Dear Justyce (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Justyce McAllister is back in this sequel to Dear Martin, which is flat out the best and most important teen novel I've ever read. This time he's not the main character. In Dear Martin, Justyce wrote private letters to the late Martin Luther King, asking how he stayed strong under the constant judgement (and trauma) that comes solely because of skin color. In Dear Justyce, he's receiving the letters, from a childhood friend named Quan, who is not headed to the Ivy League like Justyce. Vernell LaQuan Banks Jr. is just trying to survive juvenile detention after working so hard to be a good kid, while everyone around him seemed to want him to fail. His family was a mess, a frightening mess. Then he found people who understood him well, in the wrong place, and he's in serious trouble. He's not one to make excuses for his decisions, but really what could he have done differently? He hasn't completely give up though, and Justyce isn't ready to quit on him either. Stone didn't intend to write this book, until she got texts from two kids she met because of Dear Martin. They wanted her to write their story, about "like black kids, you know... Not like Justyce. Cuz Justyce had hope." I think Stone wrote their story like nobody else could. The voices are urgent and real. Masterful writing, compelling, suspenseful, and vital reading for the urgency of now!

— Tim McCarthy

Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List

“Wow! Nic Stone is a powerful writer who has brought us what she calls her most difficult book to write. Quan is in a detention center, writing letters to his friend Justyce about his experience being locked up. His story about how he got there is pieced together through events from his childhood leading into present day. This book, though fictional, examines the experience of being born Black and how the system is designed to the detriment of the Black population. This book should be required reading!”
— Carissa Unite, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY


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

About the Author

Nic Stone is an Atlanta native and a Spelman College graduate. After working extensively in teen mentoring and living in Israel for several years, she returned to the United States to write full-time. Nic's debut novel for young adults, Dear Martin, was a New York Times bestseller and William C. Morris Award finalist. She is also the author of the teen titles Odd One Out, a novel about discovering oneself and who it is okay to love, which was an NPR Best Book of the Year and a Rainbow Book List Top Ten selection, and Jackpot, a love-ish story that takes a searing look at economic inequality.

Clean Getaway, Nic's first middle-grade novel, deals with coming to grips with the pain of the past and facing the humanity of our heroes. She lives in Atlanta with her adorable little family. Find her online at or @nicstone.

Praise For…

Praise for DEAR JUSTYCE:

An NPR Best Book of the Year!
A Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year!

"An unforgettable tour de force of social-justice and activist literature." —Booklist, starred review

"A powerful, raw must-read told through the lens of a Black boy ensnared by our broken criminal justice system.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Stone tackles the American juvenile justice system and its unjust persecution of Black boys in this gritty, powerful sequel to Dear Martin.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This book expands the conversation about systemic racism to include young men of color who don’t fit the demands of respectability politics.... A nuanced perspective on the juvenile justice system." —SLJ

“[An] emotionally intense follow-up to the William C. Morris Debut Award finalist Dear Martin.” —Shelf Awareness

“Teens can relate to the feelings of alienation, loneliness, and confusion that lead Quan to make many of the choices that he does, even as the book explores the various ways our current justice system disenfranchises young people of color.” —The Horn Book

[This] layered, painfully timely sequel about racism, police brutality, and incarceration will hit you hard.” —Hello Giggles

Praise for DEAR MARTIN:

"Powerful, wrenching." —John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down

"Absolutely incredible, honest, gut-wrenching. A must read!" —Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give

"Raw and gripping." —Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author of Long Way Down

Product Details
ISBN: 9781984829665
ISBN-10: 1984829661
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 29th, 2020
Pages: 288
Language: English