The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus

A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

eBook - 2017
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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 57 Bus is Dashka Slater's true account of the case that garnered international attention and thrust both teenagers into the spotlight.
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9780374303259
Call Number: OverDrive ebook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From Library Staff

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

One bus, one cigarette lighter, two teens and a crime that would change their lives.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter. One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

From the critics

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DBRL_ReginaF Sep 10, 2020

This book is not just about two people who are forever linked by a tragic event. It's also about the history of the LGBTQ community in the US. It's also about the history of detention, specifically juvenile detention, in the US. It is a heartbreaking story but there's also a vein of hope.

SAPL_Teens Aug 18, 2020

I truly could not put this book down. It was an amazing exploration of issues of race, gender and class in this one incident. The fact that it was a true story really hit home for me and I think that there's a lot to talk about in it. This book is important to read because it will make you think about your life differently. 5/5 stars - SAPL Teen Read It & Review Contributor

Aug 11, 2019

An artful, sensitive, compelling story of the intersection of two teenage lives that resulted in tragedy but ultimately in redemption and forgiveness. The structure of the book carries you along for an effortless read while the subject matter challenges your ideas of crime, punishment and true justice.

OPL_MichelleC Jan 16, 2019

I did not know what I was getting into when I started this book. I love reading non-fiction and look at awards lists to provide me with the best options. The 57 Bus was on these lists for good reason.

I was unaware of the tragic incident on the bus in Oakland California in November 2013. Dashka Slater did an impeccable job researching and relating the stories of the lives of all those affected from that huge, adolescent mistake.

This book reignited my fire for juvenile justice reform and sparked a big interest in restorative justice.

There was a lot to learn from the people and their stories:

There are dire consequences to our actions. Think before you act, folks.

Speak your truth and love who you are.

Jan 10, 2019

This was a good account of the crime and the major players involved and I appreciated the depth and empathy she brought to it for all parties.

Jan 06, 2019

This book had additional layers of meaning for me. I rode the 57 bus in the 1960s to Oakland High School. It was the mid-20th century and another time in an Oakland that was changing quickly. We never could have foreseen the future Oakland, which movies like Sorry to Bother You and Blindspotting depict, or envision what would happen on the 57 bus on November 4, 2013.

Have we been catapulted into a world which is not of our choosing? How do we learn tolerance and respect for others?

Thank you to Dashka Slater for presenting as objective a view of this story as possible. Thank you for explaining all of the ins and outs of how people see themselves in the world and how others can see something else and how they react. Nothing is easily explained. There are many stories and each person sees things differently. We are often told a simplified version and are then quick to pass judgment. Hopefully after reading this book, more people will realize that each person is an individual and should be treated as such.

Hillsboro_LorieV Oct 26, 2018

This is a true story about Sasha who identifies as agender, and Richard, an African-American teen, and what happens when a prank goes very wrong on Bus 57. We get a well-rounded look at the characters and their stories. We see how a binary structured world (male/female, gay/straight, black/white, right/wrong) is anything but, and we learn about everything on the continuum. When investigative journalists write nonfiction, I usually like it. This book was no exception. If you liked the podcast Serial, try this.

Oct 25, 2018

This was a heartbreaking read. These true events will pull at you until you can't book the book down. What happened to both teenagers is sad, one for being set on fire and the other for being put in the correctional system for an impulsive teenage system. This shows how far we still have to go as a society, but it also shows how far we have come.

LPL_CentennialC Jul 23, 2018

This book tells the true story of two teens, Sasha and Richard, and the crime that links them. Sasha is a white teen who attended the local private school and identifies as agender, using they/them pronouns. Richard is a black teen who attended the a public school where the majority of students don’t graduate and had lost multiple friends to murder.

On November 4th, 2013 in Oakland, California, two teens, Sasha and Richard were both riding the 57 bus. Sasha fell asleep. Richard and his friends were playing with a lighter. The lighter caught on Sasha’s skirt and they were engulfed in flames. Sasha spent weeks in hospitals for third degree burns and Richard was charged with hate crimes as an adult at only 16 years old, facing life imprisonment.

This story is complicated and captivating, and everyone will who reads it will walk away having learned something. The book is well-researched, full of interviews with family, text message records, and even poetry interspersed throughout. There are nuanced discussions about gender and sexuality, racial justice, and what it means to really have reconciliation. I've heard lots of folks who said they didn’t like to read non-fiction, but they couldn’t put this book down.

JCLChrisK Jul 19, 2018

The 57 Bus is a marvelous work of investigative storytelling. Through extensive interviews, documents, and fact gathering, Slater has found the people behind the headlines. Sasha, who fell asleep on a bus to wake up on fire. Richard, who made an impulsive decision in an attempt to be silly. The family, friends, mentors, and teachers who loved them both, who shaped them before the incident and supported them after through burn trauma on the one hand and prosecution on the other. All are depicted with compassion, as complicated and nuanced people. Slater uses a variety of styles to accomplish her task, a collection of short chapters that both express and explore.

Express and explore humanity.

It is a thoughtful, compelling, and moving book.

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OPL_MichelleC Jan 16, 2019

“We have a history, a long history in this country, of people and cultures who have been treated badly because of their race, their gender, their religion, and all the protected classes that we have identified under the law. So if somebody commits a heinous crime against somebody because they are a member of a protected class, that is very purposeful discrimination. It is important to show that this is the kind of behavior that will never be tolerated.” -Nancy O’Malley (less)

OPL_MichelleC Jan 16, 2019

“Being agender simply means that the person doesn’t feel they are “either a boy or a girl”. “

OPL_MichelleC Jan 16, 2019

“Never let your obstacles become more important than your goals.”

JCLChrisK Jul 19, 2018


There are two kinds of people in the world.
Male and Female.
Gay and Straight.
Black and White.
Normal and Weird.
Cis and Trans.
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Saints and Sinners.
Victims and Villains.
Cruel and Kind.
Guilty and Innocent.
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Just two.
Just two.
Only two.


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Feb 24, 2018

green_tiger_733 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 99


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