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Dear Martin
Cover of Dear Martin
Dear Martin
by Nic Stone
"Powerful, wrenching." –John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down
"Raw and gripping." –JASON REYNOLDS, New York Times bestselling coauthor of All American Boys
"A must-read!" –ANGIE THOMAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning New York Times bestselling debut, a William C. Morris Award Finalist.

Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.
"Vivid and powerful." -Booklist, Starred Review

"A visceral portrait of a young man reckoning with the ugly, persistent violence of social injustice." -Publishers Weekly
"Powerful, wrenching." –John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down
"Raw and gripping." –JASON REYNOLDS, New York Times bestselling coauthor of All American Boys
"A must-read!" –ANGIE THOMAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning New York Times bestselling debut, a William C. Morris Award Finalist.

Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.
"Vivid and powerful." -Booklist, Starred Review

"A visceral portrait of a young man reckoning with the ugly, persistent violence of social injustice." -Publishers Weekly
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  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    720
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book chapter 1

    From where he's standing across the street, Justyce can see her: Melo Taylor, ex-­girlfriend, slumped over beside her Benz on the damp concrete of the FarmFresh parking lot. She's missing a shoe, and the contents of her purse are scattered around her like the guts of a pulled party popper. He knows she's stone drunk, but this is too much, even for her.

    Jus shakes his head, remembering the judgment all over his best friend Manny's face as he left Manny's house not fifteen minutes ago.

    The walk symbol appears.

    As he approaches, she opens her eyes, and he waves and pulls his earbuds out just in time to hear her say, "What the hell are you doing here?"

    Justyce asks himself the same question as he watches her try—­and fail—­to shift to her knees. She falls over sideways and hits her face against the car door.

    He drops down and reaches for her cheek—­which is as red as the candy-­apple paint job. "Damn, Melo, are you okay?"

    She pushes his hand away. "What do you care?"

    Stung, Justyce takes a deep breath. He cares a lot. Obviously. If he didn't, he wouldn't've walked a mile from Manny's house at three in the morning (Manny's of the opinion that Melo's "the worst thing that ever happened" to Jus, so of course he refused to give his boy a ride). All to keep his drunken disaster of an ex from driving.

    He should walk away right now, Justyce should.

    But he doesn't.

    "Jessa called me," he tells her.

    "That skank—­"

    "Don't be like that, babe. She only called me because she cares about you."

    Jessa had planned to take Melo home herself, but Mel threatened to call the cops and say she'd been kidnapped if Jessa didn't drop her at her car.

    Melo can be a little dramatic when she's drunk.

    "I'm totally unfollowing her," she says (case in point). "In life and online. Nosy bitch."

    Justyce shakes his head again. "I just came to make sure you get home okay." That's when it hits Justyce that while he might succeed in getting Melo home, he has no idea how he'll get back. He closes his eyes as Manny's words ring through his head: This Captain Save-­A-­Ho thing is gonna get you in trouble, dawg.

    He looks Melo over. She's now sitting with her head leaned back against the car door, half-­asleep, mouth open.

    He sighs. Even drunk, Jus can't deny Melo's the finest girl he's ever laid eyes—­not to mention hands—­on.

    She starts to tilt, and Justyce catches her by the shoulders to keep her from falling. She startles, looking at him wide-­eyed, and Jus can see everything about her that initially caught his attention. Melo's dad is this Hall of Fame NFL linebacker (biiiiig black dude), but her mom is from Norway. She got Mrs. Taylor's milky Norwegian complexion, wavy hair the color of honey, and amazing green eyes that are kind of purple around the edge, but she has really full lips, a small waist, crazy curvy hips, and probably the nicest butt Jus has ever seen in his life.

    That's part of his problem: he gets too tripped up by how beautiful she is. He never would've dreamed a girl as fine as her would be into him.

    Now he's got the urge to kiss her even though her eyes are red and her hair's a mess and she smells like vodka and cigarettes and weed. But when he goes to push her hair out of her face, she shoves his hand away again. "Don't touch me, Justyce."

    She starts shifting her stuff around on the ground—­lipstick, Kleenex, tampons, one of those circular thingies with the makeup in one half and a mirror in the other, a flask. "Ugh, where are my...
About the Author-
  • Nic Stone is a native of Atlanta and a Spelman College graduate. After working extensively in teen mentoring and living in Israel for a few years, she returned to the United States to write full-time. Dear Martin, her first novel, is loosely based on a series of true events involving the shooting deaths of unarmed African American teenagers. Shaken by the various responses to these incidents—and to the pro-justice movement that sprang up as a result—Stone began the project in an attempt to examine current affairs through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s teachings.

    You can find her fangirling over her husband and sons on Twitter and Instagram at @getnicced or on her website nicstone.info.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 31, 2017
    First-time author Stone explores an African-American student’s increasingly intense feelings of displacement in his predominantly white high school in a tense story that will grab readers’ attention and make them think. Written as a mixture of script-style dialogues, third-person narrative, and letters to Martin Luther King Jr., the novel explores high school senior Justyce McAllister’s confrontations with racism and his search for identity at a prestigious prep school, where he is one of only eight black students. After nearly getting arrested while trying to help his ex-girlfriend, who’s “stone drunk” and trying to drive herself home, Justyce becomes acutely aware of racial profiling and prejudice close to home. Pushed to the brink of despair when a close friend is shot by a white off-duty police officer, Justyce doesn’t know what to do with his anger. Though some characters are a bit one-dimensional (including Justyce’s debate partner/romantic interest and the interchangeable bros at his school), this hard-hitting book delivers a visceral portrait of a young man reckoning with the ugly, persistent violence of social injustice. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Justyce is an African American teen caught between two worlds. He knows that the education he's receiving at a private school will grant him more economic opportunities, however he begins to question the effects his private school education on his own identity. Some of his classmates believe that the racial pendulum has swung too far, giving African Americans an unfair advantage over their white counterparts. The kids he grew up with believe Justyce has assimilated too much and has forgotten where he came from. He questions his blackness, his relationship with his biracial girlfriend, and his attraction to his white debate partner Sarah Jane. Through a series of journal entries, Justyce attempts to figure out his place in the world by exploring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. A violent altercation between a retired white police officer and his best friend causes Justyce to examine what it means to be an African American male in 2017. The length and pace of this well-written story make it a perfect read for reluctant and sophisticated readers alike. The main characters are well balanced and will resonate with teens. However, the voice of African American women is largely absent from the narrative. The characterization of Justyce's mother and his girlfriend are one-dimensional compared to some of the other protagonists. Still, this important work should be read alongside Jason Reynolds's and Brendan Kiely's All-American Boys and Kekla Magoon's How It Went Down. VERDICT An good choice for school and public libraries.-Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist, Starred Review "Vivid and powerful."
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    Random House Children's Books
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