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Dear Martin ~ Nic Stone

February 16, 2018

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Genre: Young Adult/ Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
224 pages
ISBN: 9781101939499
Source: Book Swap

Holy cow, y’all, this book.

I wasn’t entirely sure how it could be as powerful as everyone was claiming as it’s a teeny, tiny little thing at just over 200 pages.

This fear, of course, was completely ridiculous as even short stories can pack a powerful punch.

That said, I sat down and read it one solid go because it is seriously that good.

Yes, this spoke to me on a few levels, personally. As I say about twenty times an hour, social work is my life and that means social justice, interpersonal relationships, and internal conflict sit high on my swoon list. Add in the fact that both Nic Stone and the story itself are in Atlanta and I had no option but to fall in love.

But I think, even without my location and background, I would be smitten.

The story follows High School senior, Justyce McAllister through one of the roughest school years of his life, beginning with an absurd arrest and ending with a horrendous tragedy.

He’s a bright and promising, if slightly soft-spoken, Atlanta teen, wrestling with his identity as a young black guy in the city that lives in the shadow of Martin Luther Kings legacy. Through young love and friend drama, the book sails us straight through racial conflict, past and present.

Nic Stone pulls zero punches when it comes to naming the complexity of race in our lives. The internal; conflict in Jus’s brain speak so well to the absurdity white supremacy puts people of color through on a daily basis.

After reading an entire book written by a female through the voice of a male, I talked this over with my friends who had read the book. They agreed that Stone just nails that teen male voice, but we also marveled at the heaviness of Stone having two little boys of her own, growing up in the exact world where she set her story.

There is so much more I could write about this but I’m low-key going to see if I can find Nic Stone, today, somewhere around town and thank her profusely for this amazing book. So, writing time is over. Go read it if you haven’t.

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