Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Page Count: 210
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Crown Books
Goodreads Summary: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.
5 Sentence Review: Dear Martin will make any reader angry shocked and sad the mistreatment of young black boys. From Nic Stone’s depiction of police profiling to racism in a high school setting (in class conversations regarding race) to the black lives matter movement, this book will impact the way you see race in numerous ways. Although personally nothing was brought new to the table I appreciated the messages the book sends. Dear Martin promotes good adult figures such as teachers and Dr. King himself. Lastly, the book has an outstanding message on how both marginalized people and the majority race can find peace with each other.
A Long Way Down By Jason Reynolds
Page Count: 320
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Poetry
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
GoodReads Summary: Will’s brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually used his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.
5 Sentence Review: Jason Reynolds writes a book the packs so much emotion with so little time. Our main character tries to find peace with his situation by using violence to avenge his brother. The book delves into the cycles of violence, toxic masculinity (especially placed on young black men) and systematic racism. Reynolds poetic, heartbreaking words will stay with you for days, haunting your mind. Same with Stone’s novel, nothing new was necessarily bought to the table, but nonetheless, this was an incredibly creative way to address the relevant issue regarding the disadvantages black men have to face every day.
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