Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
This is a 1972 Newbery Medal winner about a misfit farm boy in Virginia who befriends the tomboyish city girl who moves in
next door, and how they invent an imaginary kingdom together. The one complaint I have about this book is that there could
have been so much more of it; it seems to go way too fast. It is a breathlessly lyrical moment of beauty where one would
like to linger for a while, but its over so soon.
I suppose that's appropriate considering the nature of the story, for Jess only has his girlfriend Leslie for a portion of
5th grade, and if I tell you that their friendship ends in tragedy you could probably guess a lot of what happens.
But what actually happens is not as important as how this affects Jess; for the real story is not so much about who lives
and who dies, or why or how, but about one boy's good heart and how a brief, bittersweet friendship teaches him to find
courage and beauty and goodness and the strength to be his own person in spite of an invisible father, a despicable mother,
two bitchy older sisters, and two annoying younger ones. Basically, Jess learns to be a man on his own terms, thanks to the
gifts Leslie gives him in life and, too soon, in death.
I dare you to try and read this book without getting tears on the page. And to think I only picked it up because I needed to
blow time while my mother shopped at Hastings! When she unexpectedly turned up before I had finished the book, I had to buy
it so I could read the whole thing, as it magnetically pulled me right to the end.
Recommended Age: 10+
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