The 57 Bus

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

By Dashka Slater

Loved by our collective!

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.”

Richard set someone on fire. Even worse, he may have done so because that person is gender-queer, which would legally make it a hate crime. However, this gut-wrenching event and its aftermath, which unfolded to national interested in Oakland in 2013, may not be as clear cut as it may at first appear. Slater guides us through the story with nuance and compassion, challenging our understandings of what it means to be arrested for a violent crime in a juvenile criminal justice system which disproportionately engages with black and brown youth. What would justice look like for Sasha, the sweet and quirky white teen who spent painful weeks in a hospital burn unit. What could justice look like for Richard, the sweet and quirky black teen whose impulsive decision forever shaped the lives of both families involved?

Read for: An engaging and accessible intro to non-binary genders, they/them pronouns, and critiques of the criminal justice system. This book would make an excellent gift for liberal parents who unsure of how to engage in these conversations!

CW: Someone is set on fire and while not incredibly graphic, it is difficult to read.

Esmé, Firestorm Collective member

Product Details

305 pages
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (10/17/17)
5.9 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches


stonewall book award, yalsa award

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