Title: Here Lies Bridget
Author: Paige Harbison
Source: ARC via NetGalley; 219 pages
Publication Date: February 1st
Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough…My Rating: 3 stars ★★★
In short terms, I would describe Here Lies Bridget as a cross between Mean Girls and A Christmas Carol (both movies; I haven’t read A Christmas Carol yet -- but it's sitting on my nook!).
Right off the bat, the concept of this book hooked me and I loved the cover. I especially enjoyed when Bridget was forced to step into the shoes of others (literally!). I just wish that Harbison had spent slightly less time getting to the point of Bridget being in limbo, and more time making her deal with the consequences of her actions / fixing her mistakes. I felt that the first half of the book, up until Bridget’s death, was significantly slower than the parts after it. Basically, Harbison spends a lot of time (about half the book) trying to make the reader hate Bridget – but it only took me approximately 20 pages.
I loathed Bridget Duke. She is mean and selfish beyond comprehension – and the worst part is, she knows it. For instance, “I knew it was wrong to cheat. I knew it was wrong to lie. I knew it was wrong to push someone into a speeding train. But all I could think at that moment was that I had to get out of trouble” or things such as ‘I don’t know why I said it, but…’ If Bridget was simply a self-centered b****, I think I could’ve handled it, but the fact that she is so self-aware of her wrongdoings the entire time really annoyed me.
I truly HATE contemporary characters that I cannot relate to in any way – it’s a pet peeve of mine. Sure, I could imagine people saying/doing the things Bridget does, but I could not fathom how any person could do those things and still think the way Bridget does. If you knew you should’ve said such and such – then why didn’t you?! Of course, we all slip up sometimes, but every single one of Bridget’s actions contradicted her thoughts! With that being said, this is merely my opinion – I also hated Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic for this very same reason (Honestly – who would actually shove their bills in the couch cushions and pretend they simply don’t exist?!) but many people love that series -- so it’s really just a matter of preference.
Another aspect of the book that I was on the fence about was the heavy use of slang in the narration and dialogue. I do understand that the author’s objective was to capture the essence of how teenagers speak, but I cringed every time I read things such as, “Gawd” and “…walked right in fronna me.” Once again, just a personal preference, I guess.
Overall the book was an easy read, conveyed a good message, and was quite a page-turner for the second half. I would recommend it as a library read rather than a purchase, though.
Warnings: some profanity
Warnings: some profanity
[This is a YA debut novel that counts for the Debut Author Challenge]