Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed

By Dashka Slater

Hardcover edition

Publisher Macmillan Imprint Farrar, Straus & Giroux ISBN


Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed

In stock


Crime: Hate Crimes,Discrimination: General,Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use,Language: Homophobic Slur,Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur,Language: Strong Language,Violence: Suicide

From the New York Times–bestselling author of The 57 Bus comes 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?

Not funny. When a high schooler started a private Instagram 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.

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 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?

Author’s note and content warning. “A Note on Sourcing.” Endnotes. 
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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Journalist and author Slater once again achieves another level of introspection about society through the lens of teen behavior. While The 57 Bus dealt with hate crimes and the juvenile justice system, her newest nonfiction deals with social media and school districts. In 2017, a racist social media account was outed in a small school district in Albany, CA. Followed by a handful of students, it targeted Black girls in the school and posted race-based memes for what was described as "edgy humor." What followed was a multi-year interrogation of prejudice, teen behavior, school response, and punishment that ended with adjudication in the courts. Wanting to tell a balanced story, Slater sought to interview as many involved families as possible and while not all of them sat for interviews, the book includes court documents, statistics, testimony, and more, which are included in the back matter. The book is an honest accounting of the event couched in a societal reckoning of free speech versus hate speech. Its length accounts for a full chronology with one flaw in its approach: sectioned into 15 parts with prose chapters titled, rather than numbered, and several unexpected poems, it creates unnecessary breaks in the intense narrative. The shocking reality that Albany could be any town is what sustains the rabid interest in seeing how the story plays out since it touches on many aspects of contemporary culture. VERDICT This is a well-timed page-turner due to Slater's investigative reporting and must be read, shared, and discussed. Make this a priority purchase.-Alicia Abdulα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Nonfiction High Plus (Grades 9 & Up)

Nonfiction High Plus

Nonfiction High Plus (Grades 9 & Up)

For Grades 9 & Up

In today's classroom, Common Core is king and this level helps support the need for quality nonfiction for teen readers. These stimulating informational texts invite teen readers to question assumptions and engage in high-order thinking while providing examples of excellence in research and presentation. The 14 books in this category will attract browsers as well as report-writers. May include some books written for adults.

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Diversity, Mature Readers, Nonfiction, Biographies, History

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