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Another hard hitting, powerful and important novel from the author of award-winning Dear Martin
October 2020 Book of the Month
In this brilliant and emotionally gripping sequel to her best-selling debut novel, Dear Martin, the author’s focus shifts to a minor character: Vernell LaQuan Banks Jnr. Unlike Justyce, the hero of the first book who is now a law student at Yale, Quan is incarcerated and charged with the murder of a policeman. In Dear Martin, Justyce wrote letters in his journal to his hero Martin Luther King Jnr to work through his thoughts and vent his frustrations about life as a Black American. Here Quan actually does write to Justyce, inspired by reading that self-same journal and through these and a series of flashbacks his painful story is revealed. From the trauma of witnessing his dad’s brutal arrest and the domestic abuse his mother experiences from her new partner, to taking responsibility for protecting his small step-siblings to the extent of stealing food to feed them, Quan had none of the love and support that helped Justyce overcome the tragedies in the first book. In fact it is the need for a ‘family’ that embroils Quan into joining the Black Jihad and then loyalty to them which keeps his mouth shut about the fact that it was not his gun, left at the scene, which fired the fatal bullet. Through these letters we can really see Quan developing as a character and benefiting from studying with the tutor Justyce sent him. Evaluating himself and how he got there as well as the obvious racial disparities in the criminal justice system and how hopeless the future seems for black youths like him. Eventually the truth about his mental state, his coerced confession and the police procedural failure to gather ballistics evidence is revealed and Justyce launches a legal challenge to get the charges against Quan dropped and, just as importantly, find a way to reconcile him with his family and to be released from obligations to the other ‘family’. This is an unforgettable insight into lives where options and choices are so limited by systemic and institutional racism that despite every effort to the contrary the pathway to prison seems inevitable. In the afterword the author reveals just how many true stories are so authentically reflected here. Dear Justyce is an absolute must read, giving a voice to those who need it the most.
Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center.
Through a series of flashbacks and letters to Justyce, Quan's story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there's a dead cop and a weapon with Quan's prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure...
Praise for Dear Martin:
Powerful, wrenching John Green
A must-read Angie Thomas
Raw and Gripping Jason Reynolds
Deeply moving Jodi Picoult
|Publication date:||6th October 2020|
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Childrens Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4|
|Topics:||Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Personal Social Health Economic , Racism / Multi-Culturalism|
Nic Stone is the author of the New York Times bestselling Dear Martin, Odd One Out and Jackpot. She was born in Atlanta and has lived and in Israel, working extensively in teen mentoring. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.More About Nic Stone