Book Review: Everybody Needs a Bridge by Colleen D. Scott

Book Review Everybody Needs a Bridge by Colleen D Scott {living outside the stacks}

Disclaimer: This novel was sent to me free of charge from JKS Communications in exchange for a review. As always, the opinions given are my own.

To read my rating system for books, click here.

Author: Colleen D. Scott

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Publisher: NKD Ventures

Publication Date: 20 February 2018

Format: Paperback

Pages: 273

ABOUT THE BOOK {from the back of the book}

High school is a difficult time for every teenager. When Erin enters a large public high school in 1980, she’s more than a little intimidated. Shocked by the realization that the legacy of her southern Alabama town isn’t a thing of the past, Erin struggles to find her way and in the process forms several important relationships. Brittany, whose genuine friendship and unconditional support help Erin navigate her unfamiliar surroundings. Shelby, whose strength and confidence challenge Erin to make her own decisions. And Emmet, whose magnetism and acceptance inspires her to dream of a different future.

As the years pass, Erin’s new bonds grow stronger. And together, they search for the answer to one important question: How do you define your own path, feel like you belong, and yet resist all of the social pressures and rigid expectations?

Tragically, after their time in high school ends, Erin becomes separated from these important friends. Alone, she struggles to find the courage to continue her journey. Ultimately, she is forced with a life-defining choice. Her decision will catapult Erin into adulthood, will test her faith, love and courage, and inevitably have an impact on the lives of those she loves most.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After decades spent pursuing a career in the corporate world and raising three incredible children, Colleen decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an author. Raised in southern Alabama, this new author artfully weaves compelling story lines with emotion evoking characters into biting social commentary. And like most southern women, Colleen enjoys great food, football, and reading a great book on a sandy beach.

MY OPINION

Having just read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America by Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher Benson, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read another “race novel.” But I was pleasantly surprised by how much the three books {and my own personal history} intertwined. I even had to do a bit of research to find out background information on different events that are mentioned in the story. And that, my friends, is always a good sign.

The novel started off slow and, to be honest, a bit heavy on the stereotype/fear of black people talk. But, then I had to stop and think – I’ve been the only black person in a room full of white people and I was uncomfortable – so the descriptions provided by Erin can be read as accurate, especially when read from the standpoint of a private school educated kid who’s entering public school for the first time.

I found the plot to be realistic and timely, especially given the current political and social environment. Erin discusses her high school courses with a refreshing and relatable honesty {I also had a math teacher who only seemed to care about the males in the class and would throw trash cans when the girls failed to understand algebra}. And, like Erin, I was frustrated with the cliques and snottiness that snaked its way from high school to college.

The aspect of the novel that helped to propel the novel forward was the interweaving of real events such as the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald by members of the Ku Klux Klan {an event that was also written about in Death of Innocence} into the story. This awareness of what was going on around her as well as her teenage naiveté made Erin’s character believable, likable, and frustrating.

Watching Erin {and her friends} navigate life and deal with the consequences of their decisions was at times sad and confusing. At one point, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her – stalking a guy and trying to make yourself indispensable to him because you think you love him is never the right answer.

Overall, I’d say this is a good read about how we are shaped by the people who surround us, the decisions we make, and the beliefs we hold dear. I’d recommend this novel for book discussion groups that focus on Young Adult fiction, mother-child relationships, social justice, and current events {even though it’s set in the 1980s – it’s crazy how much of the story is still relevant}.

This book could also be read along with The Hate U Give and Death of Innocence in a college level American history course that uses novels to supplement the course discussions. Although Everybody Needs a Bridge is a stand-alone story, I think the themes in both works of fiction are supported by the issues that are discussed by Mrs. Till-Mobley.

This is a YA novel and it deals with realistic issues that are facing teens today, such as teen pregnancy, abortion, racism, sexuality, and sexism. There are also descriptions of violence and drug and alcohol use.

Side note: I don’t think I’ve ever written a review as a companion piece to other books that I’ve read, but, honestly, these three books: Death of Innocence, Everybody Needs a Bridge, and The Hate U Give should be read together and in that order. You won’t be sorry. If I were still teaching American history, I’d definitely put these books on my reading list.

MY FAVORITE PASSAGE

Walking on the beach alone in the morning, I felt special and connected to my dad up on the deck watching me, and to God out there somewhere above the water, as He watched over me too. I felt that same deep connection to the water, the birds, the crabs, the entire universe, and to the ‘me’ that lived somewhere deep inside. My thoughts felt powerful, strong, clear, and confident as they flowed through my mind.

Page 69

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Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let’s discuss…

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}

 

 

 

 

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