Justyce McAllister is your ideal student. Top of his grade, ivy-league bound, a scholarship student at a private school – everything you could want out of a student. He is also African American. All his life, he’s been told that his skin color doesn’t matter, that it won’t stop him from doing anything. But when he gets arrested while attempting to help a friend out, he realizes that skin color is the biggest determiner after all. He has left his old ‘hood’ behind, but he still faces racist comments from his classmates. Justyce turns to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for help and answers but starts a journal to him when he begins to wonder whether the teachings are valid anymore. Then, one day, he and his best friend get shot at by an off-duty white police officer. Justyce expects justice for what happened, but when the media begin to cover the story, it seems as though he and his friend are the bad guys. Will Justyce manage to clear his and his friend’s name? Will he let go of his beliefs that skin color holds him back? Will he manage to overcome everything and succeed? Find out by reading the book!
This book contains topics that wouldn’t be appropriate for younger readers. Firstly, this entire book revolves around racism against black people, a topic that smaller readers may not be fully exposed to. This might scare them and introduce it to them in an extreme manner. There is violence and bad language in the book (detailed below) that isn’t appropriate for smaller readers to read. Gangs are mentioned as well. One child’s father was an alcoholic and used to beat the other family members It is also a rather intellectual book, with topics and ideas that more mature minds would be better suited to read.
There are a lot of good messages in this book. Some of them include the importance of a role model (seen though the respite Justyce gets when he has Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr. to look up to), determination (seen through how determined Justyce is to get through everything despite all the racism he faces), the importance of standing up for yourself (seen through how good Justyce feels when he stands up to people making comments about his race), and more.
There is definitely some violence in this book. At the beginning of the story, Justyce is arrested by a police officer, and is hit in the head and cuffed. Blood is mentioned. The cuffs give him scars on his wrists. Guns are used in the book as well. Kids are mentioned to have been shot and killed by police officers, supposedly because of their skin color. One kid is charged with murder and sent to juvie. Justyce and his best friend are shot at, and Justyce suffers injuries, while the other child dies. Justyce’s injuries are described in detail.
The bad words in this book are quite intense, and they are used a lot in the story. The words used include ‘h*ll’, ‘sk*nk’, ‘bi*ch’, ‘sh*t’, ‘a**’, ‘p*nk’, ‘godd*mn’, the f-word, ‘pi**ed’, ‘h*’, ‘bada**’, ‘d*mn’, ‘a**hole’, ‘numbn*ts’, ‘bullsh*t’, the n-word, ‘a**clowns’, ‘muthaf***as’, ‘dipsh*t’, ‘idi*t’, ‘w*ck’, ‘jacka**’ and ‘cr*p’.
There is definitely some romance in this book. Justyce has an ex-girlfriend, who he describes as the ‘hottest girl in school’. He develops a crush on another girl, who likes him back. (sexual topics described below)
There are some adult topics in this book. Sex is mentioned, along with drinking (vodka, alcohol, etc), smoking, and drugs (weed, marijuana, etc). Racism is a prominent topic in the book as well.
This was a good book! I liked the plot and the characters. It went over some important issues in society. However, I didn’t like the ending of the book at all, as it was quite boring and simple. With all of the drama that went on before it, I expected a little bit more of an ending. I also just think that throughout the story, the message that the author was trying to send could have been a little bit clearer. Even now, after finishing the book, I am a little confused about what the message of the book is. Overall, this book was good, but it’s definitely not one of my favorites.