Review: The Bridge by Jane Higgins

Review: The Bridge by Jane Higgins
The Bridge
Southside Novels #1
by Jane Higgins

Genres: Futuristic, War, Young Adult
Publication date: October 9th, 2012
by Tundra Books

Format: Hardcover

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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 but 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, but no one will talk about it. Then the school is bombed and the hostiles take the bridges. Buildings are burning, kids are dead, and the hostiles have kidnapped Sol. Now ISIS is hunting for Nik.

But Nik is on the run, with Sol’s sister Fyffe and ISIS hot on their trail. They cross the bridge in search of Sol, and Nik finds answers to questions he’d 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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I went into The Bridge expecting something that involved more secret agents but what I got was an intense dystopia that did not hold back on the realities of war. I have to say, with two good dystopias on my recently read list (this being one of them), I might just be ready to give dystopia another chance. I had thought I was done but The Bridge reminded me why I had once been so thrilled by this genre, why I had sought it out so much.

The Bridge, simply put, is a phenomenal read and one more people need to know more about. It tells a tale of war and it doesn’t sugar coat the casualities. It’s fucking brutal and oh my god I cannot.

Okay. I iz done with my moment. I am back and I am thinking about pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows because unicorns.

Obviously, this book isn’t perfect because it’s hard for a book to be perfect but I really appreciated that it wasn’t some watered down version of a dystopia. There are two sides to the story and while one side of the war is made out to be worse than the other, people are divided everywhere and things are not picture perfect. In fact, no one is completely brainwashed either. They may be brainwashed into believing that the other side deserves what happens but that is the case for both sides and that’s what happens in war! People who never get a chance to see the other side of the story will probably continue to believe that the other side is the one to blame for all their problems.

In this story, we also have a young boy who isn’t out to change the world, what he is out to do is bring back his best friend’s younger brother who got kidnapped by a bunch of traffickers. He isn’t out to find out that his entire life has been a lie and that there is more to the war that he has been told there was. When he finds himself amongst the resistance, the people who want something more than a war, he starts to learn more and finds himself in a situation where he trusts his supposed enemies.

Nik is a fantastic main character and before I say anything else, I just want to say that Nik is a person of color. That made me so happy because heck yeah to diversity. Nik is a fantastic character and I adored reading the book in his point of view. He is completely original and it’s fantastic to see how loyal and dedicated he is to people he cares about. I adored seeing his transformation over the course of the book and I enjoyed watching him become the young man that I loved him to be by the book.

There were times when the story was a little hard to follow because I was drifiting off but those moments were few and far in between and also happened when I was staying up late into the night to read this book (because late at night seems to be the only time I’ve had to read lately).

I think one of the big things that stood out to me in this book was that, like in The Glass Arrow, this story does not place the responsibility of an entire world on the shoulders of a 17 year old  (the main character in The Glass Arrow was younger but that is beside the point). There are already people fighting for change, people who aren’t complete assholes! There may be certain weird dynamics within the group, but as a whole they are still united and fighting for a common cause — for the betterement of the living standards of their people– and that is beautiful.

The world is also well developed and I just really liked seeing the differences between the two different sides of the city. We get some background into why this war came to be and there are explanations! Plus, there is a map included if you ever get confused about where things are and how many bridges there are (answer= a lot).

There is a slight romance but… it’s so WELL DONE. It’s barely there, and given the nature of the story, that is so important because Nik has so many more important things to be focusing on.

The author does NOT hold back. The story starts with tragedy and the ending isn’t completely full of flowers and rainbows and happily ever afters. It’s not depressing, by no means is it that, but the author reminds us very painfully that this is war and war is never fair.

This is a well written book and it reminds me so much about why dystopia was a genre I become fascinated with. This is what dystopia should be like, not about 16/17 year olds saving the world, not about petty romances and drama.

