Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin

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...

Title:Dear Martin
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Dear Martin Reviews

  • Ava

    Holy fucking shit I loved this book so much.

    DEAR MARTIN is a masterpiece. There's simply no other way to describe it. It's a work of art that will leave you breathless and sobbing and unable to stop thinking about it.

    I'm amazed by how well-done everything is: the characters, the story, the writing, the cover, the plot twists...It fully deserves 5 stars, and I wish I could give it more.

    When this book releases, there's no excuse for not reading it. You simply have to. If you like contemporary? R

    Holy fucking shit I loved this book so much.

    DEAR MARTIN is a masterpiece. There's simply no other way to describe it. It's a work of art that will leave you breathless and sobbing and unable to stop thinking about it.

    I'm amazed by how well-done everything is: the characters, the story, the writing, the cover, the plot twists...It fully deserves 5 stars, and I wish I could give it more.

    When this book releases, there's no excuse for not reading it. You simply have to. If you like contemporary? Read it. If you don't like contemporary? Still read it. This is a book for EVERYONE, and it's a book that deserves every bit of the pre-publication praise it's gathering.

    Reread 9/10/17, because I couldn't help it.

  • Cait (Paper Fury)

    And so

    ...it literally arrived in the mail and I nearly lost it in the packaging. But while I do have some quibbles about the size, ultimately I think it's AMAZING that 200 pages can pack this massive punch.

    And as the author's note says, it's:

    Which was SO grea

    And so

    ...it literally arrived in the mail and I nearly lost it in the packaging. But while I do have some quibbles about the size, ultimately I think it's AMAZING that 200 pages can pack this massive punch.

    And as the author's note says, it's:

    Which was SO great to read and learn about.

    He's like just doing his best and he's super smart and the world just kicks him down. I also liked how he's on the brink of graduation, because it's really nice reading about teens who know what they're doing (HE'S GOING TO YALE) and are off to like change the world. Like, go Justyce. I really admire this dude.

    It's going to thump you in the feels. And the court case scene totally blew me away with how unfair and tangled it was...but like the

    . This book is full of intelligence and it's super well written!

    You know how hard it is to find books in this style?!? I'm happpppy.

    I missed out on all the details, the mannerisms, the facial quirks, the smells and sights and tastes. The book is probably 80% straight dialogue? (Often in like a screen-writing format.) So I LIKED that, but (for me personally) I prefer writing that fleshes out the world as well. This also made a lot of the secondary characters are to "get to know" because we just see their dialogue and that's it.

    But hey. I love dialogue also!!

    The world needs to change and I'm so glad #ownvoices authors are putting their stories out there to make a difference. It tackles racism and classism head on and it's full of unfairness and character development and letters and hope. <3

  • Emily May

    For some, it sounds like the kind of dystopian world inspired by

    . A dark, dystopian future where young men are

    . Imagine trying to live your life with the constant knowledge that you could be murdered for… wearing the wrong clothes… looking “shady”… or having the wrong colour skin. Imagine living this nightmare and STILL being told that it doesn’t happen anymore. That everyone is equal and, actually, YOU are given an advantage by affirmative ac

    For some, it sounds like the kind of dystopian world inspired by

    . A dark, dystopian future where young men are

    . Imagine trying to live your life with the constant knowledge that you could be murdered for… wearing the wrong clothes… looking “shady”… or having the wrong colour skin. Imagine living this nightmare and STILL being told that it doesn’t happen anymore. That everyone is equal and, actually, YOU are given an advantage by affirmative action programs.

    . Maybe it’s not a world I am forced to deal with. Or you. Or you over there. But it’s the world many black Americans face every day.

    introduces us to Justyce - a strong and important voice in YA. There are so few YA books with POC narrators and especially lacking are those with non-white teen boys, so this book is particularly needed. Through third person narration alternating with Justyce's letters to Martin Luthor King Jr., we get insight into some of the experiences had by black teenage boys.

    For those looking for books to complement

    , this is a good place to start. While

    looks at the shooting of unarmed black men and boys through the eyes of a female witness,

    instead offers what it is like to be one of those racially-profiled black men.

    It is not just about shooting, though. This book explores smaller but deeply hurtful acts of racially-charged aggression, such as the anger held by white students over affirmative action programs. Or the demand to "stop being so sensitive" in the face of race-related jokes. It is especially interesting when the author also considers the animosity Justyce receives from the black boys in his neighbourhood. He finds himself torn between the need to be true to his roots and his desire to succeed in a world that demands he play the white man's game to get ahead.

