Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed (Hardcover)
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The 57 Bus comes Accountable, a propulsive and thought-provoking new young adult narrative nonfiction book about the revelation of a racist social media account that changes everything for a group of high school students and begs the question: What does it mean to be held accountable for harm that takes place behind a screen?
When a high school student started a private Instagram account that used racist and sexist memes to make his friends laugh, he thought of it as “edgy” humor. Over time, the edge got sharper. Then a few other kids found out about the account. Pretty soon, everyone knew.
Ultimately no one in the small town of Albany, California, was safe from the repercussions of the account’s discovery. Not the girls targeted by the posts. Not the boy who created the account. Not the group of kids who followed it. Not the adults—educators and parents—whose attempts to fix things too often made them worse.
In the end, no one was laughing. And everyone was left asking: Where does accountability end for online speech that harms? And what does accountability even mean?
Award-winning and New York Times–bestselling author Dashka Slater has written a must-read book for our era that explores the real-world consequences of online choices.
About the Author
Dashka Slater is the New York Times-bestselling author of The 57 Bus, which won the Stonewall Book Award and was a YALSA nonfiction finalist. Her fiction includes The Book of Fatal Errors, the picture book Escargot, which won the Wanda Gag Book Award; Baby Shoes; The Antlered Ship, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection and received four starred reviews; and Dangerously Ever After. She is also an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, The New York Times Magazine, and Mother Jones. She lives in California.
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
“The author of the acclaimed The 57 Bus (2017) delves into another complex story involving teens, personal choices, and societal forces . . . Slater’s thorough research includes candid interviews with those on both sides. She accessibly explores edgy meme culture, online hate speech, the students’ social dynamics, a disastrous mediation session, the school district’s actions, subsequent lawsuits, and how individuals were affected post-graduation. Short, punchy chapters offer interestingly varied formats and perspectives. The book will spark deep reflection on degrees of complicity, whether and when to forgive, what contributes to genuine remorse and change, and what parents and educators could have done differently . . . Thorough, thought-provoking, and all too relevant.” —Kirkus Reviews
“In Accountable, Dashka Slater offers a nuanced look at multiple notions of justice while magnifying the impact of racism on those harmed and those that caused the harm. This book is powerful, timely, and delicately written.” —Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times–bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
“Despite the plethora of books, both fiction and nonfiction, that take a stab at exploring American race-relations, I’ve never read anything like this one. Not only does Accountable reach far beyond Black and white, it gives readers—especially young ones—searing insight into the consequences of unchecked biases, both external and internalized. Again, Dashka Slater has gifted us with an immaculate page-turner of a book—made even more powerful by the fact that everything in it is true.” —Nic Stone, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Dear Martin
“Accountable is a gripping look at the various impacts of racism, the gray areas of responsibility, and the boundaries of friendship. This is nonfiction at its finest.” —Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
“An urgent read for every teen who uses social media. Dashka Slater has created a deeply researched, nuanced story about the intersection of old wounds and new technology—and how a few thoughtless moments can undo an entire community. It is an absolute page-turner, more powerful because every word in it is true. Slater is at the top of her game. Don’t miss this book.” —Martha Brockenbrough, award-winning author of Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary