Dear Justyce

Nic Stone

Book - 2020

Incarcerated teen Quan Banks writes letters to Justyce McCallister, with whom he bonded years before over family issues, about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Stone Nic Due Mar 22, 2022
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Stone Nic Due Oct 8, 2022
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Stone Nic Checked In
New York : Crown Books for Young Readers [2020]
First edition
Item Description
Includes an excerpt of Dear Martin by the author.
Companion novel to: Dear Martin.
Physical Description
266 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 14+.
Grades 10-12.
Main Author
Nic Stone (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* LaQuan Banks, a background character in 2017's Dear Martin, takes center stage in this sequel, as readers meet him in a youth detention center where he's serving time for the alleged murder of a police officer. Through written correspondence, Quan develops a bond with Dear Martin's Justyce, now a prelaw student at Yale, whose letters to Dr. King inspired Quan. As he struggles in detention to earn his diploma and escape an oppressive cycle, Quan questions how he and Justyce ended up so differently; was it "pure choice" or circumstance? While Dear Martin is a about a young Black man with opportunity, Dear Justyce is about the Black and POC teenagers and adults who never had those opportunities. Through visceral storytelling that covers various stages of Quan's life, Stone writes of individual, interpersonal, and community trauma; struggling familial relationships; and the dangerous stereotypes and assumptions that result in youth of color, specifically Black kids, being incarcerated, wrongly accused, killed, or otherwise targeted. In a stylized work that makes use of font changes, embedded text, screenplay format, and more, Quan's genuinely youthful voice shines through, and it's more than just fiction. Stone is shedding light on the lives of those incarcerated: they're not nameless; they're not all the same; they are unique, valuable human beings who deserve to have their stories shared. An unforgettable tour de force of social-justice and activist literature. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Stone tackles the American juvenile justice system and its unjust persecution of Black boys in this gritty, powerful sequel to Dear Martin. Atlanta 17-year-old Vernell LaQuan Banks Jr., called "Quan," finds himself in the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center after being coerced into confessing to the murder of a cop. Through a series of letters to his friend, Yale pre-law student Justyce McAllister, Quan recounts his abusive home life and the desperate decisions that ultimately led to his arrest. After a hopeful revelation, Justyce enlists the help of his friend Jared Christensen; his girlfriend, Sarah-Jane Friedman; and SJ's attorney mother to find a way to free Quan. Through Quan's eyes, readers experience the hopelessness and solitude that have consumed his life since the traumatic arrest of his father when he was 11. Although the narrative's letters, snapshots, flashbacks, and the midpoint addition of a second narrator may muddle the timeline, Quan's unflinching honesty and vulnerability make him a protagonist readers will unequivocally empathize with. Stone deftly explores systemic oppression and interrogates the notion of justice, particularly in how Black boys are often treated as adults and lost in the school-to-prison pipeline. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rena Rossner, the Deborah Harris Agency. (Sept.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Vernell LaQuan Banks Jr. is awaiting a court date in a juvenile detention center. Quan was with his friends when an interaction with a couple of police officers went sideways. Now a police officer is dead and Quan's memory of the incident is clouded by a panic attack. Although he didn't commit the crime, he knows that his previous arrest record makes him guilty in the eyes of not only the law, but also his mother. Quan's biggest supporter was Vernell LaQuan Banks Sr., but his father is in jail and can't help push Quan towards a different, brighter future. The one friend who seems to believe in him is Justyce McAllister. The two boys bonded over their fractured home lives and the love of reading. An older brother, Quan struggles to be there for his younger siblings even as his own support system slowly dissolves. Now Quan is examining all of the choices made for him, and by him, in a series of letters to Justyce. As his friendship with Justyce strengthens, he begins to see that healthier support systems can be rebuilt. This book expands the conversation about systemic racism to include young men of color who don't fit the demands of respectability politics. The circumstances that surround them and the lack of a support system for them often limits their choices. VERDICT This novel is perfect for public and school libraries who are looking to offer a nuanced perspective on the juvenile justice system.—Desiree Thomas, Worthington Lib., OH Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A sequel to the best-selling Dear Martin finds incarcerated teen Quan writing letters to his neighbor, Justyce, about the former’s experiences in the American juvenile justice system while the latter attends Yale University. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An NPR Best Book of the Year * The stunning sequel to the critically acclaimed,  #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin. An incarcerated teen writes letters to his best friend about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system.An unflinching look into the tragically flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system.Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, 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, vignettes, and letters to Justyce--the protagonist of Dear Martin--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."A powerful, raw, must-read told through the lens of a Black boy ensnared by our broken criminal justice system." -Kirkus, Starred Review