat house and the brotherhood he finds among them. I love that he doesn't shy away from talking about the harder things and the mistakes he's made, it just makes it feel more real and raw. I really enjoyed this one and I'd highly recommend listening to the audiobook. And isn't that cover so gorgeous?? I live for it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Isn’t this cover stunning? I listened and read All Boys Aren’t Blue back in June. Memoirs are especially good on audio when they are narrated by the author, and in this case George M. Johnson’s voice added sincerity and so much emotion to the reading. The book is structured in a series of essays where the author shares his childhood, teen years, as well as college. Johnson wrote his book as a tool for teens who want to be allies, as well as a strong voice for queer teens of color. It’s honest an Isn’t this cover stunning? I listened and read All Boys Aren’t Blue back in June. Memoirs are especially good on audio when they are narrated by the author, and in this case George M. Johnson’s voice added sincerity and so much emotion to the reading. The book is structured in a series of essays where the author shares his childhood, teen years, as well as college. Johnson wrote his book as a tool for teens who want to be allies, as well as a strong voice for queer teens of color. It’s honest and thought-provoking as it covers several timely and important topics. The storytelling is gorgeous and powerful, and I’m grateful Johnson shared his story and that voices and books like this are on shelves in bookstores and libraries today. We need more. I received a gifted audio from Libro.fm and Macmillan. I also purchased a hardcopy for my shelf. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kevin (Irish Reader)

    I absolutely loved this book. It might be a short book, but it will leave such a long lasting impression. This book also educated me on black lives and black queer lives, and for that I am so grateful that I read it. I would highly recommend you check out this memoir. I also read this during a 24 hour readathon, you can check out the video to hear more of my thoughts: https://youtu.be/_xMcY58rFaw I absolutely loved this book. It might be a short book, but it will leave such a long lasting impression. This book also educated me on black lives and black queer lives, and for that I am so grateful that I read it. I would highly recommend you check out this memoir. I also read this during a 24 hour readathon, you can check out the video to hear more of my thoughts: https://youtu.be/_xMcY58rFaw

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)

    I won't be writing a review in the typical sense, since it just feels wrong to review somebody's life experiences, especially when so far from my own. What I will say though is that despite this not being my usual kind of book to pick up, I'd highly encourage everyone to read it. It's so worth it. This memoir is geared towards a teenage audience who wouldn't typically hear about this kind of experience, a fact that often proves dangerous for so many people growing up without the right kind of su I won't be writing a review in the typical sense, since it just feels wrong to review somebody's life experiences, especially when so far from my own. What I will say though is that despite this not being my usual kind of book to pick up, I'd highly encourage everyone to read it. It's so worth it. This memoir is geared towards a teenage audience who wouldn't typically hear about this kind of experience, a fact that often proves dangerous for so many people growing up without the right kind of support. This memoir is raw, honest, and a story everybody should hear. I hope this reaches the hands of many.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    I’m going to try to keep this short, mostly because I don’t think I’m the person most equipped to give a full analysis of George M. Johnson’s life and memoir. But despite this book not being written for me, specifically, I believe there’s still a lot that can’t be learned from the author’s words and experiences. “The spectrum of our traumas can be as broad as our identities.” Johnson’s stated goal in All Boys Aren’t Blue is to offer some guidance to kids navigating an LGBTQ+ and/or black identity I’m going to try to keep this short, mostly because I don’t think I’m the person most equipped to give a full analysis of George M. Johnson’s life and memoir. But despite this book not being written for me, specifically, I believe there’s still a lot that can’t be learned from the author’s words and experiences. “The spectrum of our traumas can be as broad as our identities.” Johnson’s stated goal in All Boys Aren’t Blue is to offer some guidance to kids navigating an LGBTQ+ and/or black identity in America right now. He wants to be a lifeline to those that feel isolated because of who they are or how they feel; one he didn’t have access to growing up. In order to achieve this he shares memories and stories from his own life. Some are funny, others are painful, but each is 100% candid. I was impressed with how open he was in bearing his scars to the world, and I appreciated how he shared even the most intimate pieces of himself. There’s a rawness in Johnson’s storytelling that I think will reach most people who pick up this book. I’d recommend it to not just teenagers going through something similar, but to the adults around them. Johnson has an incredibly understanding and loving family, and that’s something that I’m sure would be beneficial for a number of parents to listen and learn from. *Audiobook (narrated by the author) is currently available for for free on Hoopla*

