Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

9:38 PM

Dear Martin by Nic Stone | Rating: ★★★★★

"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.

I need to pay more attention, Martin. Start really seeing stuff and writing it down. Figure out what to do with it. That's why I'm writing to you. You faced way worse shi--I mean stuff than sitting in handcuffs for a few hours, but you to stuck to your guns... well, your lack thereof, actually." 

It took a lot not to include the full, first letter that Dear Martin's Justyce writes. It took a lot not to include every few sentences.

The first thing you should know about Nic Stone's novel Dear Martin is that it is one of the most poignant stories you will read both this year and in your lifetime. If there is one thing for certain about Dear Martin, it's that the honesty in the story's examination of current events is so heart-wrenching and true-to-life, you're left feeling both moved and unsettled.

What Nic Stone has crafted here is literature at its finest. It is not a gentle story. As short as it is, it grips reader for all of its pages and will never let go. It is not one that is meant to coddle you. Dear Martin's lead character, Justyce, is a voice that was desperately needed in today's fiction.

In particular, today's YA fiction.

The novel tackles many all-to-prominent struggles of people of colour, each of which is isolating and horrifying. Racial profiling in both police brutality and the people you think you know; all of these subjects are at the forefront of Dear Martin. Nic Stone's format, the story being told partly in letters to Martin Luther King Jr., is ultimately what makes it so intimate. Every inch of this story--from the prose, to the divisions within the plots and format--is raw and emotionally charged.

In the tradition of other novels such as The Hate U Give and Candle in the Wind, Dear Martin teaches its audience to always remember. To always see. To question. To acknowledge right and wrong. To learn. To recognize privilege. Not a single moment of Justyce's story is wasted. This is a novel you will always remember.

Nic Stone has penned a novel that is surely a force of nature. From Justyce to Manny, to SJ, and all the in betweens, you will never forget these characters or their stories. Dear Martin goes down as one of the best young adult books to have ever grace our shelves. Unforgettable.

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