“The Bridge” Jane Higgins

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). First Published in 2011 in Australia. Published in the USA October 9, 2012 by Tundra Books (Random House). 340 pp.

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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