The 57 Bus

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

The 57 Bus

By Dashka Slater

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 case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Blog Discussion: Do you think Richard intended to hurt Sasha? Do you feel Richard’s punishment was appropriate for his actions?

Don’t Forget: In the box for Name, type in your first name, last initial, English teacher’s name, period you have English, and your school (all in a row with no spaces or punctuation). It will look like this: HarryPDumbledore6Hogwarts

If you liked The 57 Bus try reading:

  • Educated: a Memoir  by Tara Westover
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Rating: 6.4/10 (14 votes cast)

4 thoughts on “The 57 Bus

  1. I liked “The 57 Bus” because it changed the way I felt about Richard and the whole incident. When you first hear about the book, Richard seems like a very bad and dangerous teenager, however, when you get far enough in the book, you realize he is not.
    Richard was just a normal teenager that made some mistakes before, and I really think he did not mean to put Sasha’s skirt on fire. However, there is always a line between funny jokes and lethal pranks, and he definitely crossed it.
    I think he was punished the way he should have been and I hope he learns from it, because I truly believe he can be a good person. Lastly, I hope after all of this, Sasha forgives Richard for what he did and that they both live a happy life.

  2. I don’t think it was his intention to hurt Sasha and I do think that his punishment was appropriate for his actions but what I did like or better said understand is that Richard wasn’t alone on the bus he was with his cousin and friend who weren’t exactly trying to stop him, so why didn’t they speak up and say ” I was there too” or maybe tell Richard that if he has to go through this so do they. All in all, it was a pretty good book and I enjoyed reading it

  3. The book the “57 Bus” is about a kid named Sasha, who is Agender, and Richard, a kid from the poor part of Oakland, CA. The story talks about how Richard lit Sasha’s skirt on fire. By the way, Sasha is not the kid’s real name. It is a gender neutral name, but biologically, he is a he. This book mostly talks about the different classifications of gender like Agender. However, the book is overly emphasized on this topic and in my opinion, the books purpose is to spread a political message than to convey the story. By the way, the book used a real event that happened in the story. In addition, it also talks about how Sasha goes to a private school and he has autism. The book also played the point in which Richard accidentally “said” to the police that he is homophobic, which triggered mass condemnation from the Oakland community.
    However, Richard should have been punished for lighting someone on fire, but the book should not have used it as a rational for the author’s beliefs. Also, Sasha’s school held a” wear a skirt day” to commemorate Sasha in which I thought, this is just a way to make people believe in his beliefs and to be an activist for Sasha’s views, when in reality, students need to focus on important things like their education. In conclusion, I think that this a poorly put together story and it is more to convey to the audience of a political message rather than being a non-biased book that people can enjoy. I rate it one star.

  4. When I entered this book, I really wasn’t expecting anything at all. Ever since the beginning, I had a heart towards Richard. He seemed to be a good kid who just didn’t end up with the right people. He seemed eager to try harder to become a better person, and even though many may sympathize with Sasha saying that Sasha is misunderstood, I believe Richard may even have been more misunderstood than Sasha had. I understand why people were supporting Sasha, but only a few supported Richard. They knew what he did was wrong, but they supported him because they knew him and who he was as a person. I don’t think he truly wanted to hurt Sasha, and I believe that he wasn’t truly thinking before he did what he did. Teens can be a bit stupid and reckless sometimes, and sometimes they don’t think ahead. I think that it wasn’t right for Richard to be tried as an adult. I also think it wasn’t fair for him to be hated on because of the things the officers relayed — like him being homophobic. He didn’t understand what he was saying, and people made a huge deal out of something that they didn’t really understand. I also think that him being of color impacted how people reacted. If that was the case, I don’t think it was right. I didn’t think it was necessary to have such a long sentence. He missed the rest of his childhood and he probably felt a lot of guilt. However, I do believe it was right to punish him. He might have been reckless, but it was wrong. He hurt someone in the process, whether accident or not. It also helped him grow as a person, and it definitely had a huge impact on his life.

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