Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
Bridget Duke thinks she's the "It" girl at Winchester Preparatory. She believes that everyone wants to be her or know her or do anything for her that she asks. Little does she realize how far from the truth that is.
When the new girl, Anna Judge, shows up, Bridget's life starts to unravel. Anna seems to slowly be worming her way into every facet of Bridget's life. Anna has become instantly popular, Bridget's evil stepmom finds her sweet, and the icing on the cake is that Bridget's ex-boyfriend, Liam, has taken Anna under his wing to show her around.
No matter what Bridget tries to do, things just keep snowballing out of control. She tries to cheat off another student and gets caught. She goes to throw a party and Anna shows up, taking most of the credit. Her friend, Michelle, tells Bridget she can no longer be her friend.
When she encounters graffiti in the bathroom saying "Bridget Duke is a loser and everyone knows it," it's the final straw. Bridget peals out of the parking lot in her car, only to find herself in some other place. Bridget has woken up in a boardroom. And to add insult to injury, none other than Anna is there. At this point, HERE LIES BRIDGET reminds the reader of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and the like.
Bridget is faced with past examples of her behavior to those whom she considered friends and family. As the revelations come to Bridget, she must confront herself and decide what she wants to do about everything.
I have to say I totally did not like Bridget. I guess Ms. Harbison did a great job with writing this story, because to me, there was nothing redeeming about Bridget at all. I found her ex-boyfriend, Liam, quite likeable, and surprisingly, the stepmom, Meredith, was a favorite of mine. When Bridget winds up in limbo, she really gets thrown to the wolves with all of the revelations that she becomes privy to. Some of the most amusing moments were when she realizes that the principal, whom she thought she was able to wrap around her finger, was quite onto her and knew everything she was up to.
The cover artwork for HERE LIES BRIDGET is quite colorful and eye-catching. That alone should draw readers to it, but the story should keep them engrossed to the final pages, when Bridget's life is decided. Even though I didn't like Bridget, I believe that was part of the appeal of the story. I know I was actually rooting for her to get what she deserved the whole time - and the fun was in the journey to her final decision.
This sounded like an interesting book and is part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge that I am participating in. I got an advanced reading copy through NetGalley(dot)com. It was an okay book. There were some things about it that I thought were clever, but I had a hard time looking past the really annoying main character.
Bridget is the daughter of a famous ESPN sports caster and as such is a popular girl in school. Bridget is also very self-centered and nasty to the people around her. Then one day a new girl named Anna comes to school, everyone likes Anna instantly. Bridget watches as her popularity fades and Anna slowly gains control of the school. Feeling a bit down by her loss of power Bridget decides to recklessly drive her car in an attempt to commit suicide (this is where the book starts) but at the last minute realizes she doesn't want to die. That's when things get weird.
The book starts with the scene where Bridget recklessly drives her car and looses control of it. Then it goes back to how she got to that point. The first half of this book is focused on how Bridget interacts with her family and friends. Bridget is a super mean and nasty girl, she disrespects everyone and is tearing apart the people around her in her apparent ignorance of her own meanness. That right there was my biggest problem with this book; Bridget is very mean and manipulative but she is shown as not realizing how mean she is. I had a lot of trouble believing that anyone could be that nasty to people and not realize what they were doing.
In the second half of the book Bridget has to relive scenes were she is mean to people but from the other person's point of view. This was a neat idea, but it has been done before. It reminds a lot of the Christmas Carol and Ebenezor Scrooge's Ghost of Christmas Past.
In the second half the author tries to get you to sympathize and maybe understand Bridget, but I had trouble doing that. I felt like the moral of this book was that you can be mean and nasty your whole life; then if you spend a day trying to fix everything that will be enough and you are forgiven. It wasn't a realistic way to end the book and was all neat and pretty to the point of being a bit contrived.
The writing style was easy to read and the dialogue sounded natural so that was nice. There really wasn't much paranormal element to this book; just a touch but it wasn't the focus.
Overall I thought the book was predictable and I really didn't enjoy Bridget as a character. I didn't really enjoy the plot (which focused mainly on high school angst) and thought things were a bit too neatly set up. Fans of books about the "mean girl" in a high school redeeming herself might enjoy this book. Fans of paranormal young adult books should look elsewhere. This book is definitely aimed at a female young adult audience and I don't think many outside of that subset will find much to enjoy here.