McNeal, Laura The Incident on the Bridge, 326 pages. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016. $17.99. Language: R (17 swears, 4 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (underage drinking, sexual discussions, mention of suicide and depression, effects of grief, mental illness) Violence: PG-13 (Kidnapping)
Thisbe Locke had her heart broken by Clay at the party three days ago, so when she disappears without a trace on a bridge known for its plethora of suicides, everyone assumes she jumped. Her sister however, has her doubts. Thisbe is afraid of heights, she thinks. Thisbe wouldn’t jump for a cruel boy who treated her badly. But if Thisbe Locke did not jump, and is not in the water below, then where in the world is she?
The Incident on the Bridge surprised me. The author takes an average teen thriller plot and uses it as a vehicle to pen an intimately written, multiple-perspective character study that reveals itself to the reader with precision and a bucket load of raw but understated emotion. The writing style is a bit shocking at first, and in truth I felt unmoored by its uniqueness and detail. This book sets itself apart as a singular thing, but if you can get used to the almost stream of consciousness voice, you’ll find a story brimming with feeling and genuine human empathy. The only complaint I have is the mildly abrupt ending.
HS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: JD, 12th grade