    All that being said,

    . While many complex issues are considered, some aspects are simplistic and lacking in nuance. Justyce is an unquestionably nice, well-mannered boy who wants to follow in the “moral high ground” footsteps of MLK. While it is important to deconstruct the aggressive thug stereotype associated with young black men, teens this mild-mannered and uncomplicated are hard to believe in. I was a shy bookworm and even I had more bite than Justyce.

    In contrast, all of the racism is very overt. The cops all stomp around punching black guys in the face and using the n-word, while Justyce's white classmates are so stupidly and openly racist to the point where one of them thinks it's funny to go to a party dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member. Does this level of abhorrent behaviour happen? Absolutely! But the real problem we face today is more insidious, more subtle, hiding behind a "I just feared for my life, your honour". In reality, it is much more complex than good vs. bad where the bad wears a white hood and shouts racist insults. That is why young black men are so at risk and their murderers so likely to escape justice - because the most dangerous racists no longer wear the t-shirt.

    I would have also liked to see

    . I wouldn't say it's glorified, but it is never addressed when Manny, a black boy, says he dislikes black girls because he’s never met any that aren’t ghetto and full of attitude. Seems like a strange message to send out in a book of this kind.

    But the good definitely outweighs the bad. Problems aside, this is a short, quick read that packs a huge punch. I feel like I'll be thinking about it for a long time.

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  • sana  °¤°

    This book is so powerful and moving.

    This book is literally one of the best I've read in ages and deserves equal amount of hype as

    . I cannot stress how much people need to read this book!

    RTC!

    ////

    buddy read with my most favoritest son

    ever!!!

    I want a good read and I know for a fact this will be a fabulous read!!

  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)

    There’s honestly not much else to

    about this book. Despite being incredibly short, I think

    and hatred and prejudice. It’s hard to write a book that makes a reader

    , but reading this book just made me feel like I was being punched in the gut, over and over. This was just so emotionally

    . While the characters may not get many specific traits, they all feel so much like real people.

    There’s honestly not much else to

    about this book. Despite being incredibly short, I think

    and hatred and prejudice. It’s hard to write a book that makes a reader

    , but reading this book just made me feel like I was being punched in the gut, over and over. This was just so emotionally

    . While the characters may not get many specific traits, they all feel so much like real people.

    Where this book truly exceeds, though, is the thematics. I love the discussions of I specifically loved the emphasis on Justyce's feeling like a

    Holy shit, this is the

    feeling as marginalized person. It's like your personhood is being taken away. You are nothing but your race, your gender, your sexuality; to your friends, to your enemies, to your teachers. You are there to be a political pawn. You are there to be a counterexample. None of your opinions are your own - they are your group's opinions, because

    I'd also utterly second my friend Destiny's

    as to the themes of internalized racism.

    I feel like

    , and can I just say:

    . They're both fantastic and important books, but they deal with different facets of racism and in different ways.

    deals with cop killings, yes, but I'd argue that it focuses more on how to stand up in a society filled with subtle systematic racism. Meanwhile,

    focuses on toxic masculinity and what it's like to be stereotyped as a drug dealer. Both have slightly different focuses when discussing racism, both are very different books, and yet

    Give them both a try.

    It wasn't quite a five star book for me;

    , in particular. After a heartbreaking first couple chapters, the middle section was far more meditative and the romance was somewhat bland. But in the end, it all works to the book's advantage.

    . I truly felt so much towards the end. And in fact, the ending of this book is one of the best book endings I have ever read. It is so full of

    - hope for change, hope for continued life, hope for us to continue growing as people and as nations. A lot of the changes we can make in the future

    to be guided along by people in positions of privilege. We need to be here.

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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    First and foremost, let me tell you that this is one of the most

    stories that I have ever had the mixed pleasure and heartache of reading. Justyce's story is one of societal racism, police brutality, toxic masculinity, and privilege. His letters to Martin Luther King, Jr. beautifully depict the pain and difficulty that comes with being a black individual in the United States today.

    It is so incredibly intersectional and finds a way to address so many talking points that many of my peers - of all ages - could benefit from seeing through this book's lens. No matter your political stance, I would highly encourage every single person to pick up a copy of

    and go into it with your eyes and mind as wide open as possible.

    Something exceptionally interesting to me about Nic Stone's writing in this book is her decision to address not only racism, but also the mindset that some individuals in the black community have regarding themselves and other POC. There is a lot of explanation given for how, in a nutshell, once a group of people have been put down over and over for so long, in such painful ways, and have been shown that no amount of effort they can put forth will be recognized as equal, it can be easy to feel defeated and hopeless - sometimes to the point of giving up.

