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The Bridge Hardcover – October 9, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The Bridge shows how hard it can be to tell right from wrong, especially in the face of war. This page-turner and first novel is well placed for a sequel.'
—Weekend Australian

“War propels a boy from the privileged side of town across the bridge to the enemy, where he learns the real causes of the war and about his own history…. A suspenseful and entertaining debut.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“This grim first novel, set on a not-so-distant future Earth … packs a significant emotional wallop…. Higgins works hard to expose the religious and racial bigotry lurking behind so many military conflicts, and she is adept at showing that, frequently, neither side is without blame.”
Publishers Weekly

“…the gritty, painfully tense passages describing the ways in which war affects children – teens in particular – are compelling and deftly written.”
The Horn Book

“…truly an engrossing and compelling story…. Higgins’ depiction of a world gone mad on war and drunk on power and fear is on par with the best that dystopian literature has to offer…. The Bridge surpasses its contemporaries as it delves into areas rarely explored so convincingly by others in the genre … avid enthusiasts of dystopian literature … should not pass on The Bridge….”
—Highly Recommended, CM Magazine

“. . . Readers will easily see themselves in Nik, a young man unsure of his place and uncertain of who is in the right. The popularity of dystopias will ensure that this story has appeal, and it will also make readers think.”
– School Library Journal

About the Author

Jane Higgins was born in New Zealand. She has degrees in mathematics and anthropology and has worked on many human rights campaigns. She is a senior research fellow at Lincoln University and her specialty is youth studies. Jane lives in Christchurch. The Bridge is her first novel.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tundra Books (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770494375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770494374
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,724,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Bridge is the first novel by New Zealand author, Jane Higgins. It is the winner of the Text Prize for YA and Children’s Writing in 2010. Since he was orphaned at the age of five, Nik Stais has lived, learned and excelled at Tornmoor Academy, hoping to be chosen by the Internal Security and Intelligence Service to use his talents in the fight that Cityside wages against the hostiles on Southside. Now seventeen, he and his friends are surprised and indignant when ISIS omits him from their intake. Soon after, Tornmoor is bombed, Nik’s best friend, Lou dies in the attack, and Lou’s eight-year-old brother, Sol is kidnapped by hostiles.

Nik is determined to cross to the Southside, determined to find Sol, and that means going over the bridge. Sol’s sister Fyffe insists on going with him. As they infiltrate the enemy, they learn that not everything they have been taught about these people, the hostiles, the Breken, is true. They find themselves in the middle of a dispute between factions, and Nik discovers some shocking truths about his own past.

Higgins has created a believable dystopia where propaganda, misinformation and indoctrination of youth maintain the status quo. She feeds the information about her world to the reader in manageable doses, not too fast to cause overload, not too slowly to incite boredom. Her characters are multi-faceted and appealing (or repugnant as required by the story), and Higgins is not afraid to kill some of them off if needed. Her plot is original, has quite a few twists, and, without the dissatisfaction of a cliff-hanger ending, allows enough scope for the story to continue. This prize-winning novel is an amazing debut and readers will be pleased to know there is a sequel, Havoc.
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Format: Hardcover
This dystopian novel places two groups of people at war. On one side of the bridge, in Cityside, live the privileged. In Southside, located on the other side of the bridges, live all of the poor people called Hostiles. The Hostiles have been at war with Cityside for years, seeking equal rights and treatment.

Nik has lived in Cityside all his life and has worked hard for the chance to be recruited by ISIS (the Internal Security and Intelligence Services), an elite squad in the army. He is the only one who has never had family visit him, and is understandably upset when ISIS refuses to recruit him, and seem to be quite upset when they hear his name. His life turns upside down when the Hostiles bomb the school, killing his best friend and forcing him and a few of the students to flee for their lives. When he gets separated from his friends, he finds himself in Southside.

While there, he finds much of what he’d been about the Hostiles were lies. Unfortunately, they also had their share of stories they’d been told about Cityside people, and Nik has a lot of convincing to do if he expects to be allowed to live. He wants answers to the many questions in his head about his past and the current war, but learns more than he’d bargained.

“The Bridge” has lots of adventures, shootings, murders, escapes, intrigue, spying, and all sorts of mayhem to attract even the most reluctant reader ages 12 and up. Higgins cleverly left the ending wide open, which will lead to a nice sequel if she had it in mind to write one. I hope she does.
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Format: Hardcover
There is a war going on. When a war is happening, I think the reader should understand who the factions are and what they stand for. The first problem I had with this story was that the factions were not at all clear to me. There was the use of acronyms for one of the Southern groups, which lost me completely - what does CFM stand for? Then there were the Citysiders and the Remnants. Too many sides not clearly explained. Their purpose and values were not understood. I could not form any liking or value-judgement on any of the sides, or understand why there were 3, or even why there was a war. All 3 sides tried to annihilate one another - kill one another, bomb their shelters - and everyone is poor and/or starving. Who holds the higher moral ground? The book did not make this clear to me.

The world-building left a lot of gaps for me.

The second problem I had was the ethnic or other way of telling the sides apart. If we have a dark-skinned protagonist who speaks Brekken, Nik, who somehow blends in the enemy side due to this, then how come Fyffe is just let go by the Brekken-speakers when she is blond and blue-eyed? And she picks up Brekken within minutes or days? One can't suspend belief.

There was the immediate change of love interest without so much as a backward glance. The chemistry with both was made inexplicable when the new love interest emerged.

The voice: I admit I am not a fan of an adult trying to use current teen jargon, especially when it sounds jarringly wrong. The explanations and prose were full of non-sentences trying to get us inside a teenager's head. I think it would have been better to tell the story straight. I couldn't connect with Nik due to the voice, and that was the biggest problem for me.
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Format: Hardcover
The new twist in dystopian YA literature seems to be keeping the reader guessing as to who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Jane Higgins successfully leaves the reader with the impression there may not be any good guys in The Bridge. At least not in their governments. Nik grew up believing the enemy was across the bridge, and he was going to be one of the warrior heroes who defeated them. When his best friend is captured, Nik goes to save him, knowing if he is caught, he will be killed. Working under cover among the enemy, Nik learns there are many sides to the story of the conflict, and he no longer knows who the real enemy is. He discovers there are dark secrets both sides will kill to protect, and he is somehow a part of one of the biggest secrets. Both sides may want him dead. None of this new knowledge stops him from searching for his friend, and none of the dangers are going to stop him from saving his friend. First time author, Jane Higgins, leaves the scariest mysteries and puzzling secrets unresolved so they can reappear in the sequels.
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