Dear Martin by Nic Stone (2017, Crown Books For Young Readers; 224 pages)
This is one of those books that feels like it "matters." It is a novel written with humor and emotion, which tells a story with a message that is relevant to everyone, and it is a book that confronts America's race problem in a brave way, diving right into the heart of the matter. The author is able to write about this important and painfully timely theme with humor and elegance and also with, somehow, a voice that is raw and fresh, thanks to a credible character named Justyce McAllister, a modern black teenager in America.
Justyce McAllister is a seventeen year-old senior and full-scholarship student at the Braselton Preparatory Academy. He is also the debate team captain and he is ranked fourth in his class. He has grown up in what is considered a "bad" area, but everyone around him agrees he has a bright future ahead. The first chapter in the book puts things into a different context when, Justyce winds up in handcuffs whle trying to help a former girlfriend. That painful moment becomes Justyce's epiphany, and a pivotal point on his life. From there, his life rotates around a conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, a conversation that he keeps in writing.
What would Dr. King say and do if he were living in our present social climate, and how would his teachings hold up today are the questions that Nic Stone had on the table when writing this book. Justyce´' journey is somehow an answer. More than an answer, the reader will find out that sometimes there are no answers, but there are points, like the one that compels a person to find the courage to ask the questions in the first place.
This book matters, and it is relevant. Recommended to everyone trying to understand America's race problem.
Publication date: Oct. 17, 2017
Recommended by: Maite