Title: The 57 Bus
Author: Dashka Slater
Published in: 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Review: Based on a horrifically true story, The 57 Bus follows an agender kid named Sasha and it tells the tale of how they got their skirt caught on fire on the 57 bus. Using a multitude of resources, from friends and family of the victim and arsonist, to Tumblr posts and text messages, Dashka Slater expertly describes the events that occurred on the bus, the events that led up to the fire, and the occurrences that transpired after the fact. Through this story, we see how not only is Sasha a victim of the people who will never understand personal expression but Richard, the arsonist, can also be a victim of the world he grew up in and a victim of the justice system. It seems that one small action or mistake can change a person’s life and the lives of those around them. The 57 Bus gives readers insight on why someone might make a mistake like this, and it also shows us that sometimes it is just a mistake that should be forgiven.
I absolutely adore this book. Despite the fact that this was a tragedy that occurred, Slater writes it to seem a hopeful story about the goodness of people and the love in communities. I wanted to cry at multiple points in this book, sometimes from sadness but other times from joy. I also had conflicting thoughts about Richard. I really wanted to dislike him because of the awful things that he did, but at some points, I really couldn’t. This book is an easy and quick read as it has poems, text messages, and really short chapters but it is influential nonetheless.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves non-fiction, or even realistic fiction novels. I especially recommend this book to anyone who had heard about the events previously but never knew the whole story. This is also a great book for people looking for more LGBTQ+ representation in literature. I can’t say that this book reminds me of any others because it has such a unique style of writing. If you’re looking for a new book I highly recommend The 57 Bus.