Everyone seems to know what they want to do after high school except Cliff Sparks. It’s senior year and Cliff has no idea. Not only that, he is also dying to have a girlfriend. As a first person, sometimes unreliable, narrator, Cliff takes you through his life as a senior - the ups and downs of dating, standing up for friends, his dreams and aspirations, and finally, finding his calling. Not only are there awkward high school social situations to wade through, there are family financial stresses that cause tension between Cliff and his volatile, unemployed father. How does one teenage boy juggle work, school, family, social life (or lack thereof) and hope to graduate?
On Monday, November 4, 2013, the lives of two teenagers intersected on the 57 bus in Oakland, California. As one of the teens dozed during the hour-long ride home after school, the other decided to set the first’s skirt on fire. This is the compelling true story of two teens whose lives are turned upside down by this tragic event. We follow their stories as one tries to heal, forgive and move on and the other navigates through the criminal courts with remorse hoping for a second chance. All this is cast against a backdrop of questions about race, gender, identity, and class. Was it a hate crime? Will there be justice for both the victim and the perpetrator?
Taiwanese-American teen, Mei, is about to start freshman year at MIT. Her super-traditional family has always pushed her to get into a good college, become a doctor, and marry the right guy (preferably a Taiwanese-American boy). She’s trying her best to not be like her brother who chose his own path instead of following their parents’ strict ideas for what defines success. Mei does not want to be disowned like him, however, at college, she is discovering that what her parents want for her does not match up with who she is. As an extreme germophobe, she can barely get through basic bio labs with all the animal dissections involved. Plus, she might be falling for Darren Takahashi who is not Taiwanese, not even Chinese. So, how will Mei juggle her parents’ expectations and her own dreams for her future?