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 very awesome girlfriend gave me this book for Christmas, so it was very fitting that this would be my first read of 2018, and boy did my reading year start with a bang (I know very poor choice in words).
Much like The Hate U Give, this book deals a lot with the police violence in the United States especially when dealing with race. Justyce, is a young African American male who goes to a prep school, and is also dealing with being one of the very few black students who attend, a feeling I know all to well. A lot of the book deals with the fallout of his arrest, and him realizing that after everything, people could still arrest him.
While the book is fiction, it does touch on a lor of real life issues. After Justyce’s arrest he learns of other stories about young black men getting killed by the police who are unarmed. He uses his letters to Dr. Martin Luther King in order to come to grasp with his situation.
His issues with racial inequalities also happens a lot in his school with his classmates. Since a lot of classmates are white with the exception of Manny. Most of his white classmates dismiss issues of race and basically claim that white people have it worse, and I have also dealt with them in school. Mainly with Jared, who is most white boys I went to school with.
It also touched a lot of issues of race in regards to Manny’s father, who is a Vice President of a major company and still deals with issues of race.
A major highlight of the book was the “Dear Martin” chapters. I think the use of the letters really gave us a sense of the character of Justyce and what he is going through. I also liked his relationship with Sarah-Jane, or SJ, a white Jewish classmate of his. It kinda falls under the normal teenage love tropes in which they are debate partners and Justyce of course starts to have feelings for her and is very nervous about making a move. I thought is was nice to have a few light moments with them to counter a lot of the heavier moments that the book has.
In the end, Dear Martin is a very powerful book, much like The Hate U Give. It deals a lot of issues with race that is still going on today and Justyce is a great character to see those issues through his eyes.