Monday, 15 August 2011
Review: Here Lies Bridget - Paige Harbison
Published: June 17th 2011, Mira Ink
Pages: 315 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads): What do you do when the five people you meet in limbo all want you to go to hell?
Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough...
My review: You know how sometimes you just know a book is completely up your street and that you're going to love it before you even crack the spine? Yeah, I had that with Here Lies Bridget. I received it for review a couple of months back but it was only a couple of weeks ago that I picked it up from my shelf and began reading. Instantly, I was hooked.
I read it in the gym. I read it into the early hours of the morning. I even read it on the train home after a night out - you may have seen the drunken tweets. Oh, and being under the influence of alcohol just makes this book even better. I definitely laughed out loud more than once. I loved it. It's one of my favourite books I've read over the last few months. It was a complete emotional rollercoaster as well - as I said, I laughed out loud numerous times but I also shed a tear in a few scenes.
Harbison is a really talented writer. She has that wonderful ability to have you rolling around in fits of laughter one moment and wiping away tears the next with some truly touching writing. I can easily see this translating perfectly onto the big screen and I know this one's going to be hugely popular.
I'm sure there are a few bloggers who are going to say it's a little superficial, that the characters drink and party and swear too much, that Bridget's just a bitch with no redeeming features. To you I say - psssh. I ran a guest post with Harbison a few weeks ago and I'd like to quote what she said about creating realistic characters in YA:
'I think if you want to make a mean girl, you have to make her the saddest girl on the inside. If you want to write about the perfect guy, he has to have flaws. You have to think about actual people, and have faith that the things you think privately to yourself are things we’ve all thought before.'
What a brilliant answer and this is absolutely what she does in Here Lies Bridget. Sure, on the surface Bridget may seem like a mean girl but, as we all know, things aren't always as clear cut as they first appear. Be honest, did anyone else see a little of themselves in Bridget? I'm happy to put my hands up and say I definitely did.
Also - right here I'd like to say a MASSIVE apology for spelling Paige's name wrong the ENTIRE way through the interview I did with her. I'm sorry!
Here Lies Bridget showed me some of the most realistic and fully developed characters I've come across in YA in a very long time. Aside from Bridget I adored Michelle and, of course, Mr Ezhno. Look out for the Mr Ezhno scene if you decide to read this one - it's the one that really made me bawl.
Please do have a read of Here Lies Bridget if it takes your fancy. It did take me a little while to pick this one up and I just wish I had sooner. It's brilliant.
First line: 'I pressed down on the accelerator.'
Read if you liked…: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove - Lauren Kate
Total: 17/20 (A)