Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Girl at the Back of the Bus” as Want to Read:
The Girl at the Back of the Bus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Girl at the Back of the Bus

by
4.59  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  99 reviews
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 preg
...more
Kindle Edition, 310 pages
Published February 8th 2021 by Bookouture
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Girl at the Back of the Bus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Girl at the Back of the Bus

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  218 ratings  ·  99 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Girl at the Back of the Bus
Tina
This is a historical fiction, and this book switches behind present day (Ashlee-The Granddaughter) and 1955 (Mattie). This book pulled me in from the first page, and I could not put it down. I found this story about two strong will black women that overcome so much, and I loved it so much. This book was well-written, and the characters where so good. I fell in love with the characters. I have to say by the end of the book I was crying because of how great this story was. This story touched my he ...more
Jessica | JustReadingJess
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The Girl at the Back of the Bus is one of my new favorite books. The story was very moving and impactful. There is so much emotion and important descriptions of the life of a black woman in 1955 and present day. I loved the format switching between the past with Mattie’s story and present day with her granddaughter, Ashlee’s, story. Mattie’s struggles as a teenager raising a baby and trying to improve her life were very touching. I think this story is especially important to read with all the ra ...more
CYIReadBooks (Claire)
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Where do I start? For the first time, I am left speechless after reading a book. Speechless because the narrative just grabbed me by my core and thrust me back in time to a period where racial tensions were high and a divisive line stood between people of color and whites.

The Girl at the Back of the Bus is an emotional tale of how 16 year old Mattie Banks defied all odds after witnessing the courage and tenacity of Rosa Parks. It was that encounter with Rosa that changed the course and fate of M
...more
Sue
If I could increase the ratings on this I would.

A charged, emotive read. Very impactful.

I’m going to say “in my day” we had history lessons that involved the teaching of slavery and how the black people were treated plus the pregnancies that weren’t acknowledged, the segregation of whites from blacks.

This reminded me of how I felt then in my younger days to how I still feel today and how I raised my kids, plus stood up against diversity.

My soap box over!
This story was intense and sourly beautif
...more
Ivana BM
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-kindle
3.5/5*

With two povs, this books jumps through past and present, talking about young Mattie back in 1950's and her granddaughter Ashlee in today's America. I have to be honest and say that I didn't particularly enjoy the present day story, it was a bit bleak and I actually didn't get to care about the characters at all. But the past part was great. Interesting, touching and sweet and sad at the same time. It pointed out to a time of a history I knew not much about and I loved it. It was a story a
...more
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook
I really enjoyed this book. Told in two timelines and by two different points of view this is my favourite type of book and historical southern fiction at that. While I thought Ashlee's parts were okay I absolutely LOVED Mattie's chapters and wish the whole book was just about her...it would have made this a five star read for me. ...more
Suzette Harrison
Nov 19, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
For readers of The Help, Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours comes a heartbreaking and inspirational novel about redemption, family secrets and the spirit of survival found at the hardest time.

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 th
...more
The Book Review Café
The Girl At The Back Of The Bus by Suzette D. Harrison is a rare gem of a book, an extraordinary example of historical fiction at its best. The story is one that’s captivating, beautifully written, rich in detail, and filled with emotion. Sixteen-year-old pregnant and unmarried Mattie Banks,  flees her family home, believing she will bring shame on her family. 

The Girl The begins when Mattie Boards the 2857 bus and is witness to an event that will dramatically shape the course of history for Mat
...more
Sarah
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a story that alters between past and present. In the past we get to meet and know Mattie as a girl and in the present day, Ashlee, Mattie's grand-daughter.

Growing up, Mattie doesn't have the easiest of times. Living in the 1950's where if you weren't white, you were made to feel like a second class citizen. I was outraged at the way that she was treated because of the colour of her skin. Sadly even in present day through Ashlee, we see that whilst some things have changed, racism as well
...more
Cathy
Told in alternating chapters, The Girl at the Back of the Bus depicts how one small but significant act of defiance inspires three generations of black women to take control of their lives and rise above the discrimination they face.

