Today I am going to be sharing all my thoughts and opinions on Everybody Needs A Bridge by Colleen D. Scott. I was sent a copy of this new release novel by the publishing company in exchange for an honest review. I promise to keep it spoiler-free and objective. Before I begin, I just wish to thank JKS Communications for sending this to me. I am not being paid to promote this book, however I did receive it free of charge. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
In this coming-of-age story, we follow Erin, a Caucasian girl living in southern Alabama in the 1980’s. She attends a public high-school for the very first time with a majority of the students being African American. This makes her the subject of some initial bullying; being called names like ‘white-bread’ and ‘milk-toast’ (milquetoast). It isn’t long before she meets Brittany (another Caucasian girl) who becomes her best friend. As the years progress, Erin struggles to find her feet in a world full of other people’s expectations. She falls in love with a boy of a different race, Emmett, but keeps their relationship a secret in order to avoid scrutiny. We witness her evolution as she enters college and adulthood, where all of the lessons and events of her life culminate.
Please note there is a trigger warning for strong racism and violence towards black people.
– Erin: I unfortunately found the protagonist to be a little one-dimensional. She is beautiful, thin, smart, athletic and popular with boys. Her parents are fairly lenient with her and she is given plenty of opportunities in school to excel. Erin’s main issue in adolescence is her secret love affair with Emmett, a boy of colour. Having said that, her character progression does intensify as she becomes an adult and is forced to confront a tragedy/life-altering decisions.
– Brittany: We meet Erin’s best friend Brittany at the beginning of the story in high-school. She is incredibly sweet, loyal, fun-loving and confident. Erin and Brittany provide each other with so much support over the years which was really heart-warming to read about. I really enjoyed Brittany’s attitude to life and her resilience in the face of hardship.
– Emmett: I just want to say that Emmett is one of my favourite male names (Back to the Future obsessed) so a big tick to Colleen for that one! Despite his race (which was controversial for the place and time this book is set in), Emmett is quite popular and well-liked by everybody at school. He is a star football player with big hopes and dreams. Erin falls in love with him as a teenager but they both decide to keep their relationship hidden from the public as interracial couples are frowned upon. I would have liked his character to be fleshed out a little more but as the story is purely from Erin’s point of view, this was not possible.
– Shelby: The final main character I wish to mention is Shelby. She is an African American girl (also known as ‘Bumper’) at Erin’s high-school who initially dislikes our protagonist. When the pair start spending time together on the track-team, they form an unspoken bond that bridges the gap between racial tensions. Shelby is sassy, abrupt, honest and driven. She expresses concern towards Erin’s feelings for Emmett, noting that they could both be physically harmed if the truth came out. Much like Emmett, I wish her character had been a bit more well-developed as I found her so interesting.
THE WRITING STYLE
My biggest issue with this book (in my personal opinion) was the writing style. I found the grammar and sentence-structuring to be a bit all over the place. There were many passages throughout the novel where words and phrases were repeated multiple times. For this reason, I found myself getting quite distracted and frustrated. I will mention however, that the writing improved as the story progressed. I was much more engaged with the second half than the first.
As mentioned above, I enjoyed this book more and more as it went on. It started off a little bit slow but became so interesting and ‘hearty’ as the pages turned. I struggled to connect with the characters at times but when a tragic event struck, I found myself quite upset and invested. Overall, I believe this story had some very important messages and themes. The author did an excellent job tackling the big issue of racism and challenging ‘societal norms.’ Through Erin, we discover that what truly matters in life is following your own path, not the one laid out for you by others. We are happiest when we listen to our hearts. The ending was very satisfying. The title ‘Everybody Needs A Bridge’ can be interpreted multiple ways. I believe it relates strongly to friendship and how vital it is to have a strong support network, guiding you through the world. I was not blown away by this book but I would recommend it to others.
I gave this book 3/5 stars.
I hope you enjoyed this review. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please click the book title above. You can also get more information on Goodreads here.
Thank you so much for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own