At a Glance
Title: The 57 Bus
Author: Dashka Slater
Published: October 17, 2017 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime, LGBTQ
Goodreads Rating: 4.21
“One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.
If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.”
If you know me you’ll know that I hardly ever read non-fiction books. One of the goals I gave myself for 2019 was to read more out of my normal genres and Non-fiction November is the perfect time to execute on that goal.
I hadn’t read of The 57 Bus until I was roaming the internet for some good non-fiction books to add to my November reading list. The synopsis itself didn’t give me a good idea of exactly what the story entailed but it peaked my interest just enough to go ahead and give it a shot and man am I glad I did.
Sasha is a agender teenager in Oakland Calforina. They go to a small private school and is obsessed with public transport. Sasha has Asperger, but is smart and has a good set of friends. They take Bus 57 home everyday from school. Richard is an African-American teenager with a rough past. He goes to Oakland High School and is attempting to change the outcome of his life. He’s recently decided he’s going to graduate and has started to see his grades go up. He’s goofy and slightly immature for his age. He also takes Bus 57 home from school.
On the particular day in question Richard, goofing around with his cousin and friend, light Sasha’s skirt on fire. Sasha is left with 20% of their body covered in 1st degree burns. Later, Richard recounts never realizing that it would actually flame up.
This book follows the story of these two teenagers and the events that lead up to their fateful day. One teenager would be left learning to walk again and the other would be worried about spending the rest of his life in jail. But this book is so much more than just the events themselves. This book highlights so many different issues in the most informative way possible. I learned a ton about sexual preferences. I never really understood what the difference between agender, asexual, etc. I also gain a big insight into the juvenile detention centers, specifically in California.
Without going down the rabbit hole of what is my thoughts on both these two subjects, just know this book will make you think! It’s written beautifully, with actual IM conversations, real interviews with those surrounding the two teenagers, the man who helped save Sasha’s life. The book itself is the kind of non-fiction book I like to read, it’s unbiased. Written from the perspectives of both the main people involved in the story but also unlining everything with facts. Slater did an amazing job researching this book and I think everyone should read it, especially young adults! The book has won multiple awards including:
- The Stonewall BOok Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award,
- YALSA Aware for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist.
Get the book HERE, because its a ★★★★★ for me!