Book Review: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

Amazon.com: The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That  Changed Their Lives (9780374303235): Slater, Dashka: Books

Title: The 57 Bus- A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

Author: Dashka Slater

Genre: YA Non-Fiction

Number of Pages: 320

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


The true story behind this book was really interesting, but I had a problem with some of the politics. The 57 Bus is about a young Black man (Richard) who held a lighter to a kid named Sasha’s skirt as a joke on a bus ride. Sasha, who had Asperger’s and identified as agender, suffered severe burn wounds and Richard risked being tried as an adult for the incident.

I had trouble feeling bad for Richard, I know that teenagers (particularly boys) have lower impulsivity and tend to make poor decisions in peer pressure situations, but the book tried so hard to make us feel that the treatment of Richard was unfair and racist and I felt the message was overwrought. I know Richard didn’t mean to burn Sasha but seriously, how could someone be so stupid?

What I really had trouble with was when the book tried to argue that minors should never be tried as adults, and every juvenile offender deserve a second chance. Look, I don’t care if peer pressure plays a role in a older teen raping or murdering someone. Just because they’re young does not mean they deserve your sympathy.

Some teenagers don’t deserve a second chance, they deserve for the justice system to lock them up and throw away the key. I ultimately felt that Richard deserved a second chance, but I had a problem with the generalizing the book did. It felt didactic and took away from the power of Sasha and Richard’s story.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

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