Thursday, March 22, 2018

The 57 Bus

Image result for 9780374303235By: Dashka Slater
Location: NF 920 SLA
Genre:  True Hate Crime- Teenagers- LGBT

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

Using information garnered from interviews, social media, public records, and surveillance videos, journalist Dashka Slater expands - in an unbiased manner - on her article published in the New York Times Magazine in January of 2015 to create the full story in book form.

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.

In November of 2013 in Oakland, California, an agender teenager riding the 57 bus was set on fire. In an instant – with a flicker of flame and a reckless lapse in judgement – the lives of two teenagers were changed forever.

Sasha is a white teen from a middle-class family who attends private school. In terms of sexual orientation, Sasha identifies as neither male nor female. Slater capitalizes on the opportunity to give a comprehensive introduction on the myriad terms used to describe a person's gender, sex, and sexuality. While touching on Sasha’s fascination with language, Slater gently segues into an explanation for the pronouns an agender person prefers.  

Richard is a black teen who attends public school and lives with his mother, Jasmine, in a crime-riddled neighborhood.

Even though Richard is an all-around good kid, he makes one tragic mistake. He holds a lighter to Sasha’s skirt, thinking he’ll just give the sleeping Sasha a scare. But Sasha awakes with their clothing engulfed in flames. Shortly thereafter, Richard is faced with the prospect of being tried as an adult for his crime. 

Compassionate in its exploration of two sides of a story and noteworthy for its emphasis on empathy, The 57 Bus is an impressive work of non-fiction that belongs in the hands of every teenager and adult. - Hannah Grendale- 

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