Cover Image: Accountable


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Member Reviews

There's lots of talk about how social media is bad for students/teens. This book is the prime example of why yes, indeed, social media can be absolutely devastating for teens. There was a small group of teens in California who created a private InstaGram account and then they used it to post what they thought was "edgy" humor but was actually racist content. Of course the content leaked and some of it featured their peers. Things exploded quickly and it ended up in a huge mess with expulsions, suspensions, and lawsuits. All of the teens involved, including those who did the posting, those who followed/liked/commented, and those who were posted about were irreparably harmed. Adults who tried to help also got caught up in the fray. It was terrible. And I see the same sort of poor decisions still being made by teens today so it is vital that this story be told; Maybe it will help some of them change their social media habits. CW: racism, bullying

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As Slater states in one of the appendices, the intention was "to tell a complicated story from multiple perspectives." This title certainly delivered on that, as it was very informative and complex. As with Slater's previous book "The 57 Bus," the format and structure of this book consisted of short sections and chapters; while that certainly helps create quick readability, it also results in the narrative feeling choppy and disjointed at times, especially considering some chapters are poetry and some are prose, while also some are standalone and some are single threads that stretch across chapters.

Overall, this book was really powerful and important, and I think for younger readers, the short chapters and "quick hits" will be effective. The story is universal and become ever more important in our day and age. As a school library media specialist, this would be a great addition to my collection.

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There’s a lot here. A lot. ‘The 57 Bus’ took a big issue and narrowed the lense- made the big issue personal and real. This book does the reverse, it’s starts small and explodes into a big issue. All of it is here: social media, bullying, racism, gender, friendship, forgiveness, and the nature of justice. Some people will love this book, it will appeal to their activism. Do parents need to read this book? Yes, I’d say it’s more important for them than for their children. Can this book be excerpted and used to facilitate important classroom discussions? Absolutely! It’s well written and hugely informative. Does it instill hopefulness? I’m not so sure it does. Post reading, I feel like a wrung out washcloth: worn.

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This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our list for order next year and will recommend it to students.

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Accountable by Dashka Slater is a non-fiction account of the aftermath of a racist Instagram account created by a high school student.

The account creator made posts on this private account that targeted classmates and teachers. Some of these posts included references to nooses, the KKK, lynchings, and gorillas. The creator, as well as its 14 followers, were disciplined by the school district once these posts were discovered.

The discipline caused an uproar from students, parents, and community members. Part of which was a sit in organized by students. The account followers were brought in, while the students in the school protested. In some cases, not so peacefully.

The author does a fabulous job of telling both sides of the story. She tells the perspective of the creator, as well as the people who were referenced in those posts, the victims. As one can imagine, this wasn’t something that disappeared. It followed these people for a long time and I’m sure it will continue to follow them for the rest of their life.

As a teacher, I find that young people sometimes have a hard time grasping the permanence to some of their actions. In this case, the creator realized that he was in the wrong. However, he also blamed part of it on being 16 and stupid. I think this is a great example to our youth to show them that their actions do matter. Whether they start the issue or follow it. With today’s social media, it’s so easy to witness hate and do nothing about it. It’s easy to say hateful things without having to physically face the person you’re being hateful towards. I hope this book teaches some of our youth the consequences of social media.

I do also enjoy the format of this book. The perspectives are constantly switching and the chapters are SHORT. For young readers, I believe this makes the book interesting and puts it into digestible pieces. It’s certainly a book I’ll recommend to some of my higher level readers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. All in all, this was well told story.

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Our library circulates Slater's book The 57 Bus and I often book talk it to students because I the way that Slater handles the storytelling of such a terrible event with compassion, fairness, and thoughtfulness. I think that The 57 Bus is an important read for teens.

I feel similarly about Accountable. I know that I will be booktalking this in the future a lot.

I think teens will appreciate the brief chapters that tell the story and the interludes that explain concepts. I feel like this story is very readable not just because of the chapters, but because of the timely topic. I know that at the school at which I serve as a librarian student are concerned about cyberbullying, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and more. I predict this title will pique curiosity.

I would also recommend this book to teachers at my school. I think the way that Slater did her reporting shares more of the student point-of-view than perhaps most classroom teachers get. I think this is a vital window into the lives of the students which we serve.

