Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on October 17th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
My content rating: YA (Violence, including police violence; Nothing more than kissing; Language)
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.
This little book packs a powerful punch.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Perspective. The book is told from Justyce’s POV. He’s a black teenager living in a mostly white world (he goes to a boarding school) near the home he grew up in, which is in a black neighborhood. So the lens that he sees the world through is unique. He is relatable to many people—he can often see both sides of the story, which helps us to do so too.
- The struggle of identity. Of course, because of Justyce’s position, he has a hard time feeling at home anywhere. He can’t go back to being the kid he was in the neighborhood he grew up in, but he also doesn’t always feel like he fits at school. After a traumatic event where he’s treated unfairly, he starts to see things at school that he’d been blind to before. He suddenly can’t turn a blind eye to the little injustices that are done to him and other black people daily—he can’t stop seeing them, even though sometimes he wants to. I loved that this book had both black and white characters with positive and negatives traits (to varying degrees). The book doesn’t take a stand against one race or the other, but instead against the injustices that have perpetrated and the way we can easily go through life blind to them.
- Letters to Martin. Justyce writes to Martin Luther King, Jr. as he tries to process his confusion and sadness over events in the book. He wants to live a life that’s worthy of Martin (as he calls him). Knowing how to do that isn’t always simple, though.
- Prepare to have your heart broken. Just. Yeah. Be prepared.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. I’m struggling to think of anything I didn’t like about this book. At 200 pages, it’s short, but it still felt well-developed, and I think the length was an asset, not a drawback in this case. Any negatives I would name would be nitpicky.
This book is incredibly relatable, so it will appeal to a wide audience. It’s the type of book that opens eyes to a tough topic in a way that makes you think critically but doesn’t push for extremism. I truly believe it will open up conversations about race relations in the US in ways that can be nothing but beneficial.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via ALA Annual in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of DEAR MARTIN, US Only.
Please read Rules & Regs in Rafflecopter
10/16/2017- LILbooKlovers– Interview
10/17/2017- YA Bibliophile– Review
10/18/2017- Mama Reads Blog– Guest Post
10/19/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
10/20/2017- Eli to the nth– Excerpt
10/23/2017- Chasing Faerytales– Review
10/24/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Interview
10/25/2017- BookHounds YA– Review
10/26/2017- Novel Novice– Guest Post
10/27/2017- The Bookish Libra– Review
10/30/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review
10/31/2017- Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook– Interview
11/1/2017- Reese’s Reviews– Excerpt
11/2/2017- Novel Ink– Review
11/3/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post
11/6/2017- Amanda Gernentz Hanson– Review
11/7/2017- Lisa Loves Literature– Excerpt
11/8/2017- Feed Your Fiction Addiction– Review
11/9/2017- Lost in Ever After– Interview
11/10/2017- A Backwards Story– Review