Justyce has everything going for him. He's a top student with a gorgeous girlfriend, and he's headed for the debate State Finals and probably an Ivy League college. When Justyce gets arrested while he's trying to help someone else, he starts to see things in an entirely new light. He thought his choosing the "right path", leaving the rough neighborhood he grew up in, would prevent him from racial profiling. He thought that his demonstration of his academic abilities and commitment to school had pushed his peers beyond racial judgments. But now that he's been arrested, his whole world has come into a different focus. He begins writing letters to Martin Luther King, Jr., trying to channel his teachings and to infer the advice that the Civil Rights leader might have given him. But when he has another run-in with police and his story becomes news, he wonders if Dr. King's messages can override the ones that he is getting from the media and from the world.
Why It's Worth Reading:
There have been several excellent YA novels in the last few years that have focused on tragic interactions between black teenagers and police officers. Dear Martin fits right into the conversations already happening around The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely. What stands out most about this novel in particular is Justyce's clear and honest voice as he tries to process the differences between how outsiders may perceive him and how he sees himself. Between his letters to Martin and his candid conversations in a class called ***, Nic Stone gives Justyce the ability to explain in detail how it feels to be trying so hard to separate himself from certain stereotypes only to find out that he has been subject to those stereotypes regardless of his efforts. This is the aspect of the novel that makes it distinct from the others in its class, and it is the reason why people will clamor for it.
Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Awards/Accolades: 4 positive reviews with one starred review (that's after only 3 days!)
Do We Own a Copy?: Two
**Disclaimer - I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**