Mini Reviews: Dear Martin (so impactful!) and Juliet Takes a Breath (so queer!) // two incredibly powerful and diverse books

Guess who’s back with another post about mini-reviews!

I’ve come to really like writing mini reviews because it takes SO MUCH LESS TIME AND EFFORT and it’s quicker to format.

And I also prefer READING mini reviews nowadays for the same reasons! Quick and easy to read through and more options to comment on!

GO MINI REVIEWS.

Today I’ll be talking about two diverse novels who deal with very differing topics, but overall are both incredibly impactful, educational and SO real.

Spoiler alert: I gave both of these books 5 stars.

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone

“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.”

// October 17th by Crown Books for Young Readers //

Amazon DE / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble / Goodreads

*Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC. This did not affect my opinion in any way!*

Originally, I didn’t want to read Dear Martin because I haven’t read The Hate U Give yet. However, I needed a quick read for Dewey’s 24h Readathon and I had seen lots of hype surrounding Dear Martin—so here we are!

I think it is best to go into the book without knowing too much.

Dear Martin is about an African-American kid named Justyce who gets caught up in a hassle with a white police officer who misinterpreted a situation and wants to arrest him.

Since his encounter with the police, Justyce has begun to take notice of the treatment of black people in the news, among his friends and at school.

Throughout the book, you will see plenty of discussions about racial profiling, police brutality against black people, white privilege and general racism.

These topics are addressed and thoroughly depicted through the situations and things that Justyce, as a young black man, has to go through. What I loved about this book is that it does this through SHOWING and not so much telling.

Dear Martin is a fairly short book, but it’s very educational and puts things into perspective. I’d recommend it to people who want to know what it’s really like to live in the US as a black citizen. It depicts topics such as police brutality in a compact, but honest and powerful way.

Overall, Dear Martin was an incredibly impactful read that really gets you to THINK. It will make you fall in love with the characters (I LUV JUSTYCE), and then rip your heart out in the same scene.

Dear Martin will make you laugh, cry and scream in anger and frustration. It has quickly found its way onto my favourites shelf.

Wow. Just wow.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 OUT OF 5 STARS)

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Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera

“Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. 

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? 

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.”

// January 18th 2016 by Riverdale Avenue Books //

Amazon DE / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble / Goodreads

*Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book via Netgalley! This did not affect my opinion in any way!*

Wow. Another incredibly powerful and diverse book that I’d recommend everyone to read!

Juliet Takes A Breath is about a fat, queer, Puerto Rican girl who comes out to her family as lesbian on the day she is about to leave for an internship with her favourite author who has inspired Juliet immensely.

Her family reacts harshly to the news and she is left to question herself and her identity as she leaves for Portland. Once there, however, she is confronted with all these new terms and phrases concerning feminism and queerness and she discovers herself in ways she never thought possible.

The novels deals with TONS of important topics regarding feminism and what it means to be queer (especially as a PoC) and I just loved every single thing about it ❤

It was honestly such a powerful read and I felt very connected to Juliet. I remember when I was first confronted with terms like polyamory and allyship, and I was very confused.

I was familiar with most of the terms and issues that this book deals with, but it was still nice to have them explained and properly discussed and dealt with!

I also really liked that it felt like I was experiencing everything that happened in Portland alongside Juliet! She felt so relatable to me!

And I loved all of the queer characters so much! They were so welcoming, open and kind, and they helped Juliet on her personal journey and it was just beautiful to see so many queer women supporting other queer women <3333

Seeing Juliet’s growth and her discovering who she really is and learning to accept herself was so beautiful to read about.

I took of half a star because there wasn’t really much plot as the book was mostly about Juliet’s character development and her finding herself, but it was still absolutely incredible.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 (4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS)

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Two very powerful and impactful reads that I would recommend to absolutely anyone! Please please please pick them up because they’re both so important in their own way ❤

If I could I’d purchase 50 copies of both of these books and hand them out to random people on the streets, or send them to fellow blogger friends!

THEY’RE SO GOOD.

CHECK OUT MY PURCHASE LINKS (which always take me ages to compile) AND MAYBE BUY BOTH OF THESE??? BECAUSE THEY DESERVE SO MUCH MORE RECOGNITION. THANKS.


Have you read any of these books? What other diverse books have impacted you in a good/powerful way? Any books that really made you THINK after you finished reading them? Do you have recommendations for books dealing with similar topics than these two? Let’s chat in the comments!

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23 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Dear Martin (so impactful!) and Juliet Takes a Breath (so queer!) // two incredibly powerful and diverse books

  1. Lovely reviews, Jackie! I’m so glad you enjoyed both of these books so much! I haven’t read Dear, Martin, but heard fantastic things about this book – stories like this one are so, so important and I’m so glad to see many new releases dealing with these kind of subjects lately. The Hate U Give was such a powerful book and such an important one as well, I hope you’ll read it soon! As for me, I shall read Dear Martin AS SOON AS I CAN.
    Juliet Takes a Breath also sounds quite great, I have to admit it, I love books with good character development so I think I wouldn’t mind the slow, non-existent plot in that one.
    Great reviews!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Marie! Oh yes, I completely agree! If The Hate U Give is anything like Dear Martin, it’s very likely going to end up on my “favourites” shelf as well! AND I SHALL READ THUG AS SOON AS I CAN 😂

      Tbh the (almost) non-existent plot isn’t even that noticeable if you’re invested in the character! Juliet felt very relatable to me so I just wanted to keep reading her story and about her personal development! I really hope you’ll enjoy both of these books if you ever pick them up! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great reviews!! I feel that these are two books that I would adore!! I love books that send out powerful messages like this, and I absolutely loved THUG! It was so powerful and had such a loud voice! Juliet Takes a Breath sounds really refreshing too, and like self discovery, authors, feminism, SOUNDS PERFECT!! I WILL READ THEM AS SOON AS I CAN!!

    Great post!! XD

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love love love Dear Martin and it was one of my favorite reads of the year. It impacted me and made me want to become involved with Black Lives Matter. I’m not sure where to start though, but that’s part of the process.

    I haven’t read Juliet Takes A Breath, but I really want to pick that one up. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. As for recommendations, I’m going with I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. With a Mexican main character, focus on family/culture and a lot of surprising plotlines, this book blew me away and is another favorite of the year for me.

    Some others I’d recommend are All American Boys, Piecing Me Together, North of Happy and The Smell Of Other People’s Houses. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesssss, I felt the exact same way! We’ve had lots of discussions about the BLM movement in class as well and it’s just been such a wonderful experience to talk about it and get involved! I definitely want to do more ❤

      I hope you'll enjoy it if you ever pick it up! It's very character-driven so if you're into that, I'd definitely check it out! And thank you SO SO much for all these recommendations! I haven't heard of many of these but I'll make sure to check them out and give them some love! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Powerful mini-reviews, Jackie! ♥️ I’m so glad you enjoyed both of these diverse books! I haven’t read Dear, Martin, but there are fantastic things going through the blogging world about this book… these kinds of stories are so important and I’m glad to hear it was just a plain good read too!
    Juliet Takes a Breath also sounds great and I love books with good character development so the slow, non-existent plot may work for me too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh these are all books I really really want to read!! I feel like I could really connect to Juliet Takes A Breath as a queer PoC and it just generally seems awesome? And god I got so frustrated with some of the things that happened in THUG and I’m 100% sure I will feel that in Dear Martin — but I’ll love it! Great review!! 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

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