Month: September 2016
When Nic Stone asked little ol’ me to read her book before it came out, I was elated — to say the least. DEAR MARTIN, titled after the main character sending letters to Martin Luther King Jr, chronicles the life of Justyce McAllister, an african American student at a majority white school.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class at Braselton Prep, captain of the debate team, and set for an Ivy League school next year—but, none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He’s eventually released without charges (or an apology) but the incident rattles him. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his new classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.
Justyce has long studied the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But do they hold up in 21st century America? He starts a journal “to” Dr. King to sort things out.
When I had read the goodreads blurb I just knew I had to read this book, and honestly I wasn’t expecting to much, but let me tell you something: This book took my edges (That means it is really good) I don’t think I’ve ever related to a character more than I do with Justyce, and I say that because often times being a person of color – Black in particular means that when we are forced to live in these white spaces where whiteness is prevalent we often feel the need to be silent. To not be “that one black person” and so, just being a black male who attended a PWI for two years made me seeing Justyce as a character so relateable and a lot of the moments he had I sat in my bed saying “Me too fam, me too.”
I’m not gonna lie, this book will toss a lot of peoples morals in the arena and slapbox with them. Which is to say it’s gonna put things into a perspective that you as a reader may not be comfortable accepting or understanding — If anything this Young Adult novel acts a mirror that accurately reflects the times in which we live. There are so many characters with such vast opinions and ideologies, and what Nic has done so well is that she takes the nuances of police brutality arguments and really expounds on them — so she explores the minute things. She doesn’t stop at police brutality though, she also expounds on classism, privilege, race-relations, making it out, and so many topics. Now I know what you’re thinking this sounds like some sjw book masquerading as Young Adult, but lemme stop you there. It’s not. Yes Nic Stone covers these topics but it is not with a heavy hand, more like a feathers touch.
If Audra Lorde were to write a Young Adult novel that presented tough conversations that have to happen in a way for all readers (regardless of race) to grasp on to, Nic Stone’s book would be that. My full review of the book will be coming out closer to the publishing date which on goodreads says October 17th 2017.
First, I need to thank @readdiversebooks for RTing Lucina Stone and point the author in my direction to read and review the book.
General thoughts and critique
Daniela Delgado, A half Italian, half mexican college student is the main character in this novel. Dealing with a horrible experience with her then boyfriend she attempts suicide, this attempt – when done near a Tree awakens abilities inside of her. With her new abilities she travels back into time and meets a handful of characters that she has to help or steer away from. The novel covers a lot in the course of a little over 200 pages. I think the novels fails for me: One, the multiple perspectives of character was cool but I really wanted more Danielle. At times my attention was pulled from who the book was suppose to be about. And also two: where many novels that cover time travel do. It’s not an exact science, so it always ends up not making sense when you think about how this affects something in the future. Danielle traveled back into the roaring 20’s a time in our country where, admittedly, everything was different. I imagine the 20’s lived in a vacuum because it has such a unique culture surrounding it. But because of the uniqueness to the 20’s a lot of times I wasn’t the most convinced by the word choice and moments that happened. The book is a quick read that one could, hypothetically finish in one day and then wait, on their toes, for the next one to come.
Diversity Scale & Critics
This book is extremely diverse. One on hand Daniela has two moms. Two moms who are great representation of what a same-sex couple and children of same-sex parents need to see in literature. They are complex, and flawed. We get to know Monica and Emma as real people. (Also shout out to the fact that her parents are present.) Also, the fact that Daniela is both Mexican and Italian is not some sort throw away line. Everything she does and her background fully supports and adds context to her identity. This is a great example of what it means to write diverse characters with rich plot lines that surround their identity but aren’t fully about the struggles of their identity. There is mexican folklore in this novel that I need more of in my life. Latin American is full of folklore and magical realism that can be explored in novels, this was refreshing and a great perspective.
Final thoughts and rating
Go buy this book, now because its amazing and a quick read and you’ll fall in love and I;m not even joking.