cover image Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

Nic Stone. Crown, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-984829-66-5

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. [em]Agent: Rena Rossner, the Deborah Harris Agency. (Sept.) [/em]