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It will never cease to amaze me how uncaring and damaging people can be to one another. This one really dives into uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and actions that need to be addressed.

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As a junior high school librarian, there’s an incredible amount of media literacy value in this text. The biggest strengths of the story is its universality; similar scenes play out in schools across the country again and again as students regularly commit analogous social media atrocities and adults struggle to manage the fallout.

One of Slater’s talents is developing the antagonist in such a way that the reader feels a degree of sympathy, or at least understanding, for the full cast of characters, not just the victims, an important component when writing for teens. The writing is compelling - it often feels like watching a car crash, and then sticking around the scene to see what happens. Each chapter is very short, and the teens’ voices are loud and clear, both of which make the text motivating for students.

The text is perfect for high school ELA or social studies curriculums. Relevant teaching points/themes from the text include:
* Information shared to social media can have life altering consequences
* A private account doesn’t ensure that things will remain private
* The internet is full of racism, subtle and explicit, and exposure to it can alter how teens perceive the world
* Humor at the expense of others’ dignity and humanity isn’t funny
* It’s easy to be bamboozled by slick, but inaccurate theories disguised as “scientific fact”

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Dashka Slater's second book, Accountable, is a nonfiction narrative for young adults about social media account that tore apart an entire town in California. The book explores events surrounding the account from multiple points of view -- the perpetrators, the victims, school staff, and parents. It deals with tough but timely topics such as racism, sexism, and of course, accountability. While reading the book, I was shocked (and saddened) to see how insensitive and/or careless some teenagers can be about racism and sexism, even after friendships were destroyed and their community was torn apart.

I know that some reviewers have commented on the length of the book (496 pages), but it went quickly for me. I think it's because most chapters were pretty short. Plus, any book that covers as many points of view as Accountable does is going to be lengthy.

Overall, I am looking forward to this book's release so I can add it to my high school library.

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The true story of a racist social media account in a high school and the teenagers it affected. I thought this was really interesting and is a good story for students to be aware of. The writing style wasn’t my favorite - I thought the chapters were too short. Overall, a really interesting story!

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Wow. A very complex story to tell and I thought the author did a good job of showing everyone’s perspective. So many twisting threads to pick through and unravel. I felt like I could really understand each person’s point of view and understand the tremendous impact events had on their lives.

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This book should be required reading for anyone remotely connected to the education world in today’s society…teachers, administrators, superintendents, restorative practice staff, school staff, school board, elected officials, law enforcement/safety officers, community partners, counselors, parents and of course, students. Did I miss anyone? If I did, please consider them included. We all need to be aware how far reaching our actions can have in today's communication age. Students (everyone else for that matter) may not understand everything on a first reading but this will introduce and hopefully encourage an awareness of their own actions and impact on others.

As an educator, this is a book that I didn’t realize how much I needed to read. I’m aware of how devastating social media can be for students but the issues covered in the book were assembled in a cohesive and easily digestible format. The writing was superb, truely. It's creatively written, it's engaging, and flows well. This book includes perspectives of all sides of the situation which really allows for deep exploration into the issues of race, student relationships, social media, mental health, and more. The message was intense (I actually had to take a few breaks to think before I could continue). Overall, the lessons in this book are essential for our society.
Please read this book. Please give this book to any and all of your friends.

Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for an electronic ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

I knew from the title that this was going to be a true story, but I did not realize it would go into so much depth covering all sides of the story. This was really an impressive feat of journalism.

The boys who were involved with the material posted in social media clearly had no idea what an impact it would have, nor how quickly they could lose control of the account they thought was private.

The students of color had no idea that other students whom they considered friends had the types of attitudes that were expressed, liked, and agreed with on Instagram.

The book detailed what happened and, more importantly, the response to what happened and the aftermath. Other school districts who experience similar situations could learn a lot from how things were handled by the school system in the book. There is a lot of food for thought here—how well did they handle the situation? Was just served? Who were the victims? Who benefitted more from the outcome, the victims or the perpetrators (called the “harmers” in the book).

Every school library should have a copy of this book, and every school administrator and school board member should read it.

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This is the second book by Dashka Slater, the author of THE 57 BUS. I really liked that book, so I was eager to check out her next narrative nonfiction. Unfortunately this one did not live up to its predecessor, although there were still parts I liked.

