Dear Martin // a book that restored my faith in YA

Young adult fiction was not something I previously enjoyed, so I didn’t set out to read it on purpose. It just so happened that, during my free trial of Amazon Prime, “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone was on sale. I knew nothing about it, except that I wanted to read it.

Page 31 of Dear Martin. Emphasized exerpt in caption.
Jared: I’m just sick of people suggesting African Americans still have it SO HARD these days. I don’t care what SJ says, Manny. Your parents are totally proof that things are equal now.

I’d heard about “Dear Martin”, but lez be real: I don’t buy into the hype surrounding books, and most things YA are not my cup of tea. I skipped reading YA — save for Twilight — and jumped right into the more “adult” books. I loved Lois Duncan (RIP) because the stories were gritty and themes akin to what I was going through in middle school. I was introduced to V.C. Andrews by my stepfather’s brother’s baby mama.

I never got too attached to YA because, honestly, I seldom read age-appropriate material.

But I’m starting to realize that some of the books I enjoy coincidentally fall into the young adult age group — since it’s not a genre, but a marketing category — and not all of it is as full of flaws as Christian fiction — which, per se, also might as well be classified as a marketing category.

What I liked 👍

  • Different formats: Dialogue is more like if you’re reading a screenplay; Justyce’s letters to Martin
  • Actual diction: I’ve lived all over Texas and have gone to a few schools wherein whites were the minority (although I’ve always identified Native American, just stay with me). The diction used in this book feels more real than most television shows I’ve seen. I’ve lived in the ghetto and just barely outside of it. I think the only TV show that makes me feel real nostalgic is Black Lightning.
    Why this is so important to me: I feel the whiteness of words bleeding out of the mouths around me, contaminating my skin in their so-called holiness that can only truly be described as white supremacy. I can’t really speak to my family “like a gangster” as it’s called, without them having words to say about it.

What I wasn’t really feeling 👎

  • The romance was lacking in explanation. I enjoyed witnessing Justyce fall for his girlfriend, but I felt like a lot of it jumped around, so it was difficult for me to keep up re: WTFx going on with them.
  • Time jumps, at least that’s what I’m calling them, each month — or rather, each time he writes a letter — give the most details of what Justyce is feeling, but the book itself made me feel too distant from the MC to feel something more than heartbreak for the MC…as opposed to having lived vicariously through him. That’s one of the reasons I read books.

Still, though…

I would like to read another book by Nic Stone, because I did enjoy her writing and am trying to branch out and discover authors I might enjoy.

Dear MartinDear Martin by Nic Stone
Published by Ember on 4 September, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Young adult
# pages: 240
Source: Amazon
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

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