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“Yeah, I grew up in a rough area, but I know I’m a good dude, Martin. I thought if I made sure to be an upstanding member of society, I’d be exempt from the stuff THOSE black guys deal with, you know? Really hard to swallow that I was wrong.” Justyce is an honor student at a prestigious school in Atlanta, on the path to Yale, when a cop sees him attempting to buckle his inebriated ex-girlfriend into the backseat of her fancy SUV. The police officer handcuffs and arrests Justyce, violently and immediately; all before page ten. The charges are dropped, but this moment sets a series of events into motion that changes everything for Justyce and the people that he loves. Dear Martin doesn’t shy away from hot-button, difficult to explain issues like white privilege, police brutality, racial identity, inherent racism, and gang violence; and author Nic Stone does a great job approaching them like a 17 year old really would, with unending questions and not a lot of answers. I appreciated that Dear Martin didn’t try to solve anything, but instead let us feel Justyce’s frustration and tumult. Sometimes, readers aren’t looking for a neat little solution, but for a storyline that reflects the emotion and powerlessness that they feel about the world around them. I could have happily read another 150 pages of Justyce’s story. But I’ll take what I can get – a moving, terrifying, and necessary portrayal of life as a young person of color in America in 2017. #bookreview #readthis #dearmartin #nicstone #ireadya #youngadult #yalit #weneeddiversebooks #wereadtoo
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