Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce


Nic Stone

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Dear Justyce Characters

Quan Banks

Quan Banks, whose full name is Vernell LaQuan Banks Jr., is a 17-year-old African American boy and the protagonist of the novel. Quan has been imprisoned for shooting and killing Officer Castillo but, unbeknownst to… read analysis of Quan Banks


Justyce is an African American boy a year older than Quan and the recipient of most of Quan’s letters in the novel. The boys were childhood playmates and had several advanced classes together, but while… read analysis of Justyce


Martel is Quan’s first mentor and the leader of Black Jihad. He’s a tall, clean-cut Black man who likes to crack jokes—but the boys in his gang revere and fear him. Martel was inspired… read analysis of Martel


Dwight, the novel’s primary antagonist, is Mama’s abusive live-in boyfriend and Dasia and Gabe’s father. Though he’s not a big man, he’s powerful and violent—he regularly leaves Mama covered in bruises or in… read analysis of Dwight


Mama is Quan’s mother, as well as the mother of Quan’s step-siblings Dasia and Gabe. She had Quan with Daddy but had Dasia and Gabe with her abusive live-in boyfriend, Dwight. Quan… read analysis of Mama
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Doc is Quan’s tutor in prison. He taught Justyce at a private high school in Atlanta, which is how he ended up becoming Quan’s tutor. Doc is an African American man with piercing green… read analysis of Doc


Daddy is Quan’s father. He’s been serving a 25-year prison sentence since Quan was 11 and only appears in the novel in flashbacks—specifically, Quan’s recurring nightmare of the night that Daddy was arrested. Daddy… read analysis of Daddy


Trey is one of Quan’s best friends in Black Jihad. He’s two years older and, like Quan, he’s Black, has an incarcerated father, and his mother is absent and neglectful. The boys meet when… read analysis of Trey

Liberty Ayers

Liberty is Quan’s caseworker’s intern—though the caseworker never appears in the novel, and Liberty seems to be on Quan’s case by herself. She’s a gorgeous young Black woman and a sophomore at Emory University… read analysis of Liberty Ayers

Jared Christensen

Jared is one of Justyce’s best friends. They were classmates in high school during the events of Dear Martin and are now classmates at Yale. In Dear Martin, Jared was obnoxious, entitled, and… read analysis of Jared Christensen


Dasia is Quan’s younger half-sister; they share the same mother, but her father is Dwight. Quan throws himself into caring for Dasia, who’s five years younger, and he also cares for her little… read analysis of Dasia

Attorney Adrienne Friedman

Adrienne is SJ’s mother, and she’s also a lawyer who agrees to take on Quan’s case. According to Justyce, she has a lot of experience with cases like Quan’s in which a… read analysis of Attorney Adrienne Friedman

Officer Tommy Castillo

Officer Castillo is the white police officer whom Quan is accused of shooting and killing; he died on the night that he and Officer Tison came to Martel’s house to break up a noisy… read analysis of Officer Tommy Castillo


Tay is Quan’s counselor while he’s in prison. She’s a Black woman and is much easier for Quan to connect with than his last white counselor was. This is in part because she seems… read analysis of Tay


Manny is Quan’s cousin; he’s deceased in the novel’s present after being shot by an off-duty police officer during the events of Dear Martin. He’s a year older than Quan and lives in… read analysis of Manny

Aunt Tiff

Aunt Tiff is Manny’s mother and Quan’s aunt, though he only meets her once. She and her family live in a wealthy part of Atlanta, and the one time that Quan meets Aunt… read analysis of Aunt Tiff


Gabe is Quan’s younger half-brother; they share the same mother but his father is Dwight. Quan takes it upon himself to care for Gabe, who’s seven years younger, and Gabe’s older sister, Dasiaread analysis of Gabe

Mrs. Pavlostathis

Mrs. Pavlostathis is an ancient, fiery Greek woman who lives next door to Daddy. She frequently insists that she is Greek, not white, and she is the only person who doesn’t give young… read analysis of Mrs. Pavlostathis


SJ, which is short for Sarah-Jane, is Justyce’s girlfriend and a fellow student at Yale who is well versed in the language and theory of social justice. She doesn’t understand why Justyce has agreed… read analysis of SJ

Ms. Mays

Ms. Mays was Quan’s most beloved teacher in middle school. Unfortunately, she went on maternity leave right before Quan took an important test, and when Quan was falsely accused of cheating on said test… read analysis of Ms. Mays


Brad is a white boy in Black Jihad. He wears his hair in fuzzy locs that Quan and Justyce both think look awful, and he has a grill that spells his name. He befriends Jaredread analysis of Brad


DeMarcus is a fellow member of Black Jihad. He’s a year older than Quan, and when they were in middle school, DeMarcus was expelled for an “anger problem.” Years later, when Quan joins Black… read analysis of DeMarcus

Marcus Anthony Baldwin Sr.

Attorney Baldwin is the local DA, so he’s responsible for overseeing Quan’s case. He’s tall, stately, and Black—so when Justyce meets him, he’s instantly in awe and sees him as something of a role… read analysis of Marcus Anthony Baldwin Sr.

Officer Garrett Tison

Officer Tison is the police officer who shot and killed Manny in Dear Martin. He was Officer Castillo’s partner and appears in one of Quan’s flashbacks. Officer Tison was there the day… read analysis of Officer Garrett Tison

John Mark

John Mark serves as Quan’s lawyer for a short time. He’s young and inexperienced; Quan’s is the first case that Mark will handle on his own. Though Mark is bright and attempts to connect… read analysis of John Mark
Minor Characters
Justyce's racist roommate at Yale. Roosevelt is privileged but unhappy.