Title: Dear Martin
Authors: Nic Stone
Series: Followed by sequel Dear Justyce (2020)
Country: United States of America
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
First Published: 2017
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team and set for an Ivy League college – but none of the matters to the police officer who just put him in headcuffs. Released without charge, Justyce is frustrated that despite leaving his rough neighbourhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his new classmates.
Justyce has studied the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but do they hold up now? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny are caught in the crossfire.
Justyce McAllister is a seventeen-year-old black high school senior living in Atlanta and attending a predominantly white preparatory school on a scholarship. He is captain of the debate team and ranked fourth in his graduating class and in a good position to be accepted by an Ivy League school.
One night Justyce is helping his white ex-girlfriend from driving drunk. A white police officer racially profiling him aggressively throws Justyce to the ground and handcuffs him thinking he is going to rob / harm this young white woman.
Following this incident Justyce begins to question racial issues as a young black young man in today’s society. As a response he begins writing letters to the spirit of civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The novel uses a mix of third-person narrative, script-like dialogues for debates in class, and Justyce’s letters to to Dr. King.
Dear Martin is Stone’s debut novel. Stone wrote the novel in response to a number of racially-charged events that featured young black men, including the 2012 murder of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old who was killed when a man fired several rounds into a car of teenagers following a dispute over loud rap music, and the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a Fergusson, Missouri police officer.
The novel is followed by a sequel Dear Justyce, which is told from the point of view of Quan, a cousin of Justyce’s best friend, who is on trial for murder.
Dear Martin tackles strong issues such as racism and police brutality head on, while still featuring romance and humour.
Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.