It’s so very rare that I give a book a 5 star rating. It really has to shake me to my core, make me question things, and be something that I believe everyone needs to read for me to rate a book 5 stars and then share a review about it with you.
Before I even begin, I need to tell you all – what you’ve been seeing on social media or review sites about it this book – it’s true. It’s an amazing read. In fact, if you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to buy a copy or grab it from your library, because this book is a game changer in young adult fiction. Trust me.
Dear Martin is a timely, important novel that everyone should read. This book should be required reading in all high schools across the country.
I knew that Dear Martin was the kind of book that made you think and feel a lot of different emotions even before I started reading, only I didn’t know it was going to be that good of a read.
Justyce has worked hard to get good grades, and he is attending a private and elite high school where he will get a good education and be able to head off to an Ivy League school when he graduates. He’s a good kid who doesn’t do anything that could get him into trouble or jeopardize his future – until one night when he was trying to help his ex-girlfriend, he is thrown into handcuffs by a cop because of his skin color.
“Last night changed me. I don’t wanna walk around all pissed off and looking for problems, but I know I can’t continue to pretend nothing’s wrong. Yeah, there are no more ‘colored’ water fountains, and it’s supposed to be illegal to discriminate, but if I can be forced to sit on the concrete in too-tight cuffs when I’ve done nothing wrong, it’s clear there’s an issue. That things aren’t as equal as folks say they are.”
He is confused, angry, and scared – and it doesn’t help that he goes to school with mostly white kids who have a very hard time understanding why he feels the way that he feels about this. So he takes to writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, trying to gauge what kind of reaction he would have to troubles that kids today face – and troubles that have been around for years.
As the book goes on, Justyce continues writing to Dr. King and talking about everything that is going on with him, including meeting a girl who he has feelings for – but his mother would never let him date, because she’s white.
Not only that, but when Justyce goes out for a drive with his best friend Manny and the two of them are gunned down by a white police officer, Justyce is faced with the aftermath of that inequality. Recovery of more than one type is a long and scary road, and Justyce tries to surround himself with people who understand – including Dr. King.
This is one of the most powerful books that I have read in my life – I’m not just talking about young adult. This is the kind of book that the world needs right now, and it’s the kind of book that’s just screaming its message out loud and clear, and everyone should have to stop and listen. It’s a beautiful book. It’s a heartbreaking book. It’s an important book that you need to read.
I devoured this book in one sitting, and I loved every page. I loved Justyce’s character – my heart hurt for him through everything he had to face, and it made me angry. This is the kind of thing that goes on every day in our world, and if you haven’t already noticed, this book will open your eyes and give you an experience you’ll never forget.
I don’t want to go into too much detail because this is the kind of book that is better experienced by the reader, so that nothing is spoiled and every part of it is as raw as it can be, pulling you in and never letting go.
So pick up a copy. Check it out of your library. Read it, then share it with families and friends. Go back and read it again. This is the ultimate must read book for 2017.
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of DEAR MARTIN, US Only.
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