  13. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    All Boys Aren't Blue is George M. Johnson's memoir, double manifesto, exploring his life as a Black gay man in America and what his queer identity means to him. This feels too personal to rate because it's intensely and painfully honest at times. Johnson brilliantly delineates the story of his life, sometimes with hope and humour, with retrospective sadness or anger, sometimes as means to educate or inform. It's the kind of queer book that just didn't exist a few years ago but needed to. This is All Boys Aren't Blue is George M. Johnson's memoir, double manifesto, exploring his life as a Black gay man in America and what his queer identity means to him. This feels too personal to rate because it's intensely and painfully honest at times. Johnson brilliantly delineates the story of his life, sometimes with hope and humour, with retrospective sadness or anger, sometimes as means to educate or inform. It's the kind of queer book that just didn't exist a few years ago but needed to. This is timely and urgent, and definitely an important read. While the casual tone aimed at a younger audience didn't always work for me, I appreciated it function within the text, allowing for accessibility and engagement for young readers. a must-read book in 2020. Period.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    THIS BOOK SHOULD BE READ BY EVERYONE. And I genuinely mean everyone especially the black community. Sometimes I don't feel like people understand the stories and experiences of those who are both POC and identify as Queer especially black women and men. I'm so happy that George decided to share his story. He talked about everything from coming out to toxic masculinity. Sometimes I'm proud of how far the Black community has come in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community; however, I'm also always remi THIS BOOK SHOULD BE READ BY EVERYONE. And I genuinely mean everyone especially the black community. Sometimes I don't feel like people understand the stories and experiences of those who are both POC and identify as Queer especially black women and men. I'm so happy that George decided to share his story. He talked about everything from coming out to toxic masculinity. Sometimes I'm proud of how far the Black community has come in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community; however, I'm also always reminded of how far we have to go. Just hearing about how Black trans women have been treated while protesting this past week has been quite disheartening. What I loved most about this book is that it was written in such a positive light. George speaks of his own experiences in such a rewarding and reassuring manner. This isn't a book written for queer men of color to discourage them or make them feel bad, but to uplift them and give them a perspective that is often left out of many narratives. Even though the book was not intended for me, I appreciated everything that he had to say and I could appreciate how honest and forthcoming he was about ALL of his experiences. One that really touched my heart was his discussion about his fraternity. If ya'll didn't know, I'm a part of a HBGLO (historically Black Greek letter organization) and sometimes I get worried about how toxic masculinity plays a role in whether queer men are able to join. It was so wonderful to see that positive relationships that came out of his journey being a part of Alpha Phi Alpha. I think sometimes as readers we forget about the importance of intersectionality. It's great to see books about queer POC's written by queer POC's. We need more of these books in the world. Especially books that are positive and give hope. If you haven't picked up this book I highly recommend it. Listen to it on audio because George reads it!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    This book was an informative and interesting read. I liked the story about the author's name. One thing we all have in common is worrying about what other people think of us, queer or not, it happens to all of us. Growing up with cousins and all being taken care of by granny, awesome as she was, sounds fun. She's definitely the coolest grandma ever. The cowboy boots story had me smiling. I liked the advice about speaking up and other advices, including time.
 This book started with an introductio This book was an informative and interesting read. I liked the story about the author's name. One thing we all have in common is worrying about what other people think of us, queer or not, it happens to all of us. Growing up with cousins and all being taken care of by granny, awesome as she was, sounds fun. She's definitely the coolest grandma ever. The cowboy boots story had me smiling. I liked the advice about speaking up and other advices, including time.
 This book started with an introduction about the author, how he came out to the world with a full head of hair and his aunt thought he was a girl. He discussed about gender and what society decide for a person and the activities that shape a person into that of boy or girl. He discussed about how the "n word" was buried so that the black community could be treated with respect. The author recalled being five and was a good actor so no other kids would make fun of him for the truth of his wants. This book is divided into four acts: a different kid, family, teenagers, and friends. 
All Boys Aren't Blue is well written and full of honest disclosures. I'm glad that George did have relatives that were lgbt to support him and his family the basic knowledge while growing up. It would have been harder if his family didn't accept him being different. I like the letters within the story. The family photos are an added bonus. I'm glad someone taught him sex, better a trusting someone than a stranger who will take advantage of an innocent first time. I like the reasons of the book title. This memoir sure pulled out all emotions from me. I highly recommend everyone to read this book! xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details Many thanks to Fierce Reads for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    June 23, 2020: If you've come across my status updates, you already know how much this book has made me feel. It's such a perfect collection of personal essays. There are real stories dipping into the author's thoughts and messages. It does great justice to both the perspectives of George's identity: being Black and being gay. A definitive recommendation. Full review to come! June 23, 2020: If you've come across my status updates, you already know how much this book has made me feel. It's such a perfect collection of personal essays. There are real stories dipping into the author's thoughts and messages. It does great justice to both the perspectives of George's identity: being Black and being gay. A definitive recommendation. Full review to come!

