Trigger Warnings: death, racism, violence
Release Date: October 17th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers.
Goodreads Review: here
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.
R A M B L E
I’m not sure if I’ll ever have words for how amazing this book is. I read it while moving and wow. I simply had to sit down and continue reading no matter what I was doing. There were no if, buts, maybes about it. I had to read this book. It was a book that forced me to recognise both the privilege and prejudice in my own life. I’m white and my family really isn’t well off, but I have been given many opportunities throughout my life that needs to be recognised.
Living in Australia it is pretty much common knowledge that our country is racist. It may not be to the extreme of America due to our strict gun laws but there is a lot of hatred towards the indigenous and others who come to this country and aren’t white. Which is ridiculous.
Books like Dear Martin are eye-opening for someone like me who lives on the other side of the world. I obviously know the hate crimes that go on throughout America, they usually play on our news too. I also have studied Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in high school, with an amazing teacher, so I am not completely unaware. However, knowing about these events and hearing about the experiences are so very different.
I would place Dear Martin as a book that deserves as much praise as The Hate U Give. It is truly spectacular. I’m sure there will be some reviews that talk about how the world isn’t like this and police officers don’t do things that are written in this book but I don’t think people realise that police officers are just people and wow some are really fucked up. I mean, police officers can fuck up real bad. Some are terrible people. They kidnap, rape, be cannibals and are able to get away with it because they’re on the case. Why is it so hard to believe that a police officer could be a racist?
I think I really took advantage of the name of that section being called ramble so it’s probably time to move on. But, to summarise, this book is truly eye-opening. It doesn’t beat around the bush and it captures the true feelings of so many individuals.
P L O T
I didn’t have much of an idea of what the plot would be when I started reading Dear Martin. I didn’t read the blurb. I just saw people talking about it on Twitter and it was the best way to jump into it for me. However, I did think the main characters name was Martin for a solid three chapters that really messed up my brain. I quickly rectified this, obviously.
However, the story of Dear Martin follows teenage boy Justyce as he sees the world in a new way after being arrested for trying to help his ex-girlfriend get home safely. His mind is suddenly opened to a world of possibilities as he realises the racism many of his fellow peers have. His story only gets harder as the book continues and I had to stop reading a few times to really absorb what was happening throughout the book.
I particularly liked the addition of the story where Justyce writes letters to Martin Luther King. He takes on a mentality of trying to do what Martin would do in his situation. How would he deal with the trials and tribulations of a teen facing racism in a modern day era? I found the letters Justyce wrote to Martin really added another heart-wrenching element to the book. As well as all the amazing characters, even the parents were awesome in this book.
At some stages I got a tad lost on what was happening since the writing style was a tad jerky in some ways. It would jump time frames quite quickly and since I was quite busy the day I read Dear Martin I had to go back and re-read sections.
Oh also, I should briefly mention the romance, I liked it. Something that’s shocking considering how many books I’ve read recently where the romance has been a drag for me. However, SJ and Justyce really worked well together for me.
C H A R A C T E R S
#J U S T Y C E
Justyce was a character I instantly liked. That is pretty rare for me, especially with a male lead. However, his voice throughout the novel was completely identifiable and continuously interesting. It also didn’t read as a woman attempting to write a male as well.
I both enjoyed and hated seeing Justyce grow throughout this novel. I loved it because it 1. Showed the complexity of the authors writing and 2. Really drew you into the novel. I hated it because of why he had to grow. The poor guy couldn’t catch a break no matter what he did. Just when it seemed like life would be a bit easier for him it only amplified his struggles.
I was glad throughout this novel Justyce had a good network of both friends and family members that were ready to support him. In many novels, we don’t even get hints of that, but I really feel like it was important to Dear Martin to show unity.
O V E R A L L
Overall, put Dear Martin on your TBR’s and make sure you read it before the year is up. This book equally deserves the amount of success that The Hate U Give received.
Happy reading everyone!
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