Dear Martin: What Does Justice Mean To You? || A Book Review

Dear Martin

Author: Nic Stone
Publisher: Ember
Released: September 4th, 2018 (First published on October 17th, 2017)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Characters: Justyce, Sarah-Jane (SJ), Emmanuel (Manny), Jared, …



Synopsis (Goodreads) :

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.

My Review :

When I first started reading Dear Martin, I was getting THUG (The Hate U Give) vibes. The stereotype and issues on racism, they were all pretty much similar. However, as I got a little bit further into the book, and by further, I mean around page 19 (This book is not long, you see), I started to find elements that set this book apart from THUG.

Before we get to that, I’d like to touch on the writing style, pacing and plot line of this book. The writing style is easy to be read. I really like how literal the title of this book is because the main character, Justyce wrote to Martin, hoping to get inspired and be like Martin, whom fought for his people’s rights. So, every time he wrote to Martin, he’d start off with ‘Dear Martin,’, hence the title. The pacing of the story is fast as the book is rather short and I think the story developed quite well. I did like the ending but I wish there were more to it. I’d love to know how the characters were impacted by the incidents that happened throughout the story and how they’d respond to the ‘justice’ they got. It’d be nice if I get to read more of that.

“You ever consider that maybe you not supposed to ‘fit’? People who make history rarely do.”
-Nic Stone, Dear Martin

Let’s get into what set this book apart from THUG. This book discusses about justice, so does THUG but I got to view it from a different perspective this time around. All I could say that when the law couldn’t serve the justice, sometimes people would do whatever they think is right to get things equal and just. That was what I got from this book, and it gave me an unsettling feeling up till the end of the book. This is why I need more reactions from the characters regarding the incidents happened in the story.

“What do I do when my very identity is being mocked by people who refuse to admit there’s a problem?”
-Nic Stone, Dear Martin

If you haven’t noticed, even the main character is named Justyce. Justyce wrote to Martin Luther King Jr. and hoping he could be someone braver and would have some idea on how to deal with mistreatment he received. However, he’s always struggling to stand up for his own and always feeling unsure about himself. Honestly, I would really appreciate if he had more fighting spirit in him. He was one of THE best debater in his school yet he didn’t act like one, which I felt was a shame really, for the author not to utilize that and made Justyce a stronger character. Instead, we have Sarah-Jane whom was definitely loud in saying her opinions, and she definitely lived up to the title of  the best debater in their school. This is also why she’s my favourite character in this book.

Overall, I think Dear Martin has been an enjoyable read with a very important message. I admit I do think this book has the resemblance of THUG, it is addressing the same issue, about racism and stereotypes. However, I’m glad it was addressed in a different manner. I wish there were more to this book because it would be more impactful.

Rating: 4/5 star

2 thoughts on “Dear Martin: What Does Justice Mean To You? || A Book Review

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