Recommendation Tuesday: The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder
Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.
I discovered Lisa Schroeder's writing several year ago because someone pointed be toward this post she wrote on her blog about Friday Night Lights (which I can't seem to find, but I love this other one about what Friday Night Lights meant to her).
Obviously, I had to read all of her books, and The Day Before ended up being one of my favorite novels ever--her books are ones I'm constantly recommending to both teens and adults because her stories ring so true to many people's experiences and her writing is simply lovely. (Laura wrote more about Lisa's awesomeness last year for Verse Novel Week 2013.)
I read Lisa's latest, The Bridge from Me to You, in one sitting and it was a major nostalgia trip for me. So much of both Lauren and Colby's experiences reminded me of my own high school years in small town Oregon (where this book is set), football-craziness, driving around with no destination in mind, going for Slurpees because that's the only thing to do, all of that.
Small town life is
loving the wide roads one day
and wanting to leave and never look back the next.
I have a complicated relationship with my hometown, and Colby, hometown football hero, epitomizes that feeling. He loves his friends, his family, his team, his home, but he wants something that he can't have staying in Willow and being Colby the Football Star. This book hones in on that feeling perfectly, and if you've had the experience yourself, you'll see your own experiences through Colby and Lauren's eyes.
This is a quiet story, but it also packs a lot of feeling and heart into the story (which I could say for all of Lisa's books), which is just the way I like it. The trend in teen fiction right now seems to be tilting toward high-drama stories that have "crossover" appeal for adult readers and while I think Lisa's books can definitely be enjoyed by adults (I'm a grown-ass person, allegedly), I know that this book, and all of her books, are written with the younger audience in mind.
The Bridge from Me to You is the sort of book that I would have loved to have had in my minds when I was fifteen. My life was pretty good, I didn't have "gritty" experiences in my life, but I had all kinds of questions about how to grow up and figure my shit out, and I love that this book honors that. Lauren, whose chapters are in free verse, is dealing with tougher stuff than I ever had to, but there's a universality to her struggle nonetheless, and I think that's a special thing.
I can't not mention that this book has a special place in my heart because it's dedicated to Laura and I. I doubt Lisa knows how much this means to me personally, but when I met Laura and then Lisa and then subsequently the other fabulous women in our book club (Hi Linsey! Hi Jen!), it was the first time as an adult that I'd found a group of friends who seemed to actually "get" me. Or at least put up with my weirdness. And the Friday Night Light reference... excuse me while I go watch Coach Taylor speeches on a loop on YouTube.
The Bridge from Me to You is one you'll want to add to your list if you want to fill that FNL-shaped hole in your heart, remember the stickiness of growing up in a small town or read a book that is good. I'd also recommend this one to the "verse averse," because only half of the novel is in verse, and Lisa's style of free verse is very accessible--I know they're popular books for reluctant readers, especially since she plays with spacing to make the verse form more evocative.