Dear Martin by Nic Stone
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.
What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said. Dear Martin is one of those books that everyone should read. Especially teens. Just like The Hate U Give, I think it should be required reading in schools. Every school. But especially in schools that are mostly African American. Those teens need to see themselves in a book like this. Something to help them realize that they are not alone. If you can find a way to help that happen, please do so. I helped by donating to a classroom for the teacher to buy this book for her students. Even if you can’t donate, please help spread the word. This is just another book that is so important.
Dear Martin is a book about a boy, Justyce, who starts writing letters to Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s not entirely sure why, but he thinks that it will help him. Justyce is frustrated by the way things are and wants to be more like Martin. But this is a hard thing to achieve with the way his life is going. Justyce is extremely smart and goes to a private school with mostly white kids. He has a best friend, Manny, and they hang out with some other guys that Manny is close to. But those same kids say racist things and like many white people, they truly believe that we all have equal rights now. They don’t understand how much harder it can be for a black kid to make it now. Or what it’s like to be profiled because of their skin color.
Justyce has a run in with a cop that just sets off this entire chain of horrible events for him. He is struggling with his feelings and what he should do. He does have some help from one incredible teacher and his debate partner, SJ. Things just keep getting worse and he and Manny get shot by an off duty cop. The media and defense attorney decide to dig up as much dirt as they can and try to make Justyce and Manny out to be thugs. It’s almost impossible to get the truth out.
One of my favorite quotes was from Justyce’s last letter to Dr. King.
“If nothing ever changes, what type of man am I gonna be? Chewing on that over the past few days, I’ve started to wonder if maybe my experiment failed because I was asking the wrong damn question.
Every challenge I’ve faced, it’s been What would Martin do? and I could never come up with a real answer. But if I go with Doc’s thinking-Who would Martin Be?-well, that’s easy: you’d be yourself. THE eminent MLK: nonviolent, not easily discouraged, and firm in your beliefs.
And maybe that’s my problem: I haven’t really figured out who I cam or what I believe yet.”
I really loved how the story ended, too. It gives me hope that people can change and learn from their past behaviors and maybe make a difference in the world.
I gave this one 5 stars. It was such a great read.
Have you read Dear Martin yet? What are some other important books that you would recommend? I also loved The Hate U Give and Long Way Down. I would recommend both of those.