Dear Martin - Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In that media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

If you've read The Hate U Give or All American Boys, then you'll definitely want to get your hands on this book. What I love about all three is that they are all different, even if they all hinge on a similar focal point (i.e. police brutality). While AAB offers first person perspectives from a young white man and a young black man, and THUG gives us the perspective of a young black woman, Dear Martin offers some really necessary perspectives on what it's like to be black and have issues of class intersect. 

Jus and his friend Manny are both black, but Manny comes from an upper class background and hangs out with a group of privileged young white men, at least until Justyce points out the problems inherent in that friendship after a number of racist comments. The breaking point comes when the group goes out for Halloween and one of the boys dresses up in a KKK outfit and is confronted by gang members at a party. Through a series of terrible events and wrong-place, wrong-time situations, Jus is forced to confront a lot of assumptions and pre-conceived notions before finding himself looking down the barrel of a gun, and later being interrogated on the witness stand. 

There is a sense of urgency and injustice throughout the book that will keep readers hoping for Jus to come out on top and also wondering which way the justice system will force him. There is a lot going on for such a short book, but Stone pulls it off with great skill. I would not have pegged this for a debut novel had I not been told ahead of time.

Highly Recommended

(NOTE: This review is from and Advance Reader's Copy - Out Oct. 17, 2017)


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