- The chapters are short and easy to read. (The subject matter isn't "easy," but the language is simple and accessible.)
- The author makes an effort to interview tons of people and present everyone's side of the argument.
- There's a lot of research about race and racism that explains it very well.
- It's very in-depth.

- The book did not need to be 500 pages. I think it should have been 350-400 pages. There is excessive detail in parts.
- There are occasional poems in between the nonfiction parts that I found to be out of place in a nonfiction book. Did the author write these herself? It's unclear. (There was a poem by one of the victims that I thought was good to include, but I'm talking about the random other poems.)

I recommend this book if you are interested in the case presented, otherwise you might get bored by the excessive detail. I definitely recommend Slater's first book over this one, but there was still a lot of positive here.

Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Slater's previous YA nonfiction, The 57 Bus, was a masterclass in nonfiction. Fast-paced, laser-focused and gripping with educational information and personal narratives doled out in ways that make connecting the dots easy.

Accountable is the exact opposite. It drags on and on and ON. Slater covers the stories of two dozen teens on both sides of the racist account until they all bleed together. The most page time is devoted to trying to understand the motivation perpetrators but, unlike the perpetrator in 57 Bus, these kids still aren't sorry and still don't get it. They keep complaining about how they shouldn't be punished their whole lives for a "mistake". The account creator even say that the victims of his racist posts deserved a payout for what he and his friends put them through, but doesn't see why that should come out of his money.

And fine, this could be an attempt for the author to be as objective as possible, but coming back to them over and over across 500(!) pages as if a dead parent, depression, or having lower status in their friend group is important information, when the victims are only getting a few poems and almost no personal stories outside the scope of what was done to them, makes this an unpleasant slog.

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Accountable should be a mandatory read for every student, parent, and teacher. This real life story about a social media account gone wrong is a warning to everyone that what they do online can and will have consequence. The factual reporting of what happened prior to the Instagram account being published and the aftermath that ensued is a fascinating read. The book itself, at times, reads like a fictional story. There were moments I had to remind myself that is was a true story and these events actually happened. Dashka Slater does a really nice job of showcasing all sides of the story. Her research and care towards this very sensitive story is impeccable.

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In 2017 in Albany, CA, a Instagram account was uncovered that displayed racial and sexual hate posts of Albany High School students. The account was created by an Albany High student. This non-fiction book examines the consequences for the victims, the creator of the account, viewers of the posts, the families, friends, school, and community that witnessed and/or played a part in the situation. Timely and unfortunately this is a situation that continues to take place with no clear resolution or understanding of how to stop the behavior.

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From the author of THE 57 BUS comes another timely, thoughtful, and well-written account of one of the most sensitive issues facing young adults and educators today—racism in schools. ACCOUNTABLE doesn’t shy away from asking hard and necessary questions and offers thought-provoking responses from participants on both sides of the story, bolstered by research about race, bullying, and restorative justice. This is a must-read for any educator. I look forward to adding it to my classroom library.

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Wow---what an incredibly powerful book. If I were a high school teacher or parent of a high schooler, I would assign this book as soon as it's published. I don't remember hearing about this story when it first broke, but it's a power testament to how hate can be so easily spread and quickly take over while wrecking so many young lives in the process. It is written in a very easy to read format with short chapters that are perfect for teenagers who are easily distracted. I just can't say enough about what a powerful book this is. Most adults would benefit from reading this too. It's so easy to be a keyboard warrior nowadays and kids especially don't release that what they post even when they think it is private can and does have real world consequences.

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Dashka Slater brings her fact-centered, journalist's eye to exploring the impact of a racist social media account on the teens involved. The incident took place at a high school in the San Francisco bay area in 2017. This story shows that not only could this happen anywhere, even "liberal" communities aren't immune. She allows all of the teens, those who participated in the account and those who were targeted by it, to tell their own story. The effects of the actions (or inactions) of the adults involved, from families to school administrators to mediators, are discussed in great detail. Slater gives context to questions of responsibility, accountability and liability and doesn't attempt to flatten out the complexity of the story. This is a must read with good lessons, especially for adults who find themselves helping teens manage - or avoid - similar situations.

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