I admired the clever way the author had Ashlee learn her grandmother’s story, initially just catching up on the story we as readers have already been witness too but then learning, alongside the reader, what happened next. It was also fascinating to see the parallels
...more
Emma Shaw
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
"My right mind knew my life and so much more depended on my silence, but clearly I wasn't finished being that girl from the back of the bus." 


A story of an ordinary family that is told through the eyes of the matriarch, Mattie, in 1950s Alabama, and her granddaughter Ashlee, in modern-day Georgia, exploring themes of motherhood, dignity, prejudice, injustice and the fight for equality. 


Opening with Mattie taking the same bus ride as Ms. Rosa Parks on that infamous day she refused to give up her
...more
Janilyn Kocher
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Harrison writes a thoughtful book about a grandmother/granddaughter. Mattie is a teenager in trouble who endures adversity, but finds the path through it with unwavering support from her family. Ashlee undergoes her own trials, but has the faith and endurance flowing through her heritage. The story switches from modern day to late 1950s. My favorite character was Ransome, especially in the coke bottle scene. It's an engrossing story. Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the early copy. ...more
Sue
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Mattie Banks story starts in Montgomery Alabama in 1955 when she is 16 and ends in Georgia where she is dying It is told as a dual time line story from the perspective of Mattie in the early part and her granddaughter Ashlee in the present day. The story lines are meshed together perfectly and we not only get to know Mattie as a young girl but through her granddaughter, we learn the effect that her life had on the following generations of her family.

1955 - Montgomery Alabama. Sixteen year old Ma
...more
Robin Loves Reading
"Miz" Rosa Parks touched the lives of many people over the decades. A wonderful wife, already showing strength while living at a time when civil rights was being fought for, she unknowingly touched the life of sixteen-year-old Mattie Banks. It was 1955 and Mattie's life was in great turmoil and one bad decision was about to lead to an even worse one. When Mattie witnessed Rosa Parks dignity, strength and determination, she was so impressed that she didn't follow through on what would have been a ...more
Bridget
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
...more
Musings on Living
The Girls at the Back of the Bus is a beautiful multi-generational story that is completely captivating from beginning to end.

The story opens with a pregnant sixteen year old Mattie Banks boarding the 2857 bus in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955. Little does she know as she clutches her suitcase to herself that she is about to witness a historical act of bravery by Rosa Parks. This remarkable defiance gives Mattie her own strength and courage to fight for herself and her baby, all the while battling s
...more
Natalie "Curling up with a Coffee and a Kindle" Rampling
I love a good dual timeline!
The two protaganists, Mattie and Ashlee were immensely likeable, and I was cheering them on throughout the book.
This book really highlighted to me how racism is such a huge part of history, and all it takes is a handful of people to start to demand change. The way the story of White/ Coloureds segregation was told was so effective and incredibly poignant and the medium of the dual timeline was used with immense success.
I expected a teary ending and that didn't happe
...more
Wendy Robey
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love a dual timeline story and this one is great. The stories of Mattie and Ashlee, grandmother and granddaughter, eloquently explain the strength needed by black females, both in the 50’s and today, to achieve their dreams. It’s a fascinating read with engaging characters, and I loved how Mattie’a story was being presented as a memoir to aid Ashlee’a future choices.
Renita D'Silva
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Powerful. Haunting. A story that makes you think, question, change. One thar made me cry. Just beautiful. A story for our times. Do read this one. Exquisite. Extraordinary. A stunner of a read.
Diana
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I can’t remember the last time that I fell in love with a story like this. Turning the last page, I wanted to hold this one close to my heart and just spend some more time with the characters.

The story begins with 16 year old Mattie sitting at the back of the bus in the segregated ‘colored’ section. She is holding a suitcase in her hands as her thoughts run something havoc. 16, pregnant and unmarried, Mattie knows that her life is about to change, and not in a positive way. Her mama’s dreams of
...more
Rachel Matthews
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Girl at the Back of the Bus is set in the Deep South of America across two timelines- the 1950s and the present day. In the 1950s storyline we follow Mattie who at just 16 years old finds herself pregnant with limited options as a black girl living under Jim Crow. In the present day timeline, we follow Ashlee a promising black lawyer who is getting increasingly tired of dealing with microaggressions at work and being overlooked for promotion by her white, male bosses. The two stories eventua ...more
Minx
The Girl at the Back of the Bus is a multigenerational story that followed two characters who I absolutely fell head over heels in love with. I was equally enthralled with Mattie’s story as I was with Ashlee’s and putting down this book was not even a consideration for me. I loved how the timelines for each of these characters were introduced separately and stood on their own but were also woven together to show how the past influenced the future.

