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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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By C. E. Wilson on 11-15-17


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!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mary Burnight on 02-21-18

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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