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Publisher's Summary

This riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, and punishment tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California.

One teenager in a skirt.

One teenager with a lighter.

One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

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.

©2017 Dashka Slater (P)2017 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

This was a terrific, compassionate and even handed look at a shocking crime involving two young people. The book carefully explores the identities and challenges of both teenagers, the problems and potential solutions of the justice system, and societal shifts in gender acceptance. The performance was also very good, clear and solemn but never dull. Highly recommend!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An Unusual True-Crime Event...Beautifully Written.

This true-story book blazes with terrific writing in a successful attempt to describe the highly unique and brilliant victim who was/is an agender teen so interesting and exciting a human being that I fervently wish I knew them (they, them, their being Sasha’s preferred pronouns). The teen was asleep on a public bus home from school when a random teen (Richard) set fire to Sasha’s skirt which exploded into flames almost instantaneously since it was of a filmy fabric. This resulted in much hospitalization, pain, skin grafts etc. for one while serious legal consequences occurred for the other. Was this a cruel hate crime or the impulsive unthinking act of a playful prankster intending just to singe the skirt’s hem? Added to the excellent reporting here, author Dashka Slater also included thorough info re the juvenile rehabilitation system...overall, a fascinating book in my opinion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Incredible story!

I learned so much about humanity as I listened to this story. Had no idea about the transgender and non-gendered world in which we live. I think after listening to this I have a much deeper respect and compassion for those who do not conform to societal norms regarding their gender or sexuality. I would recommend this book as a high school must read. Maybe it would help people understand the beauty of individualism in our young people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, too SJW at times

The crime that happened to Sasha was horrific. “They” were set on fire while taking a nap on a public bus. Instead of focusing on the crime, the investigation, and the outcomes, this story tends to veer off into lectures about non-binary sexuality and gender identity. Instead of adding empathy for the victim of an already horrific crime, these lectures end up alienating readers who are less interested in identity politics as they are in true crime.

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surprisingly good

I had to read this as a summer read and tbh I feel more educated about the trans people. I am a bi person and its kinda inspiring.

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read this book

finished this book really quickly. Great read, love how you are given both sides of the story in a very objective way. Thinking of using this book to highlight social justice and health issues in my pre-licensure community health nursing class.

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Glad I chose this book.

Sadly, I do not read nearly enough NF books, so I took a chance with this one. It is a fabulous read and the "characters" were well described and the author made it easy to see both sides of the event. I also feel I understand more about the LGBTQ community and am less likely to judge people after reading this book.

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The story is interesting but it locks content.

the story is written as is somebody is watching from a distance. Maybe as news reporter. Not a well written book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful