Blog Tour and Book Review – The Girl at the Back of the Bus
The Girl at the Back of the Bus
by Suzette Harrison
Published: February 8, 2021
Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Historical Fiction
“I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
This is an exceptional book. Historical fiction has to be done very well in order for me to enjoy it and this is done very well. Switching back and forth between Mattie and Ashlee, we learn the history of a family and a struggle. Mattie has to deal with Jim Crow racism while figuring out how to deal with a pregnancy at 16. Ashlee is struggling to see the point of devoting herself completely to a career, where she’s been passed over for advancement due to the color of her skin. The author’s voice is authentic and she presents these complex and infuriating issues with strength, empathy, and humor. I loved both main characters and felt invested in their lives. Mattie is a spit-fire who will stay with me for a long time.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read this book.