Release date: February 20, 2018
High school is a difficult time for every teenager. When Erin enters a large public high school in 1980, she’s more than a little intimidated. Shocked by the realization that the legacy of her southern Alabama town isn’t a thing of the past, Erin struggles to find her way and in the process forms several important relationships. Brittany, whose genuine friendship and unconditional support help Erin navigate her unfamiliar surroundings. Shelby, whose strength and confidence challenge Erin to make her own decisions. And Emmet, whose magnetism and acceptance inspires her to dream of a different future.
Together they search for the answer to one important question: How do you define your own path, feel like you belong, and yet resist all of the social pressures and rigid expectations?
Ultimately, Erin is forced with a life-defining choice. Her decision will catapult her into adulthood, will test her faith, love and courage, and inevitably have an impact on the lives of those she loves most.
This is one of those books that’s tricky to slot into one particular genre, it begins when Erin is just starting high school so there were times it felt like a straight up YA novel, but this was laced with dark themes and heavy topics giving it an adult vibe as well. It’s set in the 1980’s in the south so there was some nostalgia as well and a historical feel as well, but regardless of whatever label you want to use this was a thought provoking and engaging read.
One of the darkest themes that I alluded to earlier, the most prevalent one is racism and being set almost forty years ago really shows just how terrible race relations were back then, especially in Alabama. Erin is different from her peers, she hates how everyone is labeled and categorized, kind of ironic that I had a hard time labeling this book. She struggles to fit in and she’s not even sure that she wants to fit in, she just wants to live her life without judgement and I think we can all relate to that on some level. She was a very well constructed character, the book follows her from high through to college and through various highs and lows.
As much as I know that society has taken huge forward strides in terms of race relations this book will still strike a chord with people today, which is sad in a way, it would be so great if it wasn’t still relevant, but it is. It covers some tough topics but is very well written and ultimately uplifting.
Everybody Needs a Bridge in three words: Thoughtful, Emotive and Engaging.
Overall rating: 4/5