All You Have to Do

By Autumn Allen

Hardcover edition

Publisher Penguin Random House Imprint Kokila ISBN


All You Have to Do

In stock


Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism,Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use,Language: Strong Language

Powerful, thought-provoking, and heartfelt, this debut YA novel by author Autumn Allen is a gripping look at what it takes (and takes and takes) for two Black students to succeed in prestigious academic institutions in America.

In ALL YOU HAVE TO DO, two Black young men attend prestigious schools nearly thirty years apart, and yet both navigate similar forms of insidious racism.

In April 1968, in the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, Kevin joins a protest that shuts down his Ivy League campus...

In September 1995, amidst controversy over the Million Man March, Gibran challenges the “See No Color” hypocrisy of his prestigious New England prep school...

As the two students, whose lives overlap in powerful ways, risk losing the opportunities their parents worked hard to provide, they move closer to discovering who they want to be instead of accepting as fact who society and family tell them they are.

“List of Acronyms and Organizations.” Author’s note. Black-and-white sketches. 
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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—A compelling portrait of the intersectionality of race, class, and intergenerational change that features two Black young adults, Kevin and Gibran, living through two different time periods. Because of their grandparents' and parents' upward mobility, both young men are students at prestigious, predominantly white schools. Kevin, a student at Columbia University, tells his story of growing up in a predominantly white suburb in the 1950s and early 1960s as well as his experience at the Black student—led sit-in at Columbia in April 1968. Gibran, Kevin's nephew, is a student at the prestigious White Oaks preparatory school and is driven to organize a group to attend the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Readers will be intrigued by a family mystery that Gibran works to unravel and the nuanced relationship between uncle and nephew. Told in short chapters that alternate perspectives, the novel is written in one- to two-page fast-moving episodes, especially important in a book that clocks in at 400+ pages. Gibran's rap lyrics and drawings bring a welcome change of pace. This debut novel is meticulously researched and based on real events and people. Allen includes a list of acronyms and institutions as well as a note that shares her personal connection to these stories and how she made them emotionally realistic. VERDICT An important addition to the canon of YA historical fiction and especially recommended for readers who are invested in the history of racism and the struggle for freedom.—Jamie Winchell

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