The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives is a young adult non-fiction novel written by Dashka Slater. It was published on October 17, 2017 and it consists of 320 pages. The awards and nominees for the novel were:
- ALA Stonewall Book Award – Winner.
- Northern California Book Award.
- YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist.
- CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best.
- Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year.
- NYPL Books for the Teen Age.
The 57 Bus is about a teenager named Sasha who was set on fire by a teenager named Richard. He was arrested the next day and after claiming that he is homophobic, even without really knowing what “homophobic” means, he is charged with a hate crime. The story focuses on race, gender, class, and the justice system.
I chose to read this novel simply because of how interesting it sounded to me. At first, when I read what the story was about, I had forgotten that the title mentions it is a true story, so it really grabbed my attention when I realized it wasn’t fictional.
I would recommend this novel to fifth graders and up and I would read it as a group. I find that novels that deal with society issues, race, gender, and just the world that we live in need to be shared with everyone. When it comes to real life issues and real life events like in this novels, it’s something that I want and should learn about. Reading novels like this with my students as a group is a great way to teach them about them.
For a read aloud, I would especially read:
- Pgs. 5 – 6, “Richard’s Crime”.
- Pgs. 17 – 18, “Sasha’s Interest in Language”.
When people hear the word “non-fiction”, they tend to think it’s boring. The 57 Bus is written in a narrative form and it has short sections throughout the whole novel. The story does a wonderful job in taking a true story and writing it in a style that will not only capture people’s attention to read a non-fiction novel, but also grab young adults attention to read a non-fiction novel. It is especially successful since the novel is a young adult novel, which is good since we want more young adult readers exposed to these types of young adult non-fiction literature.
I was really impressed with Dashka Slater’s style of writing that I believe helps capture the attention of young adult readers. I can tell that that she didn’t simply write a novel that was based on a true story, but put effort into creating a writing style that is attention grabbing, especially for young adults. I want to explore more of her novels, even if they aren’t necessarily in the same genre or even style. I want to explore more non-fiction novels that have a unique touch to them just like Dashka Slater had for The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives.