Living with his grandmother and burdened with guilt, Mark vows to find the hit-and-run driver and take his revenge. The only detail he remembers is round taillights swerving in front of his family's car, and he's shocked when he notices the car of the high school's bully, Jeff Marino, has identical taillights-and a suspicious dent.
Now he wants revenge more than ever...
Jeff believes Mark is an anti-Vietnam War activist like his cousin Gary-and despises him for it. To make matters worse, when Jeff's girlfriend Genie Lombardi dumps him for Mark, it kicks Jeff's hatred for him to a dangerous new level.
Lies and threats escalate, until drugs and a shocking death send Jeff over the edge, and his campaign to get Genie back any way he can turns violent.
When Mark's memory begins to return, it leads to a terrifying confrontation.
Will he finally prove the identity of the guilty driver? Or will he and Genie become one more tragedy associated with the Carquinez Bridge?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite Bridgetown High is the story of seventeen-year-old Mark Wilkerson who just lost his parents and a sister in a fatal Christmas Eve car crash where he and another sister were the only survivors - and he has no memory of the crash. There are clues, flashes of memory, but he can’t remember all the details so soon after the incident. Sent to live with his grandmother and start over at a new high school, Mark has to grapple with bullies, revenge, drugs, and pretty much your standard high school drama. Author Paul West does a good job of handling the gravity of Mark’s situation and the fact that he’s a teenage boy. With a pretty big emphasis on forgiveness, Bridgetown High is at its heart a mystery that unfolds over the course of the novel. What I liked most was watching the pieces come together for Mark about that night because I’m a sucker for a good whodunit and the way Paul West set each scene was fantastic. The 1960s setting was described beautifully and gave an aura of innocence to a pretty dark story. What I enjoyed less was the focus on the high school minutiae, although it did enhance the story and help the reader understand Mark and his feelings. There were plenty of moments of rage, guilt, and vengeance, and West executed them beautifully. Bridgetown High is an emotional read that at times reaches beyond its Young Adult roots to pull in readers of all ages. Without giving anything away, I will say the ending left me feeling surprised and mostly fulfilled.
I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. We meet seventeen year-old Mark Wilkerson attending the funeral of his parents and little sister and learn they were killed in a car accident on Christmas eve that he and his other younger sister survived. The story follows him as he deals with this immense tragedy by trying to find out exactly what happened and who was responsible. There is a message about forgiveness and healing in this book. This is a good novel in the young adult genre and the author has a great understanding of the teenage years with all their complicated emotions involving friendships, love interests, and learning where one belongs in the swirling sea of on again-off again romances. I found the minute details of who was going to the Junior Prom with whom somewhat tiring, but I understand the method behind the madness. I also questioned whether seniors would go the Junior Prom at all, but traditions may be different on the west coast where the story takes place and the east coast where I attended high school over a quarter century ago. I liked the emphasis on forgiveness from a Christian standpoint. I enjoyed the parental wisdom of Mark’s grandmother, who courageously takes over the care of Mark and his sister while dealing with the death of her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild. She often quotes her mother and one of the best is “’what we see today as a tragedy, we may look back at tomorrow as a blessing’”. Of course Mark balks at this advice, but the reader hopes he will one day accept what has happened and begin to enjoy life again. He does, and the reader gets to go along for the ride. I gave this novel four stars because I felt the ending, which I will not reveal, left the reader asking too many questions. The book is enjoyable and exciting but I felt the author didn’t take enough time to tighten all the threads. That said, this book is worth the read and stays true to the genre with no profanity or sexual content, though some of the characters use alcohol and drugs. There is some violence, but no more than is seen in any television program. I highly recommend it for adults and young people alike.