The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater –  Book Review – TW violence

This is a very hard but a very important book for teenagers, based on an horrific event that happened in the US. A queergender teen named Sasha who liked to wear skirts was asleep on the bus home from school when an African-American teen called Richard as a joke set their skirt on fire. Sasha was badly burnt and was sent down a path of hospital stays and operations. Richard was charged as adult with hate crime. What the book does is it explores each of the teens lives, it doesn’t treat either as a statistic or a just as their gender identity or race or social status. It shows that things are often far more complicated that they see, with Sasha and their parents arguing against the type of change against Richard despite the horrible crime.

There is a lot to recommend this book. While it is an extremely hard concept to read about, it is a wonderful, in-depth book which also educates the reader on gender and sexuality, on the concept of hate-crimes and other legal things. It’s hard, but clever, and everyone should give this a go.