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good dystopia to read and to other readers like me, who have, over time, become vary of the genre. If this book is anything to go by, it seems that this genre has a LOT more to offer.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Impact
Overall: 4
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    I completely agree that dystopia is a genre with so much more left to explore so I’m excited to hear this adds some originality to the mix. Not to mention, world-building is my deal-breaker in any novel so the fact that it is well-done in this excites me to no end. I haven’t heard of this one before but I’m certainly adding it to my TBR. Gorgeous review, Rashika! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…ARC Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

  2. says

    This one was not on my radar at all Rashika! I’m wondering now how I managed to miss it since i’m usually such a big fan of dystopia’s and have my eyes on them (like a hawk) months in advance. I’m so happy you liked this one that it was a more ‘original’ addition to the dystopia genre.
    Lily recently posted…Bone Gap: ReviewMy Profile

  3. says

    Okay, I might actually not read this book because war is something that I shy away form…I mean, I don’t even watch war movies! And from your review this sounds realistic and brutal and absolutely heartbreaking! I can see why you ended uo loving this and I love the fact that it didn’t make the main character the sole saviour of the world. I’m just done with that trope! I think that’s partly why I don’t read dystopia anymore but books like this remind me not to give up on it. I kay not read this particularly because war. Scary war. But I will be more open to try a new one out now! Awesone review Rashika! :)
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  4. says

    WOW. I want to try this now! I’d literally heard nothing about these books until I got the sequel for review, aaaand, well, I never read the first and the sequel was unsolicited, so I just kind of left in alone in a dusty corner to cry. (I am so mean.) But this soo makes me want to see if I can find the Bridge at the library or something. A GOOD dystopian?! I NEED IT IN MY LIFE.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…In Which I Interrogate Myself About My Reviewing TacticsMy Profile

  5. says

    Nice to hear this wasn’t a cookie-cutter dystopian story. I think I got a little tired of those. I like the idea that this is more about one character’s personal experience dealing with aftermath of a war. Wonderful review, Rashika! I’ll have to check this one out! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Monthly Recap: FebruaryMy Profile

  6. says

    Ooh, you’re willing to give dystopia another chance after this? That’s certainly a good recommendation, since I think most people are quite done with the genre by now. Add to that diversity and I’m sold. There are still not enough books featuring POC main characters, and I’m glad this one does :)

    Also YES to not having a 17-year old save the world. I feel like so many stories are about teenagers overthrowing a government or dethroning the evil king or something like that. As much as I enjoy that, it’s refreshing to have a story that doesn’t fit that mold for once :)

    Lovely review, Rashika!
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  7. says

    DIVERSITY YEEEEEEES. I swear only, like, 2% of books I read are about a POC. What is up with that? NONONO.

    I’m so happy this didn’t do the whole ‘you are speshul, even though you’re only 15 and know nothing. NOW SAVE THE WORLD’. Because I hate that trope. I hate it so much.

    This sounds good and good and VERY GOOD *nods* A refreshing dystopia that actually tries something new instead of rehashing plot devices. Woooo
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  8. says

    Oh hey! How come I’ve never heard of this book, R? Anyways, part of me is tired of dystopias but, you are making me want to read this one. Realistic, brutal, POC you say? How will I ever resist?
    And yes, I like that the burden is not on the poor MC. I feel so bad for these poor kids having to shoulder all the responsibilities!!
    Great review, R!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Blog Tour Stop : Losers Weepers by Nicole WilliamsMy Profile

  9. says

    I do think there’s room for more dystopian books – if we can get out of the mold of love triangles and endless relationship angst. I like the idea of a dystopian without romance, because — really? That never seemed very realistic, especially in a war scenario. And, yes, dystopians need to be more dark, I think. Bad things must happen!!
    Jen @ YA Romantics
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  10. says

    I was sent a copy of book two from the Aussie publisher, but haven’t read this one yet and need to grab a copy. I love that the romance was just a small aspect of the storyline, when it comes to dystopians, it seems to engulf the plot and you’re left with just another world ender with a love triangle. I’m definitely going to be grabbing a copy this weekend now, super excited to read it. Brilliant review poppet <3
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  11. says

    Yay for awesome dystopias! I find that the best ones are the less known books that are not overhyped because of the romance and cover. I haven’t heard of this book before but I’m loving the fact that it doesn’t hold back on the brutality. Yes that sounds odd but I like realistic books like that and I admire authors who can kill off their characters for story progression. And the fact that the protagonist is not the ‘hero that saves the day’ is a very good sign too. I never bought into the tripe that one person can save the world. Katniss had help, Harry Potter had help. Everyone has help. Anyone that singlehandedly saves the world is just bullshit. I’m definitely going to check out this book, thanks for a lovely review Rashika <3 <3
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