15 February 2018

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 210
Publication: October 17th, 2017
Source: Library Copy
Genre: Realistic Fiction
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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 was one hell of a book. I wish I would have read it as soon as it came out last year but I'm glad I got to it this year. It was AMAZING. It was relatively difficult not to compare it to The Hate U Give as both books covered information related to the Blacks Lives Matter movement; however what I enjoyed about this book was the character perspective or point of view. It was refreshing in more ways than not to gain the perspective of a black teenage male.

As a black woman, I've been told by my father many times that he has found living in America tricky. There are situations that he has encountered that he felt like he wouldn't have encountered had he not been a black male. He also always tells me that he has to prepare my brother in ways that he didn't have to prepare me because I'm not a black male. I never really understood that insight until I read this book. While the Hate U Give heavily focuses on the perspective of a black female experience police brutality, and racism, this book is told through the eyes of a black male. There are things and thoughts that are discussed that I never would have noticed or given much thought because of my own personal experiences. This book definitely defines the fear that some black parents have raising a black son and how certain aspects or lifestyles of their children can be used against them in situations like those discussed in this book. I must admit I was angry reading this book because things like this happen everyday. Not necessarily talking about the violence and police profiling but the simple remarks and comments that people can make out of ignorance. For example, I was really irritated by Jared. He thought that the world we live in today is color blind. He couldn't be more wrong and it frustrated me because he didn't understand his own privilege especially when it came to getting a good education. When I was in high school I applied to several prestigious institutions and I'll never forget that my own counselor felt as though I only got into those schools because they needed to fill a quota. Mind you I was a well rounded student, was ranked number seven out of over five hundred students, did community service, and was highly involved in school activities. Nevertheless, all he saw was color and the fact that a black student was some how getting into well known and regarded colleges and universities. Although this may be a work of fiction, these things happen on a daily basis. It is the every day reality of some people including myself.

This book had so much to offer in such a small amount of pages. There were parts of this book that I didn't see coming. Specifically those parts towards the end of the book. It was shocking and heartbreaking but well written. While I don't think it had as much beauty as The Hate U Give, Dear Martin is a powerful novel in its own right and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is another book I'll be adding to my collection. If you have read The Hate U Give then I recommend picking up this novel next.

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.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @getnicced or on her website nicstone.info.


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