  17. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    All Boys Aren't Blue is powerful, real and honest. Storytelling at its rawest. All Boys Aren't Blue covers a myriad of topics from sexual discovery to family dynamics to internalised homophobia through short essays and anecdotes. Johnson pulls stories from his childhood and own experiences, then explores and relates them to issues others might be struggling with. The storytelling style is unembellished and blunt. No words are wasted, and the message hits home. We follow him from a child through All Boys Aren't Blue is powerful, real and honest. Storytelling at its rawest. All Boys Aren't Blue covers a myriad of topics from sexual discovery to family dynamics to internalised homophobia through short essays and anecdotes. Johnson pulls stories from his childhood and own experiences, then explores and relates them to issues others might be struggling with. The storytelling style is unembellished and blunt. No words are wasted, and the message hits home. We follow him from a child through to adulthood in a way where I felt as if I was growing up with him, making mistakes and learning along the way. Some stories were heartwarming, others hilarious and a few devastating- but they all wove together to tell a story that is desperately needed. In the YA community, we are getting more ownvoices books about black protagonists, or queer ones- but a notable gap is the intersectionalities that lie between them. That is why it is so important that books such as this one are being published. If only one black queer kid stumbles upon this book, it has been a success. If you are new to reading non-fiction, this could be a good place to start. The memoir-manifesto doesn't simply recite facts, but tells a personal, captivating and nuanced story that leaves you with a greater empathy. While this book may be short, it packs an emotional and lasting punch that I know I will be thinking about for a long time. Thank you to Macmillan Audio and Libro.fm for this ALC Release Date: 28 April 2020

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    4 stars This was an intense, brave, and beautifully written memoir by George M. Johnson. His stories were powerful, and although most were unrelatable to me, I think it's an important book to read and I would recommend it to all. Audio book source: Libby (library borrow) Story Rating: 4 stars Narrator: George M. Johnson Narration Rating: 4 stars Genre: Memoir Length: 5 hours and 12 minutes 4 stars This was an intense, brave, and beautifully written memoir by George M. Johnson. His stories were powerful, and although most were unrelatable to me, I think it's an important book to read and I would recommend it to all. Audio book source: Libby (library borrow) Story Rating: 4 stars Narrator: George M. Johnson Narration Rating: 4 stars Genre: Memoir Length: 5 hours and 12 minutes

  19. 4 out of 5

    unknown pokemon

    3.5/5 trigger warnings for rape, use of the F word, use of the N word... other triggers are in the foreword of the book bc i can’t remember. Instagram | youtube an important story for an important voice, i highly recommend you to listen or read this book, it’s about the black queer experience in the US and if you want to be more educated on the black experience, this seems like a good place to start bc it’s YA non fiction. very easy to read, short and although redondant, the story does makes it poi 3.5/5 trigger warnings for rape, use of the F word, use of the N word... other triggers are in the foreword of the book bc i can’t remember. Instagram | youtube an important story for an important voice, i highly recommend you to listen or read this book, it’s about the black queer experience in the US and if you want to be more educated on the black experience, this seems like a good place to start bc it’s YA non fiction. very easy to read, short and although redondant, the story does makes it point come across, and George does have an important experience to tell.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peyton Reads

