Title: Dear Justyce (Dear Martin #2)
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: September 29, 2020
In the stunning and hard-hitting sequel to the New York Timesbestseller Dear Martin, incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American prison system.
Shortly after teenager Quan enters a not guilty plea for the shooting death of a police officer, he is placed in a holding cell to await trial. Through a series of flashbacks and letters to Justyce, the protagonist of Dear Martin, Quan’s story unravels.
From a troubled childhood and bad timing to a coerced confession and prejudiced police work, Nic Stone’s newest novel takes an unflinching look at the flawed practices and ideologies that discriminate against African American boys and minorities in the American justice system.
Quan Banks is an incarcerated teen who writes letters to his old friend, Justyce. Quan had a troubled childhood, witnessing the arrest of his father and his step-father abusing his mother. He joined a crime group, and was arrested in connection with the shooting death of a police officer. Quan writes to Justyce to work through his feelings about being incarcerated and to possibly get some help with his case.
This is the perfect companion novel for Dear Martin, though there wasn’t meant to be a sequel. The boys Justyce and Quan have things in common even though they have different life situations. They’re from the same neighbourhood and went to the same schools, but have different futures.
There was a lot of tension in the story, due to the fact that we don’t know why Quan is in prison until a few chapters into the story. There were many important scenes about Quan’s childhood, each event leading to his time in prison. There were some uncomfortable scenes that were hard to read, such as when Quan’s father was arrested. It’s devastating to think of a child having to go through these things, but this is a reality for many children.
Though Quan tried to be successful and work hard, he was often discouraged by the people around him. When he studied hard for a math test and got a very good grade, everyone assumed he must have cheated. These events eventually made Quan believe that he didn’t deserve that kind of success, leading him to a crime group. When Quan was imprisoned, he had a great support team around him who believed in him. Many people in his situation don’t have the same kind of support, so unfortunately most of that part was fictionalized. However, I’m glad that Quan got to have a happy ending in this story.
I could talk about this book for hours. This is definitely required reading, and it’s the perfect companion to Dear Martin. I highly recommend this book!
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Jackpot by Nic Stone
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Other books in the series:
Have you read Dear Justyce? What did you think of it?