Review and Photos by Michele G.
(Crown BFYR – October 17, 2017)
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 book is a must read for everyone who is able. Not just kids, not just teens, but adults too. I had no idea what I had picked up off of the show floor and I am beyond thankful that I chose Dear Martin. This book is a contemporary look at what this young black male goes through simply because he is black. Justyce is a scholarship kid at a prep school on his way to the Ivy League. He does nothing wrong, yet gets profiled by police. The choice is always there for him to go back to his childhood neighborhood and join the notorious gang running the streets. He writes to MLK Jr. as a way to straighten out his thoughts and decide what he wants to stand for.
This book made me look at myself. What do I do when confronted with conflict? Am I fair to everyone? Do I assume things because of skin color? I know what I believe, but do I act accordingly? Would I ever have treated Justyce this way? When a book makes you reflect like this, it’s a must read. THIS IS A MUST READ. Now. Please go buy yours NOW. This book is still in my head weeks after I read it.
As a school librarian, I recommend this book for every student grades 7 and up. Younger students could read it as well, as the shocking scenes are just shocking, not grotesque. I would not be surprised to see this on school reading lists and curriculums in the coming years. Like I said, go buy your copy NOW.
This book belongs alongside The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Michele Green is a school library media technology specialist living in Wisconsin. Currently in her 12th year of teaching, Michele enjoys teaching both students and adults, watching them fall into reading, and helping them explore new technologies. Michele is the Vice President of WEMTA, the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association. She is passionate about her profession and connecting with others. At home, she is a proud mother of three readers and the happy wife of one non-reader (gasp!). You can find Michele on Instagram, Twitter, and her (only semi-active) blog.