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Dear Martin Hardcover – October 17, 2017
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"Vivid and powerful."—Booklist, Starred Review
About the Author
Nic Stone is a native of Atlanta and a Spelman College graduate. After working extensively in teen mentoring and living in Israel for a few years, she returned to the United States to write full-time. Dear Martin, her first novel, is loosely based on a series of true events involving the shooting deaths of unarmed African American teenagers. Shaken by the various responses to these incidents—and to the pro-justice movement that sprang up as a result—Stone began the project in an attempt to examine current affairs through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings.
You can find her fangirling over her husband and sons on Twitter and Instagram at @getnicced or on her website nicstone.info.
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I love how Justyce tries to walk in the steps of Dr. King while trying to discover the person he's going to be, the person who he wants to be. I also love how he struggles to find a way to engage with a world where he will have to deal with racism and ignorance no matter how successful he is. I love the way Justyce mirrors Dr. King, but also veers and questions, and finds himself making allies in unexpected places and ways.
Phew, I said LOVE a lot in that last paragraph. No regrets. I can't wait for my students to be able to read this book.
It’s so very rare that I give a book a 5 star rating. It really has to shake me to my core, make me question things, and be something that I believe everyone needs to read for me to rate a book 5 stars and then share a review about it with you.
Before I even begin, I need to tell you all – what you’ve been seeing on social media or review sites about it this book – it’s true. It’s an amazing read. In fact, if you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to buy a copy or grab it from your library, because this book is a game changer in young adult fiction. Trust me.
Dear Martin is a timely, important novel that everyone should read. This book should be required reading in all high schools across the country.
I knew that Dear Martin was the kind of book that made you think and feel a lot of different emotions even before I started reading, only I didn’t know it was going to be that good of a read.
Justyce has worked hard to get good grades, and he is attending a private and elite high school where he will get a good education and be able to head off to an Ivy League school when he graduates. He’s a good kid who doesn’t do anything that could get him into trouble or jeopardize his future – until one night when he was trying to help his ex-girlfriend, he is thrown into handcuffs by a cop because of his skin color.
“Last night changed me. I don’t wanna walk around all pissed off and looking for problems, but I know I can’t continue to pretend nothing’s wrong. 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.”
He is confused, angry, and scared – and it doesn’t help that he goes to school with mostly white kids who have a very hard time understanding why he feels the way that he feels about this. So he takes to writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, trying to gauge what kind of reaction he would have to troubles that kids today face – and troubles that have been around for years.
As the book goes on, Justyce continues writing to Dr. King and talking about everything that is going on with him, including meeting a girl who he has feelings for – but his mother would never let him date, because she’s white.
Not only that, but when Justyce goes out for a drive with his best friend Manny and the two of them are gunned down by a white police officer, Justyce is faced with the aftermath of that inequality. Recovery of more than one type is a long and scary road, and Justyce tries to surround himself with people who understand – including Dr. King.
This is one of the most powerful books that I have read in my life – I’m not just talking about young adult. This is the kind of book that the world needs right now, and it’s the kind of book that’s just screaming its message out loud and clear, and everyone should have to stop and listen. It’s a beautiful book. It’s a heartbreaking book. It’s an important book that you need to read.
I devoured this book in one sitting, and I loved every page. I loved Justyce’s character – my heart hurt for him through everything he had to face, and it made me angry. This is the kind of thing that goes on every day in our world, and if you haven’t already noticed, this book will open your eyes and give you an experience you’ll never forget.
I don’t want to go into too much detail because this is the kind of book that is better experienced by the reader, so that nothing is spoiled and every part of it is as raw as it can be, pulling you in and never letting go.
So pick up a copy. Check it out of your library. Read it, then share it with families and friends. Go back and read it again. This is the ultimate must read book for 2017.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
This book is a gut wrenching, raw, read that should leave you feeling a range of emotions. There are so many different elements to this story. Through out the duration of reading this book I couldn't help but feel frustration, anger, love, and hope for Justyce. Stone's debut also made me see all the different sides to inequality. She made me understand the why when it came to the characters and their choices. I'll be honest, the injustice and inequality was the hardest part to read. I will never understand hate, and the sad reality is the hate in this story is an every day occurrence that so many teens of color face.
It's stories like Justyce's that make you want to do more, and be better. Justyce was a character I rooted for, from the moment I met him. This is a character who may be fictional, but his portrayal is real. I wanted him to rise above every obstacle he sadly faced and disadvantage he has, because of his skin color. I absolutely loved getting to know Justyce, and seeing all he does. There is hope, and the chance for a change. I was surprised to see that change manifest itself in a certain character. When you read the ending, you'll know who I'm talking about.
The characters that are part of this book all brought something crucial to the story. I felt like with Justyce, I understood them. Well except for the haters. I understood Justyce's mom's feelings, and her views. I loved the open acceptance SJ and her parents had with Justyce. I felt like I understood the choices some of Justyce's friends made. I also liked Justyce's teacher for challenging his kids to think, and for seeing the potential in Justyce, when he himself didn't see it at the time.
There are times when I read a book like this, that I find it out hard to put into words all my feelings for it. This book is a reality for so many, and one that many of us don't always see. It's brutally honest, raw and gripping. It's a book that should be read. It's one that will move you to think, to see more clearly, and understand. Sure it's not an easy read, but that's because it will stir up many feelings over the course of this book, and make you realize that Justyce's name can be replaced with so many other names and faces. There needs to be more books like this. This is one that will definitely spark discussions.
*There is some mild language in this book, and some violence.
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“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?Read more