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Bridge to tears

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond

I knew what I was getting myself into when I started this book. I had seen the movie a couple of times, I knew the storyline. I still decided to read this book. And in public.

Others who have read this book or seen the movie will shake their head at my futile belief that I could manage to stay composed will reading the final chapters. Needless to say, I did not and ended up trying to restrain my sobs while sitting next to a stranger. I don't think anybody would want to share their commute with me after that!

If you haven't read this or seen the movie, please don't let my confession of my crying my little heart out deter you! And also don't be put off by the fact that it is marketed towards young readers. Sure, the language is somewhat simplistic but within the simplicity is more complexity that older readers will pick up on, and I think the lack of description of Terabithia, which has sprung from the imaginations of Jesse and Leslie, actually adds to the magical qualities as the reader's imagination is thrown wide open to create their own version of Terabithia, just as it is for our two young rulers - I love that. Their friendship and the world they have created feels special and the reader is invited to feel that too. I can see how this can appeal to young readers but also with its exploration of deeper themes, which is does flawlessly, integrating them into the story so subtly you may not even realise it at the time, it will appeal to older readers as well.

The character development in this novel is fantastic, as we watch Jesse grow and become more confident in himself in Leslie's company. Although written in third person we see the story unfold from Jesse's perspective and we have access to not only what happens, but what he thinks about. And we see the development in him, particularly when he builds the bridge to allow Terabithia to be open to the next generation of rulers, his younger sisters.

Keep the tissues handy!