    Justyce's reaction to his unlawful arrest, and the ways that his privileged, wealthy white classmates treat him, broke my heart. He becomes so hopeless at times. Despite being incredibly brilliant and hard-working, Jus questions his own worth at points, asking, "Am I ever going to get anywhere? Is this battle worth fighting?"

    What may have been the most painful aspect of reading

    for me, was watching the way his so-called "friends" treated him. The microaggressions escalated steadily to blatant cruelty, and so much of it looked so familiar to things

    saw and heard people say firsthand, growing up in the Atlanta metro. I'm so ashamed to say this, but there were even comments that I remembered making similar assumptions to as a young teen, and seeing it on paper like that brutally reminded me of how many people

    have hurt with my carelessness in years past.

    One of many topics Nic Stone handled beautifully was the portrayal of gangs, and the reasoning for why so many teens get sucked into them: at the root of many gangs lies a family, something to hold on to and to protect yourself with. In a society that has ceaselessly attacked the individuals it deems "other", is it any surprise that individuals like Justyce's childhood friend would seek solace in gangs?

    The entire gang discussion in

    also highlights some serious struggles with toxic masculinity and the way it can effect young people in particular, leading young men to believe that proving their worth means violence, aggression, etc. While it's not a topic that is focused on very clearly in this book, it's worth mentioning.

    Among other less-discussed topics in the book, there's time taken to dive into sexism (like Justyce's frequent remarks to Manny that he is "such a girl", which is later challenged), misogynoir and internalized racism (as Justyce's best friend, Manny, admits that he struggles to find black women attractive, and goes on to categorize them stereotypically and unfairly), and discrimination and how it can impact both sides (Justyce has a crush on his best friend - a Jewish girl named SJ - but refuses to pursue it due to his mother's insistence that no black son of hers should have anything to do with a white girl).

    There's also a heavy line of discussion about police brutality, which we get to see somewhat from both sides: Justyce wonders if one cop's racism is influenced by having seen his partner shot by a black teen months prior - blame is never 100% placed on either side, and nobody's actions are justified. As a result of police brutality, Justyce's best friend's father joins a protest group (seemingly similar to Black Lives Matter), and is forced to resign from his management position as a result of being seen with "those people". I know that BLM and police brutality is a hot topic of controversy here in the states lately, and I thought Nic Stone made her points flawlessly.

    This quote in particular was what finally broke me in

    . I have grown so weary of individuals claiming that marginalized groups - particularly black individuals - don't protest "the right way". If they stand silent, it's wrong. If they kneel, it's wrong. If they wear t-shirts and hold signs, it's wrong. This is so incredibly relevant to the turmoil facing our nation today, and at a certain point, you

    to wake up and realize:

    I feel like there's so much more that I could say about

    . I'm sitting here with tears streaking down my cheeks, and all I want to do is say any combination of the right words to convince you to pick this book up, to lose yourself in this story the way I did. To go into it with open eyes and to

    from Nic Stone's experiences. If there could ever be a contemporary title that I could convince you to get a copy of, let it be

    racism, police brutality, violence, death, misogyny/misogynoir.

    You can find this review and more on my

    !

  • Cri (Addictedtobookss)

  • Lola  Reviewer

    This is actually a book I would recommend teachers order for their schools to make their students read.

    Because it doesn't simply tell a story; it introduces the reader to various important equality-related topics and values.

    Note the word ''introduces''. It will not go into extreme length about, for instance, affirmative action, but it will talk about it in a way that makes the reader understand easily and then want to talk about it themselves by using their own examples.

    Martin Luther King is som

    This is actually a book I would recommend teachers order for their schools to make their students read.

    Because it doesn't simply tell a story; it introduces the reader to various important equality-related topics and values.

    Note the word ''introduces''. It will not go into extreme length about, for instance, affirmative action, but it will talk about it in a way that makes the reader understand easily and then want to talk about it themselves by using their own examples.

    Martin Luther King is someone who is mentioned at least once by every teacher you'll encounter, especially your Humanities ones. Not to be confused with Martin Luther, who is a very different historical figure. Although they are both heroes, if I do say so myself.

    But the reason Doctor King is such an important topic, still today, is because of his decision to fight injustice with love and peace. Kill them unjust laws with kindness. Our main character, Justyce, studies Doctor King in order to understand his own life better.

    But it isn't always easy to keep one's anger in control and show a smile when it seems that there is nothing worth fighting for anymore. What's the point, if nothing ever changes? So Justyce has a tumultuous journey in front of him.

    Be there with him.

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  • Romie

    Such a small book, and yet so impactful.

