That Dashka Slater is one versatile writer! She's working on a middle-grade novel; she's published picture books and adult fiction; she writes for the New York Times Magazine and is an award-winning journalist; and now she's going to be a published YA author as well!
It all started with a piece that came out in the NYT Magazine late in January, "The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland." Dashka had always had in mind to tell this story for teens at some point—and how could she not, given that the story is about two teenagers, one African American and one agender, who are on opposite sides of an alleged hate crime? It's as though everything we are most talking about regarding teenagers today is encapsulated in one story, and it's very nuanced, full of context and the realities of what it's like to be a teen (and particularly one who is invisible to many people). This is a story that provides lots of windows and lots of mirrors, in the lingo of the diversity movement.
We had recently sold a picture book of Dashka's to Joy Peskin at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, and Joy and Dashka had loved revising together. This NYT Magazine piece of Dashka's was exactly in Joy's wheelhouse—touching on everything she's passionate about as an editor. When the article came out, Dashka told me this was the one she had in mind to develop for teens someday, but of course she wasn't anywhere close to producing a proposal or anything.
No matter. Within 24 hours of the article going live, Joy had reached out to see if Dashka had ever considered writing a YA project about or inspired by the story. Just a few short days later (even with ALA happening in that time, and Joy and her team stuck in Chicago in a snowstorm), based entirely on the article, we had an offer.
THE 57 BUS is slated to release in fall 2017. Huge congratulations, Dashka!