YA dramedy about a Mean Girl's redemption from beyond the grave
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Bridget Duke has been the unofficial queen of her high school for years, and she's mean as a snake. But suddenly a new girl named Anna Judge arrives, and Bridget's world starts to cave in. Where are her worshipful slaves? Where are the complacent teachers ready to accept any excuse Bridget gives them? And why can't she hold onto her boyfriend Liam Ward, who was her childhood best friend and the only person she's actually ever cared about? In a desperate mood, Bridget drives fast and carelessly, wrecks her car, and earns a trip to limbo, which is not quite heaven, not quite hell. She has one last chance to make up for the lousy life she's led. Or else.
This is an extremely entertaining, often comic, debut novel that contains a solid, but non-preachy social message. Bridget has no compassion for the people around her, whom she regularly hurts. Through the course of this story, she gets a chance to, literally, feel what other people felt like when she hurt them by experiencing what she did to them, as if she were them.
It's very difficult to successfully pull off a story like this, where the audience is asked to stick around as a very non-sympathetic heroine is forced to mend her ways. But this is the only way that many people can ever develop empathy and humility, by being forced to literally walk in the shoes of people they have scorned. This book is a very entertaining way for teens to experience how destructive casually-callous behavior is. Even seemingly small, sarcastic remarks can wound so deeply, that the scars last a lifetime.
For those who enjoy this book, there is another YA novel using a similar storyline, but written in literary-fiction style, Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall.
Paranormal Dramedy Plot: 4.5