    Do you ever just start a book and think ‘Oh you, you’re going to be a favourite’? Because that’s exactly what I felt when I opened this book and read the first chapter. By the second I was crying, and smiling, laughing, and in so much pain.

    This book is mostly about Justyce, a seventeen-year-old black boy, trying to understand where he stands in his own life, what is opinion on racial inequalities is, what does it mean for him to be black in this white supr

    Such a small book, and yet so impactful.

    Do you ever just start a book and think ‘Oh you, you’re going to be a favourite’? Because that’s exactly what I felt when I opened this book and read the first chapter. By the second I was crying, and smiling, laughing, and in so much pain.

    This book is mostly about Justyce, a seventeen-year-old black boy, trying to understand where he stands in his own life, what is opinion on racial inequalities is, what does it mean for him to be black in this white supremacist world. And it sucks. So much. Because he’s surrounded by these white ‘I don’t see colour’ dudes who think racial inequalities don’t exist anymore and can’t even realise they benefit of white privileges.

    Justyce is a complex character, he goes through such an important journey throughout this book : going from this ‘let’s do anything to be integrated’ kid to this ‘I’m done being someone I’m not’ one. And it’s so heartbreaking to witness this journey, because Justyce has to face such a harsh reality, it hurts him every single of it.

    
The moment that really changes everything for him is when he’s handcuffed fore helping his drunk ex-girlfriend to sit in her car … and a cop assumes he’s carjacking. Because he’s black and wearing a hoodie. How fucked up is that? He’s automatically assumed threatening because of his skin colour, don’t tell me we’re all equals because that’s bullshit and you know it. Justyce knows it, every single people of colour me included know it, so why is it so hard for a huge number — if not the majority — of white people to understand there is an actual problem going on and it won’t get better until they start opening their eyes? I’m not sorry for being harsh in my words, because the really is harsher, and I’m not there to make racist people feel comfortable. None of us are.

    This book has a lot of extremely interesting side characters, and I have to admit my two favourites were SJ and Doc. SJ is this white Jewish girl, she’s so fierce and head-strong, she’s aware of her privileges and uses them to make this fucked up world a better place. Doc is a biracial teacher, and he gives the best advices, you could just write them all on post-its and put them on your walls because trust me you need them. But there is also this one character I didn’t expect to end up liking : Jared. Asshole Jared. Mr-I’m-better-than-you-because-I’m-white Jared. It’s interesting to see how something awful that happens in this book affects him for the better. But people of colour shouldn’t have to suffer for white people to open their eyes and start acting like decent people.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    This was short, but REALLY powerful and

    important. It was refreshing to see a male PoC as the narrator in a YA book, too! And the comparison to The Hate U Give is inevitable, but I don't think it needs to be any sort of contest. Both of these books are amazing. They both focus on police brutality & racism, but this one does take a different approach and weaves in some very important questions of toxic masculinity, sexism, and identity.

    First of all, I'm obviously white and realllllly can'

    This was short, but REALLY powerful and

    important. It was refreshing to see a male PoC as the narrator in a YA book, too! And the comparison to The Hate U Give is inevitable, but I don't think it needs to be any sort of contest. Both of these books are amazing. They both focus on police brutality & racism, but this one does take a different approach and weaves in some very important questions of toxic masculinity, sexism, and identity.

    First of all, I'm obviously white and realllllly can't speak on some of the important discussions covered in this book. (Exhibit A: a white classmate points out that

    ). I'd say to check out some #ownvoices reviews & posts -- let me know in the comments if you have one I can link to! I'll just say that it was a powerful read for me and I think this is a book that should be available in high school classrooms for sure.

    My favorite part was probably Justyce's letters to Martin Luther King Jr spread throughout the story because they really strengthened his character's voice. I loved him!! Justyce seemed like a really sweet & realistic teen. I loved how there was such a strong message of hope and humanity in some really heavy areas, too. The story was painful to read and I actually teared up at the complete unfairness (ok that word seems like a massive understatement)... it's all SO well done. It's the kind of book that gets you fired up to see some serious change asap, yet also makes you want to just sit there hugging it for highlighting so many things that desperately needed to be said in media like YA.

    I did kind of wish that the white cops and idiotic classmates hadn't been such simplified caricatures, though, because that took some potential impact out of the story for me. Their actions were beyond horrible but seemed more like a cartoon version of "bad" at times and didn't entirely blend with the complexity of the rest of the story. But that's a very minor detail. What is there is still a very strong plot that I completely recommend to teachers, librarians, and... well,

    I can't wait to see what Nic Stone does next!

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me a finished copy.


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