The 57 Bus

Caleb Olinger
LifeAtStart.com Reporter

The 57 Bus is a book based on a true story. The events are told from interviews and news reports on the subject. The book goes by first name for anyone involved to protect at least some of their identity but all the materials used are all public record.

The events that took place happened on November 4th, 2013. Sasha, a white, high-end, gender-queer, senior in high school, was taking the 57 bus home and fell asleep during the ride. Richard, a black, low-end, straight, senior in high school, and two of his friends notice Sasha is a boy wearing a skirt. In an attempt to pull a prank on him, they try to light Sasha’s skirt on fire with one of their lighters. It goes terribly wrong and Sasha’s whole skirt goes into a blaze and he gets severe burns all over his legs. Richard is then faced with life in prison because of the hate crimes that come with his original sentence.

Now I enjoyed the book, the author did a pretty good job telling everyone’s story. The book however had some things in it that I believe were very biased. Now this wouldn’t make me upset most of the time but the book tries not to seem that way and does it anyway. What I mean by that is Sasha pretty much feels like the main character. He is at the start of the book, grammar is changed around so he is referred to as they/them, and a lot of useless information about them is thrown into the mix.

All Richard gets is a chapter to himself and nothing else really. After his chapter he has very short parts in the book. As for Sasha they get a lot of, this is what they did after what happened, but it just seems as if it’s just trying to make Sasha look like the hero of the situation but really did nothing but get better and forgave Richard. All the other stuff like a ball they went to, or their friends’ stories were really unnecessary and was just a way to avoid Richard’s side of the story.

The book as a whole is terrible but it’s still a good read. A lot of things I didn’t know were used and explained well in the book. So if you can past all of the they/them pronouns and want to learn about the situation I’d suggest picking it up.

I learned about this book from the book club at Start High School. We vote on books at the end of every month and meet every other Wednesday from 3:00 to 4:30 in Ms. Wit’s room. For more information contact me at my email Caleb222333@gmail.com. We are reading the Book Thief this month and I can’t wait to discuss it with you.