Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Day: October 17th 2017
ARC was kindly provided from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

4 stars!

“I think that was prolly the moment I gave up. Why try to do right if people will always look at me and assume wrong?”

Dear Martin might be categorized as fiction but it’s closer to reality than any other book I’ve read this year. Justyce’s story shocked me more times than I could count, I found myself wondering how many of these incidents could be real and from what I’ve seen, unfortunately an awful lot. When Justyce is racially profiled and ends up in handcuffs which traumatizes as we later see throughout the story, it changes his whole perspective. He’s eventually released but that doesn’t really make the whole incident go away. That was the first time Justyce was arrested and later in the book comes another even more traumatic scene that leaves him utterly broken.

This book shows how a young kid, shy and too good for this world – even I found myself getting more pissed than he did – can go from being the perfect student, friend and son to a criminal by the media or the police.

I can’t really say a lot about this without giving away stuff or get really pissed off. I read this back in May and then again in June, it’s definitely a book that stays with you afterwards and you want to revisit certain of it to make sure, did I actually read that? This is fiction but at the same time it’s a reality for a lot of people. I loved Justyce and I loved how pure he was and how honest and good, focused on his school, taking care of his mom and trying to get her to like his white girlfriend. I loved him and every time something happened that shocked him or hurt him, I got mad. Justyce in his attempt to find answers for the way people treat him starts writing a journal to MLK which I found adorable and heartbreaking at the same time, having no one to turn to for answers.

What an amazing story this was. Each chapter felt like a slap in the face and it made me feel pretty tiny. I loved that we got a male voice in the YA and that Justyce is so well written, he is needed in the genre and I can’t wait for people to get to know him. My one and only objection was the misogyny, there are scenes in the book that I would have liked not to read but other than that Dear Martin is one of those books you can’t and shouldn’t ignore. Powerful debut.


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