Skip to main content

Dear Martin


Dear Martin by Nic Stone (210 pages)
Overview: When Justyce is put in handcuffs after trying to get his drunk ex-girlfriend home safely, his world is shaken. He knows that being African American means that some will look at him differently, but it's never been so terrifying or... personal. He tries to sort his out with the help of his friends, teachers, and by writing letters to Martin Luther King asking for advice. Right when he's finding his footing at school again, he and his best friend Manny are shot in a traffic altercation with a white, off duty cop. Justyce never thought that some loud music would put him in a sling and deprive his best friend of the rest of his life. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 4.5 Justyce is an awesome POV character. He's very introspective and into understanding the many layers that make up his views of the world. He grew up in an underprivileged neighborhood and was well aware of gang violence, but since getting a scholarship to a private boarding school, he's been focused on thriving in his education. Being forced to realize that he's not removed from the horrific and violent stories he's read shakes him.
His two friends, Manny and Sarah-Jane fill out the picture of his life in contrast. Manny has always gone to fancy private school. He drives a Range Rover, and his parents make more than most of his classmates. It creates a real conflict in his identity as he grew up surrounded by almost all white kids and their point of view. He's been conditioned to accept the racism, and he initially can't understand why Justyce gets so fired up about their racist commentary.
SJ is Jewish and a very vocal supporter of Justyce and civil rights. She's sharped tongued, and, initially, more empowered than Manny to tell her classmates to shut up. She realizes that this is the case because of her privilege. She makes a point to use her voice for good, much like Doc their debate teacher who is a mentor for Justyce. While I'd have liked to have gotten to know the background characters more, I loved the major players.

Plot: 4.5 The book is short and to the point. As the shooting takes place right around page 100, you've already gotten to see the characters evolve and awaken. The story is powerful and shaking. Scenes will stir lots of emotion, mostly anger. I nearly had to put the book down during the scene where Justyce is questioned in his best friend's murder trial. You're not going to put the book down until you've turned the very last page.

Writing: 5 I picked up the book after listening to Nic Stone talk on First Draft pod, and I couldn't believe I hadn't read her book yet. I knew that her beautiful articulation in the interview would translate to the page, and I was right. The third person prospective did nothing to stifle Justyce's unique voice from shining through. Like The Hate U Give, Stone fully amerces you in the action and the world.

More Like This...
The Hate U Give: Review Here

Links of Interest:
The Incredible True Story: Review Here
Four Three Two One: Review Here
Author Event Ally Carter and Jen Barnes: Here
Into YA Gordon Jack: Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Into YA with Erin Hahn

I know I'm not supposed to name favorites, but getting to interview Erin was such a wonderful treat! I absolutely adore her and her book, and I was so honored that she was willing to come on the blog. 
I'm so happy I get to share her wisdom with all of you. I suggest that if you haven't heard about You'd Be Mine or know much about it, check out my review before continuing with this article, but make sure you come back because you don't want to miss this one, and if you'd like to purchase the book you can do so here

1. Music plays a major role in the story considering they’re both country stars. You’ve even made a playlist of songs, which I’ll link below. Were you ever nervous about getting the sound and attitude of the music to translate to the reader, especially a reader who might be unfamiliar with the songs? 
Oh my word, YES. First of all, I am very aware not everyone loves country music and even more to the point, not everyone understands the rich history of…

Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (306 pages) Buy At Your Local Bookstore*
Overview: It's just one elevator ride. Just one elevator ride to the rest of Will's life. Eight floors takes so long when you're headed to kill someone. Even in revenge. Even for justice. Even when your brother was just murdered. It's even longer when every stop brings someone who's left your life back in. There's so much to learn before Will hits the lobby. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Because of the atmosphere and the point of the story, we don't get super into the characters. They each represent a stop on a horrible cycle. It starts with Buck, Will's older brother, Shawn's, older brother figure. When Buck got killed, Shawn had to avenge his death, which got him killed. He also meets his Uncle Mark, an aspiring filmmaker who's death lead to Will's father's death because of the Rules. Each character doesn't exist to explore themselves or have their own motives- they…

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig

The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig by Don Zolidis (342 pages) To Purchase From Your Local Indie Bookstore*
Overview: This is a love story. It's a life story. There is not happily ever after, but it's not like the ending is sad. It's realistic. It's the out of order tale of seven break ups and six make ups during Amy and Craig's senior year of high school. Amy is Craig's first girlfriend, and he loves her, and she loves him, but life is complicated. Craig has to navigate his family's financial difficulties after his dad loses his job. He has to figure out if college, which was always a given, is even a possibility even more. Amy is taking care of her mom, who has cancer, and trying to balance leading the class and all her club commitments. Sometimes, there's only so much one relationship can take. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 I love Amy and Craig. Craig narrates the story, and he is hilarious. He plays on irony and sarcasm is perfect. He's endearing and …

Ultimate Halloween Book List

At the beginning of October, I unconsciously started reading murder-thriller books. It started with finally reading One of Us Is Lying and then I went to Lauren Oliver's book event for her new book, Broken Things, so I decided I would pick up a few more to read on the many plane rides I've taken recently and make a list for you. I've ranked them by the books I enjoyed most, but I'm also throwing a scariness ranking below too.

1. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
I loved The Cheerleaders. Even if I wasn't narrowing this to just thrillers, this would still be up there. While there's no immediate threat, there's still a sinister feeling five years after five cheerleaders die in a year in three accidents. One of the girl's sister, who investigates, also has a complicated life of her own. Thomas did an awesome job of sprinkling the mystery clues and bringing us a story through such a strong voice. Here's my full Review Here (4.5 stars overall, 2 scare fact…

The Dead Queen's Club

The Dead Queen's Club by Hannah Capin (January 29)
Overview: For fans of European history, specifically Henry VIII and his many wives, this is a treat. Modernized and set in high school, this version is the tale of all of Henry's living ex-girlfriends banding together to find the real reason behind the death of two of his former girlfriends, Anna Boleyn and Katie Howard. Narrated by Annie, better known as Cleves, the reader falls for Henry's charm but also sees the cracks growing in his perfect facade. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Cleves has a authoritative voice that I very much enjoyed. She's outspoken and uncompromising as she makes a place for herself in her new school senior year. Even though she marches to the beat of her own drum, she's found a place for herself among the cheerleaders who genuinely love how unique she is; but it helps that she's already friends with Henry, football star who practically owns the school.
The other characters have their places a…

Meet Me In Outer Space Review

Meet Me In Outer Space by Melinda Grace (262 pages) To Purchase from your Local Bookstore(Affiliate Link)
Overview: Eddie has an auditory processing disorder. Sometimes, she hears things that don't quite add up. Sometimes, she's able to piece together what is meant, and, others, she asks people to repeat themselves. This works well enough regularly, but, in French 102, it might keep her from her dreams. Eddie needs the language credits to graduate; she needs the French language if she wants to make it in France, the capital in fashion. She fully expects to fail French 102, but she doesn't expect to fall for the TA. Sometimes, though, life defies expectations. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 4 Eddie is a highly relatable character. She's driven and willing to work doubly hard to overcome a system that actively works against her. She also knows what her dream is and how to get it. Spending the summer and fall semester of her junior year in Paris would allow her to step toward he…

This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (326 pages)
Overview: Sloane wanted to end her life. And then the apocalypse came. Her focus suddenly turns to survival because that's what she's supposed to do. She finds a group of other teens from her school, and they survive in the infected city for seven days before finding shelter in the high school. With all the doors barricaded and the necessities provided, suddenly, there's room to think, reflect, and feel again, and their safe haven quickly turns into a cage. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 This cast has blown me away. Courtney Summers in general has done that with every aspect of the novel, but the characters are all so detailed and unique and flawed and emotional and broken. It makes for the perfect novel.
Sloane has recently had her sister leave without her, even though the plan was for them to escape their abusive father together. Without Lily, she feels her life has no point, but when it's seriously threatened, something co…

The History of Jane Doe

The History of Jane Doe by Micheal Belanger (2018)
Overview: Ray knows the entire history of his hometown, Burgerville, Connecticut. He also knows lots of different tidbits about the world as well. But, for his first written account of history, the story must center on loss, why, and fleeting moments of happiness. He has to tell the story of his first girlfriend, hidden by the anonymity of the name Jane Doe. Told in Before and After chapters, Ray explores the highs and lows he had in his fleeting relationship with Jane and his recovery from crushing loss. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 Jane is coping with clinical depression that probably stems from a combination of family history and past trauma. She goes between trying to hide her scars and struggles and exposing them, tiny piece by piece to the people she loves.
Ray is fascinated by Jane and the way she looks at the world and the town he's lived in all his life with fresh eyes.
His friend, Simon, is dorky and not quite all together b…

You'd Be Mine Review

You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn (April 2) To Purchase From Your Local Bookstore (Affiliate Link)
Overview: Clay Coolidge is the new hotshot in country music, but his tour hinges on him signing his opening act, Annie Mathers. While they doubt Clay can keep his cool on the summer tour highlife, they know that Annie has a promising career ahead of her because she's the product of two of countries hottest, and most infamous, country superstars. Even though the door starts as a business deal, it winds up being a journey of self discovery and a love story of its own. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Annie and Clay are more than just celebrities or musicians. They're real people, and, while you get a glimpse at their larger than life sides, Hahn never lets you get swept up in the glitz and the glamor. They are two brand new adults in a brand new world, still mourning losses from their old one.
Annie has been trying to outrun her parents, and their famous double suicide, since she found their b…