Updated: Jul 31
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BANNED BOOK REVIEW BY A CITIZEN OF LARAMIE COUNTY
The 57 Bus
The 57 Bus
Reviewed by Jen Solis, Cheyenne, WY
The 57 Bus is a great example of non-fiction and its my favorite type of book to read because it helps me understand life experiences unlike my own.
The story focuses on two teens whose lives intersect on the 57 bus. Sasha is a non-binary teen who wears clothing society considers both male and female. Richard is a black teen who is smart but struggles in school. When Richard sees Sasha on the bus wearing a skirt he decides to light it on fire as a prank. Unfortunately, the skirt was very flammable and Sasha is seriously injured. Richard is charged with a hate crime after officers interrogated him with no lawyer or adult present. Richard feels intense remorse for his actions and immediately writes a letter to the victim and their family apologizing, but the public defender assigned to him keeps the letter secret to avoid the implication of guilt. As a result, Richard is given a stiffer sentence in his plea deal. Sasha and their real-life society family, upon learning of Richard's remorse, wish that the punishment had not been so harsh, and that other options could have been pursued.
The book helped me better understand the concept of non-binary, provided an excellent example of how punitive the legal system can be against people and children of color, and made me think about the unintended consequences of hate crime legislation.
I highly recommend this real life narrative to anyone, including teens. I would also note that there was no explicit sexual content in this book.
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