    Very important read! I don’t rate memoirs because it feels odd to me but it’s great book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    for the right readers, i have no doubt that this book could fundamentally change their lives. george m. johnson believes that we always have the opportunity to be the blueprint for the next generation, and i think he lays his attempt to be that very beautifully in this book. this memoir/manifesto is a candid, chatty exploration of Blackness and queerness and how those two identities intersect. george m. johnson tackles a lot in a relatively short book. there are letters to his family (these were for the right readers, i have no doubt that this book could fundamentally change their lives. george m. johnson believes that we always have the opportunity to be the blueprint for the next generation, and i think he lays his attempt to be that very beautifully in this book. this memoir/manifesto is a candid, chatty exploration of Blackness and queerness and how those two identities intersect. george m. johnson tackles a lot in a relatively short book. there are letters to his family (these were my favorite parts--i leaked many a tear reading about him writing to his nanny and to his mother), there are depictions of sexual assault and violence, there is explicit discussion of virginity, there is lots of joy and there is lots of pain. there is so much bravery in how honest this book is, and i know it must've been incredibly painful to revisit and share moments of trauma and hurt. absolutely worth a read and, honestly, probably a reread, too, down the line.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Wow. I really don't read non-fiction to be honest, but after so many incredible reviews, I really wanted to read 'All Boys Aren't Blue' by George M. Johnson. I related so, so much to many of George's experiences growing up as a confused, gay teenager. I just loved this book so, so much, it was emotional to say the least. 5 stars! Wow. I really don't read non-fiction to be honest, but after so many incredible reviews, I really wanted to read 'All Boys Aren't Blue' by George M. Johnson. I related so, so much to many of George's experiences growing up as a confused, gay teenager. I just loved this book so, so much, it was emotional to say the least. 5 stars!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    A really wonderful exploration of growing up Black and queer. I listened to the audio, and I thought the author did a really fantastic job. Hearing his story in his own words made it that much more special.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    This memoir was absolutely beautiful. It was an incredibly impactful read as we learn about George M. Johnson’s life, growing up as a black gay man in America. It was equally saddening and uplifting at the same time. I felt that I learned so much from Johnson’s account of their personal experiences. They really opened up about so many of the people and events in their life that helped them find themself and made them into who they are today, as they worked to accept who they truly were in an int This memoir was absolutely beautiful. It was an incredibly impactful read as we learn about George M. Johnson’s life, growing up as a black gay man in America. It was equally saddening and uplifting at the same time. I felt that I learned so much from Johnson’s account of their personal experiences. They really opened up about so many of the people and events in their life that helped them find themself and made them into who they are today, as they worked to accept who they truly were in an internal struggle. I think that every single person who reads this can relate to one aspect or another, from the family dynamics to finding new friends in college to just trying to figure out who you are and where you belong. I think that this book will help so many people who are/were struggling with their identity as Johnson was when they were growing up. I hope that this book helps others find themselves and not be afraid to share who they are with the world. This is such an important novel to have available for people to read, and I thank the author for sharing their life with others so we can all learn and grow.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Isabella

    At times heartbreaking, at times uplifting and hopeful, this memoir-manifesto does for young queer kids what mainstream media still doesn't do: show that they're not alone, that they're not "weird" for being different, that they have a community and that they are valid. Beautifully written, raw and honest, this memoir was an incredible read that I will be thinking and cherishing for a long time :) At times heartbreaking, at times uplifting and hopeful, this memoir-manifesto does for young queer kids what mainstream media still doesn't do: show that they're not alone, that they're not "weird" for being different, that they have a community and that they are valid. Beautifully written, raw and honest, this memoir was an incredible read that I will be thinking and cherishing for a long time :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    💫This memoir is exactly what people expect from memoirs and it delivered a thousand fold! This is one memoir which is really personal and outspoken revealing some of the worst (if I can call it that) and the heartwarming memories for the author. This memoir is also a powerful representation of the black community and details some of the events that depict racism, discrimination and how the black queer community is regarded by the families and the black community; how this particular queer communit 💫This memoir is exactly what people expect from memoirs and it delivered a thousand fold! This is one memoir which is really personal and outspoken revealing some of the worst (if I can call it that) and the heartwarming memories for the author. This memoir is also a powerful representation of the black community and details some of the events that depict racism, discrimination and how the black queer community is regarded by the families and the black community; how this particular queer community has been connected with an epidemic! However, the author's life is rather blessed I feel as he had a very loving, caring and an understanding family. I just loved reading about his relationship with his Nanny. This book portrayed well the struggles of growing up as a young queer boy, someone who is different and whose preferences are different from the rest, but more specifically the struggle with identity. I just love how the author invented new words. It's fun! And yes, the author talks about many misconceptions and the assumptions that people have regarding the community. It's so damn liberating to read about it with such a clear-cut presentation of what's what and what's not. I mean who says gays cannot play sports? Author, your book is giving a big punch to everyone who's making that assumption! I felt so bad when there were parts about bullying and harrassment. And yes, this memoir taught me one very big important lesson that is: Not everything written in history or what is being taught to us is the exact truth. Many personalities in history are known now for something not exactly they didn't fight for. Did Lincoln make a pact only to free the black from slavery? Actually it's time to learn the real 'facts'. But me not being well-versed with historic events won't start arguing about it. Let's leave this for now. Coming back to the memoir, I like how the author narrated some very personal events that took place when he wasn't aware much of what was happening. Here the author tried to differentiate what's sexual harrassment and who can be the ones who do the same to you. Towards the end of the book, the author shows how important it is to accept ourselves and not just live according to what others assume for us specially, the black queer community. Some parts about death and grief are heartbreaking. I just loved reading this memoir. The writing is amazing! (I came to know about the better term of LGBTQ plus through this memoir. It's LGBTQIAP+ 💫) . . . "The brightest spot that summer was me falling in love for the first time. Beyoncé was her name." Who doesn't fall in love with the Queen?! Totally relatable!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    My only regret is that I listened to the audiobook (not a bad thing) and didn't wait for my copy to arrive so I could annotate/tab it. Such a powerful series of essays that traverse the topics of black family, queerness, acceptance, and finding your way in the world. I loved it. It wasn't always an easy read but it was a very powerful one and I'm glad I have it coming my way. My only regret is that I listened to the audiobook (not a bad thing) and didn't wait for my copy to arrive so I could annotate/tab it. Such a powerful series of essays that traverse the topics of black family, queerness, acceptance, and finding your way in the world. I loved it. It wasn't always an easy read but it was a very powerful one and I'm glad I have it coming my way.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Corina

