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Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice
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Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,402 ratings  ·  559 reviews
The young adult adaptation of the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestseller Just Mercy --soon to be a major motion picture starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson and now the subject of an HBO documentary feature!

In this very personal work--adapted from the original #1 bestseller, which the New York Times calls "as compelling as
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Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Delacorte Press
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Julie Suzanne I read both books simultaneously--a chapter of adult, a chapter of Young Readers and took extensive notes. I explain them in my review, so check out m…moreI read both books simultaneously--a chapter of adult, a chapter of Young Readers and took extensive notes. I explain them in my review, so check out my review for more specifics. :) (less)
Nicole Magner I am reading it now with my seventh graders and they are really enjoying it. Some of the material such as the legal terms and explanations can be a bi…moreI am reading it now with my seventh graders and they are really enjoying it. Some of the material such as the legal terms and explanations can be a bit challenging for struggling readers, but I have been reading everything as our read aloud to eliminate that problem. I say go for it! It is very eye opening, moving, and powerful for my demographic of students.(less)
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Julie Suzanne
A perfect choice for a One School, One Book read or a "community read." I'd prefer, "One country, one read." The adult version is a life-changer, and I read this one and the adult version at the same time, reading a chapter at a time from each book so that I essentially got the story twice in 2 days. Here's how they compare:

--This version is much more concise; details were omitted, vocabulary sometimes changed (i.e. anomaly --> mystery), some sections rearranged, and longer sentences sometimes s
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Shauna Yusko
Should be mandatory reading. Pair with Dead Man Walking. And We’ll Fly Away for a fiction pairing.
Author read the audio.
Excellent, but still made me sick about how we treat people in this country.
Kara Belden
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic adaptation for young adults! The chapters about incarcerated youth are enlightening, shocking, and basically unbearable. This book is equal parts important and inspiring!
Lydia Anvar
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Using the power of personal narrative, Bryan Stevenson recounts his years working as a lawyer for Death Row inmates in the Deep South. He uses the case of Walter McMilllan, a black man wrongfully accused of murder, as a sort of case study by which to study the prejudices and injustices that lurk behind Death Row.

Along with the following the harrowing six-year process to free McMillan, Stevenson also pulls from other experiences to discuss other atrocities within the prison system: individuals c
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Gracie McLean
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished another book! Lol. Just Mercy was honestly a really, really great book. I read it for English class and I'm not gonna lie to you- I picked it because there is a movie out and I figured why not read the book before the movie. I expected it to be like any other book I read for class-kinda boring but still good enough to gain my interest. I am almost 100% sure I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own as a free read book but I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy ...more
Erin
PLEASE read this book. It is essential. Our prison system (and also sometimes our judicial and legal systems) is a racist disaster. When I read this book I wanted to punch things and cry and I wonder HOW people can be so cruel. But also I felt hope. And that is a gift.
Jenny
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We have been quick to celebrate the achievements of the Civil Rights movement, and slow to recognize the lasting damage of marginalization and subordination done in the Jim Crow Era."

Can we stop making high schoolers read things like Catcher in the Rye and start having them read things like this? This book will make you re-think your stance on capital punishment and mass incarceration. It brings to light the level of outrageous racial injustice still running rampant in our justice system.
Than
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Mandy Keel
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very hard and emotional read. There's so much I could say, but I don't think I can put everything I'm feeling about this book into words. I'll just say, I'm very thankful for Bryan Stevenson and the work he has done. ...more
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Wow, what an incredible book. The work this guy has done in challenging economic and racial inequalities in the legal system is just mind boggling...
Alicia
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paula
Interesting (and true) accounts of falsely imprisoned (or imprisoned for longer than "necessary") people in Alabama, written by a lawyer serving near where To Kill a Mockingbird is set. Stevenson (very admirably) devotes his life to helping imprisoned people.

Instead of complaining about "institutional racism" and teaching criminals that they're victims, I wish more emphasis was put on teaching boys who grow up in crime-ridden areas to obey the law, to be honest, and to realize that children dese
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Britta
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. If I had to pick a mandatory read, this would certainly be a contender.
Divya
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's really sad but really good. It's one of the best books I have ever read. It isn't too long but it is definitely a harder read because it was "adapted for young adults." ...more
Martine
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for all high school students, if not all Americans.
Chris H
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it to my 13 and 15 year olds. They were angered and saddened but agreed that it was important that they know about inequities in our justice system.
Adeline
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
When I read this book there were several times I had to remind myself that it was nonfiction. It was not because of the way it is written, it was because the events that happened and many of the things Stevenson discusses. For instance, the conditions of prisoners, the death penalty and experiences that death row prisoners have, and the people-specifically children-that were incarcerated. It was so hard to believe that people just a few years older than me could be treated so horribly by the law ...more
Heather Johnson
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my TBR for quite some time, and I am SO glad I read it, this month especially. I have long been dismayed by our criminal justice system, especially as it pertains to the rights of women and children, the death penalty, and wrongful incarcerations. Bryan Stevenson helps to highlight those many injustices and how he and his organization are helping to not only overturn wrongful convictions but also reduce sentences and change the laws regarding crimes involving minors and wom ...more
Ellie (bookmadbarlow)
I listened to Bryan Stevenson narrate the audio of this and found it to be a very enlightening look at the justice system in America.
He mainly details one case of Walter McMillan, but intersperses with quicker snippets of other cases where justice was not served correctly.
It was obvious that this version was more for Young Adults, the language used was simplified, but this didn't detract from the powerful nature of the story.
There are some tough sections to listen to so this book wouldn't be for
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Laura
I missed watching the movie because of the stress of the pandemic combined with teaching but I still wanted to learn more so I bought the book.

Wow! It truly opened my eyes. I knew there were problems with the judicial system (I have many family members who are in the police or part of the prison system.) I knew that the prison system is not racially balanced but I hadn't realized how badly.

There were so many things I wanted to highlight and so much I had to ponder. Now I'm not sure I want to see
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Jill
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely heartbreaking. The stories told brought me to physical tears. I’m so grateful there are people like Bryan Stevenson out there, making these issues known and fighting for criminal justice reform. I’m glad we’re taking steps as a country and states, but there is still more to do. I think this is a very accessible book for teens-the language and sentence structure is straight-forward. There are some beautiful sentiments at the end on what it means to be human.
Anne Maddox
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mercy is most empowering, liberating, and transformative when it is directed at the undeserving." But aren't we all, more than a little, undeserving? A sobering and important read. I definitely recommend it. ...more
Annie
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
Read the adult one last year- read this with some of my students this year. It was very similar to the adult one just certain parts were redacted I think. There were still plenty of tough scenes that we had to talk through with the kids and give trigger warnings before we read the chapter.
Seán Lee
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great field trip coming up.
Sierra
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't wait to hear him speak in October ...more
Robert C
This book shows how wrong the people in prison and death row are treated. It was really good but sad at the same time. It was also a bit boring to read. Pretty much on every page there was a name of either a person, a prison, a court, or something similar to that, which made it kind of hard to read. There's just way too many names, that it just made it boring to me and made me get lost a lot. ...more
Renee
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should be required reading for high school students.
I have had teens tell me they are required to read a nonfiction book over 150 pages and there isn’t much in YA.

Here you go, teachers. Assign this
Michelle Leonard
Such an important and well-done book. Perfectly accessible for middle grade and up information about the disturbing bias in our justice system. A must-read for all 12+.
Ami Pendley
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ll write a review after I finish rewriting my will to give all my money to the Equal Justice Initiative.
SaraJane
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pg. 14 "....how we create injustice by allowing our fear, anger, and distance to guide the way we treat those who are more vulnerable."

pg. 17 "Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done. I am persuaded that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I've come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the respected, and the privileged among us. The tru mea
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Rachel
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Did you know there was a version of Bryan Stevenson's bestseller Just Mercy that was adapted for younger readers? I didn't realize that until this arrived in the mail -- I must not have been paying good attention the day I ordered it. Oops! I got it to read with the book club hosted by Musings of Jamie this month, and I tried to get the adult version from the library once I realized my mistake, but too many people were in line ahead of me. So I read the copy I had.

And I'm glad I did. Even this
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Sarah
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just Mercy is one of those books that I believe everyone should read. I started reading this book over my summer break, and I am currently reading it with my high school seniors. While I read the YA version, I'm sure the original is just as powerful and will leave as much of an impression on its readers.

Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer, tells us of his story working to free Walter McMillian, a wrongly-convicted man, off of death row in Alabama in the late 1980s. While telling us Walter's story, Stevens
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Play Book Tag: Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, 5 stars 1 9 Aug 01, 2020 04:47AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias again
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“My work has taught me a vital lesson. Each of us is more than the worse thing we've done. I am persuaded that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.” 3 likes
“We are all implicated when we allow others to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, an entire nation. Fear and anger can make us cruel and abusive. We all suffer from the absence of mercy and we harm ourselves as much as we victimize others.” 2 likes
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