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Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin

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"Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League - but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighbourhood 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 police officer 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."

Wow - what a powerful, thought-provoking, brutally honest book! I was captivated from the very beginning and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page – meaning I finished this in just one day.

It was so raw and real that I felt myself becoming emotionally drained. My eyes and mind were certainly opened to issues that are happening right now and Dear Martin thoroughly educated me on topics that I didn’t know anything about beforehand. As well as racism, it tackles issues such as police brutality, sexism and toxic masculinity, all of which are dealt with in an amazing way.

Justyce as a character felt so real. While he had flaws, this made him so much more relatable. I also felt that it was so important that he was a male, teenage person of colour (POC). Male protagonists in YA are very rare, male POC even more so. I am hoping Dear Martin will encourage more YA writers to go down this route.

Dear Martin is an extremely powerful read that opens your eyes to real life issues around the topic of racial inequality. It’s a book that I feel everyone will learn something from if they go into it with an open mind.