    4.5 stars This book is another MUST READ that opens eyes, tells experiences most of us readers won’t be able to understand until we live them. Which makes this book incredibly powerful. I love that the book and its message is directed towards queer Black boys. But also to anyone who is struggling with their identity. The message is clear: There is hope. You are not alone. There are people who went through the same. You are seen! Overall the audiobook was a quick read for me. It’s only 5 hrs and 12 m 4.5 stars This book is another MUST READ that opens eyes, tells experiences most of us readers won’t be able to understand until we live them. Which makes this book incredibly powerful. I love that the book and its message is directed towards queer Black boys. But also to anyone who is struggling with their identity. The message is clear: There is hope. You are not alone. There are people who went through the same. You are seen! Overall the audiobook was a quick read for me. It’s only 5 hrs and 12 mins long, and it didn’t read like a traditional memoir, at least for the most part. It read like a compilation of different stories of the author’s life. And he even calls it story telling. Stories about his youth, his family and his journey of finding his identity, and sexuality. And as expected it was fascinating, and I loved how incredibly candid, and open the author was. Because the openness is what will help teenagers find their own path. And he doesn’t sugar coat anything. The overall voice of the book is one of a teacher, a guide, and he puts all the information out there to be read by teenagers who struggle with sexual identity. He wrote a book that he wished someone would have told him about when he was young. That’s incredibly powerful and moving. ___________________________________ Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog Follow me on Bookstagram

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Isn’t this cover stunning? I listened and read All Boys Aren’t Blue back in June. Memoirs are especially good on audio when they are narrated by the author, and in this case George M. Johnson’s voice added sincerity and so much emotion to the reading. The book is structured in a series of essays where the author shares his childhood, teen years, as well as college. Johnson wrote his book as a tool for teens who want to be allies, as well as a strong voice for queer teens of color. It’s honest an Isn’t this cover stunning? I listened and read All Boys Aren’t Blue back in June. Memoirs are especially good on audio when they are narrated by the author, and in this case George M. Johnson’s voice added sincerity and so much emotion to the reading. The book is structured in a series of essays where the author shares his childhood, teen years, as well as college. Johnson wrote his book as a tool for teens who want to be allies, as well as a strong voice for queer teens of color. It’s honest and thought-provoking as it covers several timely and important topics. The storytelling is gorgeous and powerful, and I’m grateful Johnson shared his story and that voices and books like this are on shelves in bookstores and libraries today. We need more. I received a gifted audio from Libro.fm and Macmillan. I also purchased a hardcopy for my shelf. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sol ~ TheBookishKing

    I started this on a whim because a friend of mine was reading it, not knowing what it was about or what to expect. But what I got was such a gripping story that I listened to it all in one sitting. I laughed and cried, and cried some more and that last line ... had me crying again lmfao. This is a memoir about a Queer Black Boy growing up and facing the racial/homophobic issues that come w/ the Country we live in. At times it was heartbreaking, at times it put the biggest smile on my face. And th I started this on a whim because a friend of mine was reading it, not knowing what it was about or what to expect. But what I got was such a gripping story that I listened to it all in one sitting. I laughed and cried, and cried some more and that last line ... had me crying again lmfao. This is a memoir about a Queer Black Boy growing up and facing the racial/homophobic issues that come w/ the Country we live in. At times it was heartbreaking, at times it put the biggest smile on my face. And the entire time it was beautifully raw. I definitely recommend that everyone give this a try (highly recommend the audio as it is the author who narrates the story <3) The author prefaces the book w/ trigger warnings for racial slurs, homophobic slurs, and sexual assault. I believe there may be a little more as well so please be careful and read the preface (or authors notes) before reading :)

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