Book Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

GENRE: 

Young Adult, Contemporary

PAGES:

210 pages

PART OF A SERIES?:

Standalone Novel

RELEASE DATE: 

October 17 2017

YOU CAN FIND THE BOOK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

GoodReads

IndieBound

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Google Play

Author’s Website

GOODREADS SUMMARY: 

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

MY REVIEW

I seriously have no idea why this book does not have nearly as much hype as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It tackles a huge issue that we have with race in this country and it tugged at my heart and my mind and at the anger I have just as much as Angie’s book. This is another book that should be read by so many people. Justyce is such a smart kid, he’s doing the things he’s supposed and he’s working hard, and he even struggles with what he feels like he is destined to do because of his race or what he needs to do in spite of it. He’s honestly such a good kid and he has terrible shit happen to him and he’s faced with things that young black kids, young men especially, tend to deal with way more than they should and it hits really close to home for me.

This is a problem in our country, a problem that breaks my heart and makes me so angry that I can’t even begin to explain. Just a week ago or so, Tomi Adeyemi, the author of Children of Blood and Bone, posted about an interaction that she had with the police that was just…out of control and made me so angry. And this happened to a successful adult author, one who has been on the NYT bestsellers list for nearly 20 weeks and was chosen as the book of the summer by Jimmy Fallon. This happens. All the time. This is a fictional story but its also not. This is the story of all the young black men who have been shot, handcuffed, arrested, convicted and so on simply because of the color of their skin and this was on my mind the entire novel.

Nic Stone takes a story that we consistently see in the news and makes it HUMAN. She attaches it to a person, a person that we get to know, a teenage boy who is smart and also makes mistakes like a teen does, who has a crush on a girl but keeps going back to his horrible ex girlfriend, who has a mother that wishes for the best for him and who he works hard for. Justyce may be fictional but he’s also not. He’s so real and so human and his story is the story of so many young men before him and it makes the stories we see feel more human, and it enrages me even more and it makes me want CHANGE even more.

Books like these are the kinds of books I’m constantly looking for. As a woman of color (brown instead of black but still), I want more diversity, I want the stories that make us think, that make our emotions explode, that open our eyes and make us uncomfortable because these stories SHOULD make us uncomfortable. This is that kind of book. It tells a story that needs to be told, it shouts it from the rooftop and I want to put this book into everyone’s hands. Nic writes a human story but an important one and I think that’s why I loved it so much.

RATING:

5 out of 5 Stars

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