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This grim first novel, set on a not-so-distant future Earth in a war-torn, divided city that could be Sarajevo, London, or just about any other metropolis, packs a significant emotional wallop. Nikolai Stais, an orphan, has spent most of his life as a scholarship student at Tornmoor Academy, a prestigious military school designed to produce top security officers. But while Nikolai's senior class peers are snapped up by the Internal Security and Intelligence Services, he is denied cadet status. Soon after, rebels attack the school, and Nikolai is arrested as a traitor, though he quickly escapes. When a younger friend is kidnapped and taken across the river to rebel territory, Nikolai follows, hoping to save him, and instead discovers that the history he's been taught may not be the entire truth. Higgins works hard to expose the religious and racial bigotry lurking behind so many military conflicts, and she is adept at showing that, frequently, neither side is without blame. Nikolai is well drawn and believable, though the story's secondary characters, particularly the villains, are comparatively one-dimensional. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 9 Up-In this dystopian novel from New Zealand, Higgins uses her hero's adventures to ponder larger questions. Nik is a mathematical genius at the top of his class in Tornmoor Academy and, as such, he expects to be invited to join the Internal Security and Intelligence Services. ISIS leads the way in protecting the northern part of the city from the Breken invaders who control the city south of the river. ISIS does not choose Nik and even seeks him for questioning when the school is bombed. Nik's young friend Sol is kidnapped by some Breken in the confusion of a major incursion so Nik and Sol's sister, Fyffe, decide to cross the nearest bridge into Southside to rescue him. They soon discover that most of the Breken are quite different from what they were taught. Members of the Campaign for Free Movement would simply like access to the same food and medicines that those north of the river enjoy, preferably through negotiation. The Remnant faction is more interested in conquest. Nik gradually reveals his identity to a few CFM leaders and learns more about himself from them. When he is ultimately called upon to choose a side in the war, he must decide if either one makes sense. Readers will easily see themselves in Nik, a young man unsure of his place and uncertain of who is in the right. The popularity of dystopias will ensure that this story has appeal, and it will also make readers think.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
'[A] captivating tale of friendship and loyalty.' Australian Women's Weekly 'Taut adventure, high-stakes, big emotion, individual heroism and no less than the possible end of the world. That's how I like my fiction served! A fantastic read and I predict a big winner for Text.' ABC Brisbane 'I've been swamped in dystopian young adult books this year. Many are rubbish-predictable, preachy or simply not believable. The Bridge is none of those things.' Sunday Star Times 'The Text Prize is going from strength to strength, as the publisher continues to choose winners that push the boundaries of young adult fiction. The latest winner, The Bridge, is brilliant. Every sentence is skillfully crafted, with just enough left unsaid that the reader is always hungry for more...This is a breathtaking first novel.' Junior Bookseller & Publisher 'Higgins threads the turns and twists of chaotic times with a sure hand...Higgins' control of the development of her characters is admirable: Fyffe, a dreamer girl, grows into her strengths, Nik learns that the past shapes our future and that heroism and hope as well as fear and savagery can reside on both sides of conflict...I'm sure many readers would wish to learn more of Nik's path in life to come.' Magpies 'If you loved Suzanna Collins' The Hunger Games series and John Marsden's Tomorrow series, chances are you'll love this'. Girlfriend NZ 'The Bridge shows how hard it can be to tell right from wrong, especially in the face of war. This page-turner and first novel is well placed for a sequel.' Weekend Australian 'Winner of the Text Prize, this is a powerful dystopian adventure about questioning authority, the complexities of war and enduring bonds.' -- Fran Atkinson Saturday Age/Sydney Morning Herald 'A brilliant novel with echoes of John Wyndham's The Chrysalids, its young protagonists show heart in a world of despair.' West Australian