Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Publication Date: October 2017
Two Sentence Synopsis: High school senior Justyce McAllister starts a personal project writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He navigates his way through racial politics as he stands up to his classmates and experiences tragedy first-hand.
Review: I loved this book. Much like The Hate U Give, I think Dear Martin is an incredibly important book to read, especially with everything going on in the world right now with race relations and racial politics. As a white woman, I will never experience anything like what Justyce does in this book, but it helps broaden my horizons and become a better ally. I also think it’s incredibly important to have literature with visible PoC playing important roles. Not only does it give PoC readers characters like themselves, which is the most important thing, but it also gives white readers the chance to see a more diverse and true-to-life cast.
When I read this book I couldn’t put it down no matter how hard I tried. I think I finished it in less than a day. I really enjoyed the writing style with including Justyce’s letters to Dr. King throughout the novel in addition to traditional storytelling. The letters gave deeper insight into Justyce’s thoughts and feelings about specific events in his life. His characterization jumps off the page and you wish you could reach out and give him a hug for all the things he goes through. He seems like a good, smart young man who is trying his hardest to navigate life with the hand that was dealt to him and speak out against injustices.
Much like The Hate U Give, this book doesn’t shy away from very difficult topics and does become quite hard to read at times. The raw emotion that comes through and reading the news clippings of how the media re-writes the narrative to fit an “acceptable” story is really eye-opening.
I recommend everyone read this book. It’s such an important read. I hope it gains enough traction that one day soon it will be studied in school by students.