First of all I wanted to thank the publisher, Random House Children’s, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release date: 17th October 2017
My rating: ★★★★✩
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, and has great prospects for college. But when he is put into handcuffs by a cop just because he is Black, and was trying to help his drunk ex girlfriend go home, he is hit by the reality of things: people will always judge him because of his skin colour. He starts writing letters to Dr King, to help clear his mind, and try to make good decisions.
Things escalate when the cop who arrested him is killed by his best friend’s cousin. Things escalate even more when he and Manny are caught into an altercation just because they were playing loud music in their car.
And there is Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous (and white) debate partner with whom he is spending more and more time until he realises he might have a thing for her.
This book has been compared with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas in the sense that it was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, so if you liked it, I would definitely recommend you read this one as well. This book was extremely powerful. An eye opener. And I think, actually, that everyone should read it.
The story is told through different media, first through a more classical narrative, mixed between Justyce’s letters to Martin Luther King, and finally, some extracts from the press. I thought it was a rather original way of telling the story, and it really matched the important themes. I thought it was quite fitting and overall, the novel is very well written. This is Nic Stone’s first novel, and she really achieved something amazing here. My only regret is that I wished it had been longer.
As to the story itself, it mixed prejudices at school, Black Lives Matter and unarmed teens unfairly shot by the police, as well as touches of interracial love, and all of this was well executed. I really liked both Sarah Jane and Justyce’s character, they felt very realistic and human.
As for the issues raised in this book, as long as they exist, they will never be talked about enough. It is very important to educated ourselves and raise awareness, and I believe this book does so in a very delicate, moving and accurate way, which is why I definitely recommend you check it out as soon as it is released, or as soon as you get the opportunity to do so!
At the same time, it is also a harsh coming of age story, with a character full of good intentions, who just has life getting in the way all the time, and still manages to keep his head out of the water. It was very interesting, but also heartbreaking to see Justyce grow through this story.
Another character important to the story that I wanted to discuss is Jared, your typical rich white boy, who believes equality has been achieved, when it comes to both racism and feminism. He is the perfect example of people who can get on my nerves in real life. If you read this book, he will probably make you think of someone you know. His main argument being that his friend Manny’s family his richer than his own family, so he just takes that and concludes that equality has been achieved. And that, my friend, is wrong. But was also a very clear, realistic depiction of society once again.
This book points out lots of things that are wrong in our society, and it does so extremely accurately. It is a well deserved reminder that we still have a lot to do to set things right. I hope you check it out, and enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know your thougts on this book & my review if you feel like it! ♥