Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
“You can’t change how other people think and act, but you’re in full control of you.”
― Nic Stone,
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.
I am going to try and make this short and not go off into any discussions because I don’t have any intention in starting something or offend anyone because I know this book and the content is a hot topic. Being a white female I have no experience to even begin to have an understanding of what it is like to be a black male. Nic Stone created a story that allowed me to have a little more insight into what they face and their thoughts/feelings. I think it is very important, with all of the incidents and events that have been taking place in our country in the last few years, to educate and create those areas for dialog. The things that happen in Dear Martin are so real and so relevant to what is actually happening in society. It saddens me to all of the police brutality and the things that are taking place. I was in Baltimore during the riots after what had happened to Freddie Gray and that was really my first introduction to all that was going on. That is why a book like Dear Martin is so important for everyone to read and especially to be introduced to the younger generations. The topics of race and equality cause a lot of disagreements and is such a “taboo” thing to talk about. Even in the book Stone has the group of kids address these topics and much like how the conversation went in the class, that is how it is happening in our society. Although I will still never know what it is like to be in Justyce’s shoes, I thought Stone did an amazing job in really describing Justyce’s emotions, thoughts and feelings. I think this is how changes begin to be made, if someone has never gone through something, or something doesn’t happen directly to them they sometimes don’t pay attention to what else is going on to other. I was able to gain some more knowledge and insight that I greatly appreciate Stone sharing through the voice of Justyce. ( I hope this comes out right,I had a hard time trying to put my thoughts into words.)
Now onto the rest of the book. I have to say this is one of the first books I have read that is from a young mans point of view that shows them being so much more than the brooding/bad boy/ love interest. Justyce showed vulnerability and was so real. He had his flaws, but he had to deal with some real life situations and really thought about his actions. Obviously there were some problematic situations that took place and it was interesting to see how those different situations were handled by Justyce and what he shared with Martin. I really enjoyed that there were some great adults present and loved the role they played in the overall story. I did have a couple issues with the format in which parts of the book were told (I listened to the audiobook so that might be the reason) I also felt like it was too fast, there were some areas that could have been more developed.
Overall I found this to be an extremely moving book. It was a story filled with real life, relationships, hard topics and deep raw emotion. I thought Justyce was an amazing character and really enjoyed his development and his thoughts and sharing with Martin. He came to some conclusions and learned a lot. I flew through this book and did not walk away with dry eyes. This was a real, honest and thought provoking book.