The system is rigged.
For guys like Russell Boudreaux, football is the only way out of their small town. As the team’s varsity tight end, Rus has a singular goal: to get a scholarship and play on the national stage. But when his best friend is unfairly arrested and kicked off the team, Rus faces an impossible choice: speak up or live in fear.
“Please rise for the national anthem.”
Desperate for change, Rus kneels during the national anthem. In one instant, he falls from local stardom and becomes a target for hatred. But he’s not alone. With the help of his best friend and an unlikely ally, Rus will fight for his dreams, and for justice.
"Debut author Buford delivers a novel that bridges the mighty dreams of Last Chance U with the trenchant social critique of The Hate U Give. Sports’ biggest social movement moment of the decade gets a special homage.”
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“Absolutely Timely and gripping. Couldn’t put it down. Speaks to the current social climate, and is a must read. 10/10.”
—Broderick Hunter, actor, model, and activist
"A powerful and timely debut novel, Kneel is a gripping story about what it looks like when we demand equity, justice, and recognition of our own humanity. It examines the mental and emotional costs of activism but also gives us a reason to stay in the fight. I could not put it down."
—Kalynn Bayron, author of Cinderella Is Dead
“An utterly unforgettable book—one that makes you think, makes you angry, and most of all, makes you eager to demand change. With an honest, unflinching voice and imbued with moments of true tenderness, Kneel is realistic YA at its best.”
—Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of Today Tonight Tomorrow
"This is “Friday Night Lights” for the Black Lives Matter era: an intense and unflinching look at how racism curdles lives in a small Louisiana town. You’ll blaze through it with your heart in your mouth and your fist in the air. Silence is violence, and this book is a rallying cry for justice."
—Martha Brockenbrough, author of The Game of Love and Death
"Unflinching and compelling, Candace Buford turns a bright spotlight on the unjust world we live in. With Kneel, she is claiming space as a powerful new voice, loudly reminding us that silence is violence. Readers will be galvanized by this beautiful book's message."
—Annette Christie, author of The Rehearsals and Love Lessons