Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 15+ (racism, sexual content, language, violence. Trigger warnings for those who may have been victims of extreme racism or prejudice)
I received this book for free from KidLitExchange in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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. – Amazon.com
I knew racism still existed. I’m from the South and while I grew up around it I still knew it was bad and I chose to study it extensively in college. So to hear people say that racism doesn’t exist anymore really makes me angry. That being said I immediately fell in love with this book from the moment I picked it up. The book was a very blunt story on racism in America, specifically regarding young African-American men. The reader sees the world through Justyce’s eyes and I think I’m better for reading this book. I loved how complex all the characters were in the book and that there were different types of racism or prejudice shown in the book by almost all of the characters. I loved how the plot developed and that heartwrecking twist! The pacing was also very well done and the writing was simply amazing! I probably could have read 600 more pages of Nic Stone’s writing and that would have been fine by me.
I absolutely love this book, but I do feel that this book can be polarizing for some readers. Some readers might not see the world as Justyce and the author. This book talks about a very hot-button topic as well as including scenes with recent-events that can be upsetting to some readers.
Verdict: I think this is a very important read in today’s world. Racism is only going to get worse and the divisive attitude some people have in this country needs to be dealt with. The only way we’re going to start moving away from racism for the final time is if we start putting each other in our own shoes, especially those who do not know what it’s like to be African-American in America. I also thought that even though Justyce makes a lot of mistakes in the book, he is an inspirational character and his journey is just as inspiring. Definitely recommended reading for everyone in America. I’m ready for change. Are you?