Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Dear Martin (from Goodreads):
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.
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav 2018
Series: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person + First Person
Publication Date: October 17, 2017 – September 29, 2020
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook
**This post was originally published as a standalone review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I saw Dear Martin floating around quite a bit last year. While The Hate U Give seemed to catch more of the main stream attention, this book was mentioned quite a bit in the blogging community.
I was drawn to Dear Martin for 2 reasons. One is the fact that its lead is a male character. After getting a black female perspective in The Hate U Give, I was curious to see what the black male one would be. Two is the fact that Justyce writes a journal to Dr Martin Luther King Jr which is an intriguing approach.
The Concept & Writing Style:
What I really loved about this book was the narrative’s style. You get chapters told from a third person narrator; then a transcript of dialogue of classroom discussions; Justyce’s letters to Dr Martin and the transcripts of news reports and the like. It keeps the story moving, focusing on the important topics and conversations. Nothing ever dragged in this book and it never losses sight of the main messages by distracting us with unnecessary plot devices.
As I said, this story is always moving. It’s a very straight forward plot but it works so well. I laughed, I cried, I screamed in frustration and it made me think. You can’t ask for more in a book.
Justyce lives in a bit of a bubble and one that only recently gets burst. It was interesting to see how he copes with everything that is thrown at him. And he does get a lot thrown at him. He makes mistakes but he learns from them and I appreciated that. I truly became invested in his story and life.
It’s just a tiny part of the novel but when it does appear, it does contribute in a positive way to the many topics this book touches.
My Audiobook Experience:
I thought the narration was fabulous! Dion Graham is the narrator and he was just amazing. Everyone had a distinct voice, his pauses and dictation were perfect, and he really captured my attention at all times. He truly brought this book to life for me.
–December 19, 2021– Book #2: Dear Justyce
Another very powerful book by Nic Stone. I’ll admit, I forgot who Quan was but mostly because it has been a long time since I read Dear Martin. That didn’t really matter though because you quickly get acquainted with his character and the challenges he has faced in life. His story is very different than Justyce’s and I can see why Nic Stone felt compelled to tell it.
While this story is fiction, I could easily see how in our current political climate and social mindset how it could be reality. I think it speaks to Nic Stone’s talents as a writer that she can elicit so many emotions from her readers.
My Rating: 5/5
Series Rating: 4.5/5
Dear Martin 5/5 | Dear Justyce 4/5
Another great novel that is so on point with the current issues in society. I highly recommend this for fans of The Hate U Give and those of realistic fiction.
Read if You Like: realistic fiction, current events
Avoid if You: dislike non-classical prose/writing formats
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas