Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Bridge - Jane Higgins

Title: The Bridge
Author: Jane Higgins
Publisher: Tundra Books, 2012
Length: 340 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian Fiction
Started: February 9, 2013
Finished: February 13, 2013

From the inside cover:

The City is divided. The bridges gated.

In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overrun the residents of Cityside.

Nik is still in high school and is destined for a great career with the Internal Security and Intelligence Services, the brains behind the war. But when ISIS comes recruiting, everyone is shocked when he isn't chosen. There must be an explanation.

Then the school is bombed and the hostiles take the bridges. Buildings are burning, kids are dead, and the hostiles have kidnapped Nik's friend Sol. Now ISIS is hunting for Nik.

But Nik is on the run with Sol's sister, Fyffe. They cross the bridge in search of Sol, and Nik finds answers to questions he had never dared to ask.

The Bridge is a gritty adventure set in a future world where fear of outsiders pervades everything. A heart-stopping novel about friendship, identity, and courage from an exciting new voice in young adult fiction.

I'll start off by saying my opinions on this book are divided. It's well-written, the characters are realistic and endearing, the plot is original and engaging, but I didn't fall in love with it.

The reason for this is because the author did her job too well here. She wrote a novel about the cruelty and insanity of war, about fear of the other and the unknown, about the dangers of fanaticism...which is all fine and good, lots of books contain these kinds of themes. I love it when books are true to life, but I also expect them to have a glimmer of hope, a way out of the insanity, and I didn't get that here. I don't read books to remind me of the limitations of the real world, I live them every day. I read books to reinforce my hope that certain things triumph and prevail. If I wanted to live cruel reality and nothing more, I wouldn't read at all.

This book is excellent in all areas, but it lacked the one thing I expect books to provide, especially young adult ones, the message of hope.

Thoughts on the cover:
I like it. The juxtaposition between Cityside modernity and Southside squalor, and the menacing look of the bridge itself.

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