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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.6 out of 5
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  • Brilliant!

    This book is brilliant! It’s injustice; heartbreak; love; abuse of power; tenacity; fighting against the odds; and it’s a triumph as the story is incredibly captivating. I love how Rosa Parks’s iconic historical stand has such a profound effect on Mattie’s decisions and life. There are two POV’s; Mattie’s and Ashlee’s. I was hooked on both in equal measures. The story unravelled at just the right pace and I couldn’t wait to find out how it was all going to end; so much so, I read it into the early hours. I found myself in a perpetual state of anger at the injustice of how racist and misogynistic a society these characters were living in. I’m even more angry when I think that we still do in many ways and I feel that we should never stop challenging it. If ever there was a story that reminded a woman of the power and abuse of the patriarchy, this is it. I admire the themes tackled and unfortunately, their relevance today is just as strong. The fight to end racism and misogyny goes on. This story is also heartwarming and heartbreaking in abundance. Ashlee and Mattie’s close-knit family made me smile and there are moments where a few tears were shed. If you love a powerful, exceptionally told novel with strong and emotive themes that will have you clenching you’re fists, this is it! Excellent top read!

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  • Heart wrenching and inspiring

    Wow , if you read one book in the next few months make it The Girl at the Back of the Bus. It is beautifully written and is a story of courage, determination and grit of Mattie and her family. It is told from both the past and the present and the past was so full of fascinating history and you feel you are on that bus with Mattie and Rosa Parks. Ashlee , Mattie's granddaughter is at a cross roads in her life and comes home to see her ailing Grandmother. I laughed with both Mattie and Ashlee and I cried with them both. Both a heartwarming and heart wrenching story; don't miss The Girl at the Back of the Bus. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an inspiring read that I won't forget anytime soon.

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  • Solid writing, split narrative, warm family ties.

    'The Girl at the Back of the Bus' by Suzette D. Harrison is a historical fiction story that follows the paths of two women dealing with racial injustices decades apart. Told in a split narrative across two timelines, the book begins centered around Mattie Banks. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she boards a bus, hoping the driver will carry her away from disaster. Purely by chance, she happens to witness an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks. Inspired, she decides to go a different direction with her choices, but dangers and difficulties seem to rise up around her. Meanwhile, in the present, Ashlee Turner.. dismayed by prejudice and its effects on a career she has worked so hard for, heads home to see her beloved grandmother while she still can. When she finds a hidden trove of letters containing a family secret, she too finds herself at a crossroads. I was certainly enraged at the injustices portrayed here, likely in part because though so much time has passed since Mattie's tale, not nearly enough has changed. Normally I find it hard to read detailed accounts of the horrible things people do to each other in the name of some perceived right they think they have and I didn't like seeing those things here either. However, I find it incredibly important to keep talking about them.. because I fear that if we as a society ever allow ourselves to forget the things that have been done.. that are still being done.. we will fail to find them as horrifying as we should. And frankly, it seems we're on the verge of failing that anyway. That being said, the writing is clean and crisp, the structure is sound, and the author does an excellent job of maintaining those two separate voices. There are no surprises here. Of course, there doesn't need to be a twist in everything, but I did come across a couple of spots where misdirection could have made the difference in keeping the storytelling itself, more interesting. I've read that reviewers were "enthralled and riveted".. but for me, it was just pretty good. I believe the sheer quality of the writing carried the story for most people, but the storytelling aspect was actually outmatched by the technical skill of the author. Quite possibly, the events themselves inspired others to rate the story higher, and that makes absolute sense to me.. but in trying to be objective about the overall presentation, I feel like it could have been more balanced. Yes. The things these two women experienced were unjust and should never have happened, but I actually think it could have packed a much bigger emotional punch than it did. I did enjoy the characters immensely though. From Dorothy and Mattie, to Ransome and Sadie.. they were painted vividly, full of warmth and determination. Nonetheless, as I said.. there are some very important topics discussed here.. and that alone might make this story a worthwhile read. It's a good reminder of a terrible time that is not so far behind us and a healthy wake-up call not to dismiss current situations still facing people today. (I received this title as an ARC. All opinions are mine and freely given.)

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  • Human Rights/Rosa Parks

    The author weaves a timeless look at human dignity. Rosa Parks was one of the first women to stand up for her human rights. Mattie Banks on the same bus witnesses this courageous act and her life is endlessly altered. Pregnant and scared, but Mattie is now is given the resolve to fight not only for her baby , but her rights as a female black person who deserves equal opportunities and basic human rights. Ashlee Turner is the granddaughter of Mattie and even though she is an attorney and seems to be happy and settled, she is anything but that because her innermost self is in turmoil. She decides a trip home is needed to help her make some decisions about her life choices. Ashlee discovers her Grandmother is dying, but does she have the resilience to endure this loss? While home she uncovers secrets and heart-wrenching secrets come to light. We watch these characters grow from one era to today and we truly hope that our issues of one lifetime are not continually carried over without being resolved or as a country not learning from the past to the present to make our future triumphant. I definitely would recommend this book! I received a free advanced copy from NetGalley and these are my willingly given thoughts and opinions.

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  • Fabulous & Uplifting

    In this fabulous work of historical fiction, Mattie Banks boards the 2857 bus and is witness to an event that will dramatically shape the course of history for Mattie and that of future generations. Pregnant at 16, Mattie has left home, waiting for the bus driver to take her away from her despair and shame. She witnesses a woman, Rosa Parks commit an act of bravery that will change Mattie's life. The Girl at the Back of the Bus tells the story of three generations of black women. Told through the voices of Mattie and her granddaughter Ashlee Turner, the story spans the 1950s to the present day. With its excellent plot and pacing, I had difficulty putting this book down between chapters. The Girl at the Back of the Bus was such an absorbing read, and I relished every moment. This riveting, spellbinding story was weighty and Suzette D. Harrison brilliantly weaves this stylish tale with skill and flair delivering on warmth, drama, injustice, and prejudice in such an impactful way. The book tackled so much including racial segregation, pregnancy, interracial relationships, family dynamics, living and death and the author deftly drew me into the engaging tale. The Girl at the Back of the Bus was a moving read and the strength and support from family and friends were conveyed so well. A very emotional read at times, there were also some lighter, amusing moments. A beautiful story of courage, respect and love, it's definitely a book that will leave you feeling uplifted. Suzette D. Harrison is a new name for me and I will be in the queue for whatever else she has in store. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

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