**This book happens to be one of the books featured in the Battle of the Books competition this year. If you read it or if this book sounds interesting to you, please recommend it to your tweens/teens and sign them up for the event!**
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater, is exactly the type of book that I love – and that we all continuously need to read. You may have heard news headlines in the past few years discussing this tragic event and formed your own opinions, but Slater urges you to look closer:
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.
I am passionate about prison reform – especially within the Juvenile system. Reading this book broke my heart but also challenged my mind to think beyond good and bad. Slater’s writing should appeal to Teens and adults alike. The chapters are short and the information is interesting but not overwhelming. She does an amazing job at revealing information slowly and pacing the story so that you see the point that she is trying to make about the justice system and how it fails our youth.