I have a future ahead of me that will likely include an Ivy League education, an eventual law degree, and a career in public policy. Sadly, during the wee hours of this morning, literally none of that mattered.
Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
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.
Oh my God, this book.
It made me cry and it made me anxious and I wanted to throw it out the window, I loved it so much.
As I said with THUG I don’t feel like I can comment on issues of race when I’m not black nor do I live in the US (where the books take place) but reading this let me see a bit of someone else’s perspective and I could feel the impotence at everything that was happening to Justyce. I saw him make decisions that he shouldn’t think twice about and I saw how everything only got worse after every step. The story is one of struggle, of accepting the world but not losing to it.
The letters to MLK are pure gold, I wish I could make everyone read at least those.
I loved the book because it felt real and I hated reality because of this book. What’s wrong with the US??
Don’t answer that, I know already
This boy just can’t catch a break, can he? He is just a teenager and he has to go through so much sh*t. I loved that the author let him be angry, let him consider the gang-thing and let him sit and listen to all the choices he had. He had a good adult role model but he also saw the point of the protection offered by the Black Jihad. The fact that he doesn’t give up, no matter how close he came to it, is perfect. He is strong but that doesn’t mean that he gets by all by himself, he relies on other people and seeks help when he feels overwhelmed.
I don’t have much about her. I feel like she represented the past, a life where Justyce let himself be led where ever and was passing through without being an active participant. She was safe, his mother wouldn’t complain much and she didn’t really have much of an impact in his other interests. Maybe a bit more of character development would have been nice for her, to get her reasoning further than she wants attention
… I just realized that her name is also an abbreviation for social justice… is that on purpose? Can someone ask Nic Stone?? I need to know. But yes, she is a white girl aware of her privilege and she tries to be a better person and good ally to Justyce. I loved how her character wasn’t reduced to love interest and she was allowed to have a strong personality and do things for herself.
He is now my baby and nothing wrong happens to him EVER. I understand his need to fit in and how he let some things slide because of that. I don’t blame him and once he realized he was in too deep he had the courage to stand up for himself and try to make things right. He deserved better and I didn’t see that coming but it was so poetic and heartbreaking and unfair, it fit the narrative perfectly.
I remember his name being something like Jensen or Jared or Jesse, something qwhite generic. He was the personification of white privilege and he was so perfectly written that it felt as if he was a real person that I wanted to punch in the face (thanks Manny)
I simply love to see competent adults in YA fiction and he was the best. I never felt like he was belittling the kids because of their age or trying to impose his way of thinking, rather he tried to explain and work with them so they can reach their own conclusions.
No one can blame her for wanting Justyce to be with a black girl, especially after the whole Melo thing. I’d have liked to see a bit more of how she dealt with SJ and Jus being a thing. She could have had a bit of a bigger role but considering Jus’ living situation I don’t think that’d be all that realistic, after all he lives at school and her mother has work and she still manages to teach him some things.
Google, how do I copy-paste a whole book in one blog post?
That’s it, the things that I loved from this book is the book- I will try to list some of the main points for the sake of this review
Debate class, a space where characters get to discuss their views on matter that directly affect the story that is inserted in the narrative so well you don’t even question exposition
The veredicts, I know it’s kind of weird to put this on the list but the unfair and biased, biggoted veredicts we see along the novel are important to the real life issues that we are handling. We see what happens when a black kid is killed by white police and when a policeman is killed by a white kid. We see the injustice but it doesn’t surprise us.
The family dynamics seem to be just for background but are actually the perfect way to cement personalities. The differences between Manny’s family and Justyce and SJ’s and J-douche they are all key elements to understand where they come from and how they behaved
The fact that the guys who were actual criminals weren’t portrayed as mindless demons but instead they had reasons and a charismatic leader. They are angry for a reason.
The ending. Did the world change beacuse shitty things happened? No, did Justyce have a sudden revelation that he should confront everyone on their racism and became the voice of equality for the world? Nope. He kept living, he didn’t become MLK in the year these events take place but it does change him. He realized he needed to do something but he also gave himself time, by understanting that things can’t chage in a day he also understood that everyday could bring a little change
This book is perfect?? Everything from the cover to the very last word (Have you seen how stunning the cover is?? And here’s the other cover I found)
I don’t have anything for this section so I’ll take the chance to direct you to some people who are trying to bring a little justice to the world. Click on the cover for more info
This part is long but rest assured that there were WAY more quotes to put in here
like the entirety of the book
Yeah, there are no more “colored” water fountains, and it’s supposed to be illegal to discriminate, but if I can be forced to sit on the concrete in too-tight cuffs when I’ve done nothing wrong, it’s clear there’s an issue. That things aren’t as equal as folks say they are.
SJ: We (white people)’ll never be seen as criminals before we’re seen as people.
“You ever consider that maybe you not supposed to ‘fit’? People who make history rarely do.”
Before you say something “isn’t fair,” you should consider your starting point versus someone else’s.
What do I do when my very identity is being mocked by people who refuse to admit there’s a problem?
despite how good of a dude Martin was, they still killed him, man.
“You can’t change how other people think and act, but you’re in full control of you. When it comes down to it, the only question that matters is this: If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?”
your ancestors survived a transatlantic journey, built this nation from the ground up, and maintained a semblance of humanity, even when the very conditions of their existence suggested they were less than human.