In 1961, riding a Greyhound bus was more than a way to get from one place to another. For some, the destination was freedom.
Told through the eyes of a white teen with a thirst for adventure, the novel takes readers on an aching journey of self-discovery at a time when figuring out the world meant facing devastating truths about where you lived and what you loved. Thirteen-year-old Billie Sims loves watching the sleek, silver Greyhound buses pass through Anniston, Alabama, reading the bus schedule the way some kids read the funny papers. She loves home, but she yearns for more, hoping and dreaming about taking the bus into her future. However, with parts of the South refusing to enforce segregation laws and civil rights activists refusing to back down, Billie soon learns that seeing the world is not as important as seeing what is right in front of her. Kidd writes with insight and restraint, creating a richly layered opus that hits every note to perfection. Readers who know the history will cringe at Billie's naiveté; those who do not will surely find themselves re-evaluating their worlds. For them, Billie’s coming-of-age could serve as a cautionary tale about where America once was and why we all need to stay vigilant, lest we return—as current headlines attest.
Beautifully written and earnestly delivered, the novel rolls to an inexorable, stunning conclusion readers won’t soon forget. (Historical fiction. 9-13)