[ARC Review] Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 17, 2017

[Read | Skim] [Buy | Borrow]

If you’ve been following I’ve decided to read 11 ARCs over 11 weeks. I am seriously behind in reading and reviewing them. The majority of the ARCs I receive are from work, but this one is not. I got this in a book trade. I’ve been wanting to read Dear Martin since before it came out.

Disclaimer: This review reflects my unbiased opinion and as a result I am not able to promise a wholly positive review. My apologies in advance.

Tw0-Sentence Summary:Dear Martin is rips off the band-aide and gives the reader a raw, unfiltered look into social injustice, police profiling, police brutality, race and racism in America. Stone lets the reader know in no uncertain terms that we are far from a post racial society.

What Popped: What didn’t? I loved how Stone interlaced the Dear Martin letters into the narrative. I loved that the rise and fall of the tension.

What Flopped: The one thing I didn’t particularly care for is that I didn’t really get why Justyce was writing the letters. I eventually got it, but not until pretty late in the novel.

My Thoughts: So, I read this book a few weeks ago and really had to process it. I didn’t think I would have such a hard time processing it, but I did.

Stone draws you into Dear Martin really fast. It’s fast paced captivating. I had no doubts that I would enjoy it but it far exceeded my expectations. The novel does not shy away from the fact that we need to have a conversation about race and race relations in this country. And Stone shows us that the problem with race is handed down, so-to-speak from generation to generation.

For example: Justyce’s mother doesn’t like white people and she views them as the enemy; which she impresses upon him. But he doesn’t see all white people as the enemy. He realizes that some are and some aren’t –  just like black people.

I loved Justyce and Sarah and was secretly rooting for them to get together. Justyce was all about doing right and being the best person that he could be; which is why he was so confused and hurt when a police officer handcuffed him and accused him of trying to steal his ex-girlfriends car. When in actuality all he was trying to do was get her home safely because she had had too much to drink. And Sarah, oh my gosh, is she a firecracker. She reminded me of me. Always fighting for the rights of the underdog. Calling into question the rules and the status quo.

Sarah is the loud voice of social justice/injustice. She has strong opinions and is not afraid to tell you what they are.

Perhaps my lease favorite character was Jared. Your stereo-typical privileged, rich white kid who thinks the world revolves around him. He brings up affirmative action when he discovers that Justyce has been accepted to Yale and his acceptance was deferred. Jared says that it “discriminates against members of the majority.” And that he when he sees a minority at whatever college he ends up in he’ll “wonder if they’re qualified to be there.” For some reason Jared sees himself as smarter and more qualified than a minority. He feels himself to be superior.

Favorite Quotes:

“Why try to do right if people will always look at me and assume wrong?” ~~Quan

It’s like I’m trying to climb a mountain, but I’ve got one fool trying to shove me down so I won’t be on his level, and another fool tugging at my leg, trying to pull me to the ground he refuses to level. ~~Justyce

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