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Review: Here Lies Bridget

Here Lies Bridget is the debut novel for author Paige Harbison. It was released as a paperback on January 18, 2011 and was released today, February 1, 2011, in eBook format. Both formats are available online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 224 pages.

Here Lies Bridget is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

Goodreads description:

What do you do when the five people you meet in limbo all want you to go to hell?

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough.…

Bridget Duke wasn’t always a mean girl. She can even remember the time before. The time before her father stopped spending time at home. The time before her mother was gone. Back when she had friends who liked her. Back when she was a nice girl.

One of the early lessons that Bridget learned was that all that being nice got you was to be left crying in the playground with a face full of bananas. And Bridget vowed to never let that happen again.

As a mean girl she had the power. People got out of her way when she walked through the halls, they listened to what she had to say, wanted to wear what she wore and wanted to be where she was. But that all changed the day that Anna Judge showed up and showed everyone that you can have it all and be nice too.

After an accident that leaves her in limbo will Bridget be able to convince everyone she’s wronged that she can change? With the clock ticking down will the jury pardon her for her crimes?

***

Here Lies Bridget is a fun, sweet, cruel and wonderfully delightful story that is part Mean Girls and part A Christmas Carol.

Bridget Duke is absolutely diabolical. Her level of cruelty and cluelessness combine to make her very unlikable. For readers she is saved from being a complete “B” because the author includes little bursts of Bridget’s conscience when she acts as she does. And Bridget’s high level of insecurity, while not excusing her actions, helps to explain them.

Bridget is made to confront what she has done, and it is up to a jury of those she’s wronged to determine her fate.

This is a debut novel for Author Paige Harbison. The story is well paced and the author’s writing has a nice flow that keeps you engaged even when you want to pull away from the contemptible actions of her main character, Bridget.

The story shifts about midway through as Bridget is taken on her Christmas Carol-esque journey through her past and shown just what effect her actions had on those who have put up with her. From here through the end, the story moves quickly and will keep you engaged as you learn whether or not Bridget is worthy of redemption.

While the concept of this story is nothing new – individuals forced to face the harm they’ve done and given a chance to make things right – the author has given this story its own flair and identity. From the in limbo boardroom to the very believable characters that have each had to suffer in some way through their acquaintance with Bridget, the story is most definitely memorable.

This story is a “must read” and is recommended for anyone who enjoys “mean girl” stories and books where lessons can be learned about actions and consequences.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

On a personal note:

I wasn’t sure at first, but by the end I loved this story. And I mean, really loved this story. Yes, I’m a sap, but a tear or two was definitely shed.

I have read A Christmas Carol more than once and read many stories and seen many films that basically follow this same premise. But there was something really touching about Bridget’s look into her past from the different p.o.v.’s of the characters she was so awful to.

While I don’t think I ever fell in love with Bridget herself, her friends and family that have been by her side all these years were very sympathetic. And as we learn, through Bridget, just who they are and what they have been going through, it made me really feel for them. And any time I can feel something for a character or connect with them I know it’s all due to the writer’s ability to create.

Paige Harbison is definitely an author I’m going to follow and can’t wait to see what’s next.

The screen rights to Here Lies Bridget were acquired so we may end up seeing this made into a movie in the near (or not so near) future.

***

Thank you Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley for the review copy.

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