Dear Martin Paperback – September 4, 2018
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A New York Times Bestseller!
A William C. Morris Award Finalist!
An ALAN / Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Finalist!
A 2018 BookExpo Editors' Buzz Selection!
An Indies Introduce Selection!
A Kids' Indie Next List pick!
“A powerful, wrenching, and compulsively readable story that lays bare the history, and the present, of racism in America.” –John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down
"Painfully timely and deeply moving." –Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Raw and gripping." –Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Long Way Down
"Absolutely incredible, honest, gut-wrenching. A must read!" –Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give
"Teens, librarians and teachers alike will find this book a godsend...Vivid and powerful." –Booklist, Starred Review
"A visceral portrait of a young man reckoning with the ugly, persistent violence of social injustice."
About the Author
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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In this novel, Justyce McAllister—a bright, motivated, top-of-his class student—takes it one step further. As he navigates a contemporary Atlanta where he is still seen more for the color of his skin than the content of his character, he regularly writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a journal, hoping that it will help him put Dr. King’s teachings into practice in order to manage everything that’s thrown at him.
I don’t want to give away the exact situations he faces, but I will say this: there is a safety in fiction that allows us to witness and begin to understand the harder stories and truths we flinch from in real life. Books like this get important views considered, get important conversations started. As a white person, I needed to get to know Justyce, for I’ve never been in his shoes, and the fact is that his fictional shoes are worn by millions today. As a mother to white children, I needed to own this book in order to place it into my kids’ hands and ensure the messages inside it are nailed home. Over and over again, until things do get better.
I highly recommend this book, and hope it gets into as many hands and hearts as possible.
DEAR MARTIN is a lightning fast read--and it's structurally neat with like almost play-like dialogue exchanges--and it's telling a heartbreaking and important and hard-to-look-away-from story. I love Jus. He's a wonderful character. His mom is so real, and his teacher Doc is awesome. And his friends are people I want to know. No spoilers, but this to say, I wasn't expecting the plot of this book to go the way it did: that is, the novel itself wasn't predictable.
Although, yeah, of course, I was expecting it too go where it did--since this book is exactly what's happening in the US right now.
All in all, an amazing read that everyone, and I mean everyone should read. But also, the story and characters are so real that there's pleasure in reading this book too.
I cannot wait for Nic Stone's next book.
Dear Martin follows Justyce who is a black teen boy who goes on a journey of discovering the hardships of being a black male.
I must say I am impressed with the many topics this book covers from racial profiling, affirmative action, going along with racist jokes and more. Dear Martin would be a perfect book for a high school class because of the topics it discusses, the engaging story and the short length.
Personally, just like The Hate U Give, Dear Martin was hard to read. My children are black and it’s frustrating & heartbreaking to know the issues presented in the book is reality for many black men and for my sons as they get older. The idea that they’ll deal with racism solely because of their skin color guts me and the possibility of someone harming them because of it, I can’t even think about it.
Thank you Nic Stone for writing a piece of literature that I hope helps many people see problems of today and revisit how they think.
Issues: My main issues with the book were structural. 1. It was short, just over 200 pages. I heard it originally was longer but cut shorter to make it more impactful. I wish there had been a little more development here. 2. The structure and formatting of the book threw me a little. The majority of the book is written in a regular formatting but then randomly dialogue is formatted in a bullet point style. I thought it was a mistake at first. It was interesting but I’m not sure I was sold on it. I did also like the letters written to Dr. King.
Overall: This was an important read. Please read it
Dear Martin is exactly what we need in a time where many people in our country just don’t understand why Black people still feel disenfranchised enough to “take a knee” in 2017. Dear Martin is a real glimpse into real issues.
The writing is so real and relatable from the very first page you are drawn into Justyce’s world and you’re shocked and pissed off with him so you’re rooting for him to win. The pace of the book is that of your favorite drama TV show. You won’t want to stop until the end. The connection to Dr. King is a brilliant way to tie in issues and themes of the past to now.
If you’re a teacher, you want this book. If you’re a student you need this book. If you’re a person living in a America and you don’t understand why this issue is so important, you need this book. Nic Stone kicked down the door with this debut novel.
Top international reviews
This book was a punch in the gut. I'm impressed by how hard it could hit in such a small amount of pages. This is also applicable to the characters, whom all felt very real, despite there being little setup or pages to develop them. It's a very powerful book, partially because of that. It's a quick read that'll hit you hard, and I encourage everyone to read this.
In my opinion (again: not really the person you should listen to, why am I even writing this part?) the book dealt with race incredibly well. It's great to see the voice and point of view of a young black boy, as we so rarely get that perspective. It has intersectionality, internalised issues, police brutality, racial profiling, it's obvious that no group is monolith and it always stays both nuanced and true to itself. I loved seeing how Justyce, and to a lesser extent Manny, struggle with comments, knowing how to handle them, with being seen as "too sensitive" or "too aggressive." This also made room for some great black male role models and/or mentors, like Doc (whose character I really liked), Manny's father and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I loved that Jus had people to look up to, to go to with questions. That success and struggles were present in those people too, and with that the knowledge that things were possible, but also the reality that things were and would be difficult.
I absolutely loved the idea of letters to Martin Luther King (and that he appeared in the acknowledgements). The formatting of the letters along with the dialogue in transcripts made it very refreshing to read and made it possible to show that much more aspects and sides of the complex situations that Justyce was in.
Jared and his friends were so incredibly well-written I wanted to throw something at them multiple times. I'm glad for SJ (who's Jewish) to bring a bit more balance, to stand up for things she believed in, for being an ally and taking some of the fire (and spitting it out). I also thought it was great that there was a scene in which she recognised she did something wrong and apologised for speaking for Justyce.
One thing that did bug me slightly was comments along the lines of "you sound like such a girl right now." This happened multiple times and always threw me off because it was (as I remember) hardly ever called out. I felt like that was a missed chance, especially considering that at the start of the book, when talking about equality, SJ talks about how women are not equal to men yet whilst we should be. Those comments are the reason it isn't quite a five-star read.
A final note to say that this book, whilst it has similarities to The Hate U Give, is important, good and definitely worth reading also if you have already read THUG. They're both strong, important and well-written. They're both about racism, but they're different books, deal with things differently. Have other nuances, other voices, and saying "I already read one book dealing with racism so I'll pass this one up" is a pretty shitty thing to do if you don't mind reading more than one summer contemporary, for instance. (However, the book is heavy due to the topic, so if that makes it too difficult or triggering to read, that's another story.)
Oh, and on the topic of important books dealing with race, put Tyler Johnson Was Here on your list and buy it when it releases.