Enemy kindness, Gabrielle David
The young adult fiction The Bridge is written by a New Zealand author, Jane Higgins. The story is set in a city that is split in two because of a river, each side at war against each other. Nik Stais – an incredibly intelligent young man – was raised in an orphanage, losing both his parents at the age of five. Starting at a young age, Nik had strived to get high grades so that he could be a part of ISIS (Internal Security and Intelligence Service). Unfortunately, Nik had not been accepted by the ISIS but, later in the story, Nik discovers why. Around this time in the story, the hostiles from Southside bombs Nik’s school – Tornmoor – whilst taking his friend’s little brother, Sol.
Realising the possible dangers that may come upon Sol, Nik and Fyffe (Sol’s older sister) risk their lives to bring Sol back, which means crossing the bridge to get to the enemy’s territory. While on the search for Sol, Nik and Fyffe find their way to Breken headquarters to find out where the hostiles were possibly located and where they might have taken Sol. During their time there, Nik and Fyffe realise and discover that the secrets and rumours going around Cityside are not true, but face trouble once the Breken headquarters find out where the two friends had originally come from.
The characters in the book such as Lanya and Levkova surprised me, as they were willing to save Nik and Fyffe – who came from their enemy’s territory – despite all the wars that had come across Cityside and Southside. This just goes to show that there are people like Levkova and Lanya that don’t always assume that the enemy they are fighting against is all bad. An example of this was when Levkova gave up some of her painkillers in order for Nik to get better. Because of the war taking place, Southside is in desperate need of more medication so the kindness Levkova showed towards Nik changed my views towards the Southsiders.
The Bridge is the type of novel that leaves you with many questions, plot twists, surprises and mysteries that will make you turn every page right until the very end. The characters and the story Jane Higgins has created clearly paint the story for your imagination and display the differences between the two sides while linking the story to the problems we live with in the real world, such as poverty and social class.
In all honesty, I think it would be awesome if this book became a movie so that other readers could realise how much potential this book carries. The characters themselves – especially Nik – made me realise that in life, the hard work and effort you’ve put into something may turn out to be something unexpected, but may even unlock the hidden secrets and potential within you which may lead you to a better future.
Gabrielle David is 14 years old and is from Auckland.