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 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.
Dear MartinFeatured New
Justyce is at the top of his class, captain of the debate team, and on track to attend a prestigious Ivy League college next year. None of that matters though to the police officer who profiles him after Justyce tries to help his ex-girlfriend. He's arrested and put in handcuffs. Even though he's been able to escape his neighborhood, it seems as if some continue to look at him in scorn or label him based on the color of his skin. Justyce's way to try to cope is to write letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tries to see if Dr. King's teachings hold up now. Then one day he goes driving with his best friend who happens to have his music up full blast. A middle-aged white man doesn't like this. What happens next is something that could come right off the headlines of today's paper. Through it all Justyce finds himself being attacked in the media and by the people around him.
What worked: This is a raw, unflinching look at what troubles our nation right now. Racism continues to be one of those subjects that some are uncomfortable to discuss, but one that needs to be. Justyce is a good kid that is top of his class and goes to a prestigious high school. But he finds none of that matters when he's profiled just because of his skin color. His experience with being arrested, handcuffed, and verbally abused is very real and continues to happen in our country to other young black men. Stone doesn't hold back with the struggles and yes, anger Justyce feels at this injustice that was directed toward him.
I really loved the letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Readers get more insight to how Justyce feels during the injustices he witnesses not only toward him, but others around him. There's scenes where some students go off on Justyce and especially one where a classmate 'assumes' that the only reason why he didn't get accepted to Yale was because the college used the 'race' card with Justyce.
The voice is authentic and rang true.
There's lots of topics discussed in frank detail; racial profiling, racism, prejudice, and police brutality. This book would be perfect for high school libraries and for classroom discussions. I seriously feel these topics should be discussed and not avoided.
2. Totally recommend to be added to all high school reading lists
3. A must-read