Mattie’s story was very powerful! Not only with
...more
Joanne
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Girl at the Back of the Bus is such a compelling book. In it, we read about the lives of two black women. In 1955, the famous actions of Rosa Parks have a profound effect on young Mattie Banks. Seeing her courage in standing up to injustice gives Mattie the courage to stand up for herself. In the present day, Mattie's granddaughter Ashlee is finding that being a black woman still brings challenges and injustices. When she hears that her beloved grandmother is dying, she immediately goes home ...more
Latonya Bell
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked from the very first page and finished this book in two days! Be prepared to laugh, cry, and find that your mouth is unexpectedly dropping open! This vividly written work of historical fiction is a MUST-READ!
Pamela Scott
https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...

When I started to read this, I realised I haven’t read any book which deal with Rosa Parks and that era of American history which I found a little strange, so I was looking forward to getting lost in something a little bit different. The book uses a technique that’s featured in a lot of books I’ve read recently, moving between the past and present. I like this structure and the way it gradually reveals two plots and the links between them. In this case, th
...more
Karen
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an emotional and engaging story, showing how the actions of others can affect our lives, told through the viewpoints of two strong black women Mattie and Ashlee, a grandmother and granddaughter, the two stories running alongside each other.
Mattie Banks thought she had no choice in the path she was taking until she sat on the back of a bus one day and witnessed Rose Parkes’ refusal to give up her seat. This made Mattie realise that she didn’t always have to do what was expected of her and
...more
Misfits farm
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing

In 1955 Rosa Parks stood against the rules, or did not stand if you know what I mean- she sat instead and didnt get up as she “should have done” for a white person getting on the bus. This book has Mattie Banks on the same bus, seeing what happened and taking her own stand which changed her life. She was on her way to get rid of the baby she knew she was carrying but seeing Rosa’s actions made her change her mind. In present day Ashlee is a lawyer and being passed over for promotion so takes a c
...more
Caroline Kerdouci
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
It’s 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, and the girl sitting at the back of the bus is the true sheroe of this novel. Mattie Banks is on her way to Miss Celestine, a woman known to help girls like this sixteen year old rid themselves of the “innocent evidence of fornication” but an altercation on the bus, involving Miz Rosa changes the course of Mattie’s lifetime. This historical moment is portentous, leaving the reader in no doubt that Miz Rosa’s actions will impact not only on Mattie, empowering and ...more
Inkslinger
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it
The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D. Harrison

ARC provided by Bookouture and Suzette D. Harrison. All opinions are mine and freely given.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub


02-08: '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
...more
Jaffareadstoo
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama and sixteen year old Mattie Banks sits on the bus with her battered suitcase, her head full of troubles and her heart heavy with a momentous decision reached. Then, on the bus, she witnesses something extraordinary which will shape her destiny, and that of her family for generations to come.

In present day Georgia, corporate lawyer, Ashlee Turner is at her own crossroads, both in her career which seems to be stalling, and in her relationship with her boyfriend whi
...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Single Mother
  • My Mother's Secret
  • An Ordinary Life
  • The Shadow Man
  • The Girl from Silent Lake (Detective Kay Sharp #1)
  • Her Guilty Secret
  • His Hidden Wife
  • An American in Paris
  • The Lost Mother
  • Shadow Falls
  • A Baby on the Doorstep (The Orphans of Hope House #2)
  • The German Girl
  • The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
  • A Killer's Daughter (Agent Nadine Finch, #1)
  • Lost Souls (Detectives Lockhart and Green #3)
  • The Boatman's Wife
  • The Girl from the Mountains
  • The Girl from Berlin
See similar books…
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary "career" began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Mrs. Harrison pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou's ...more

Related Articles

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut novel, Black Buck—which Colson Whitehead calls a “mesmerizing novel, executing a high...
71 likes · 8 comments