Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson

“We need a place,” she said, “just for us. It would be so secret that we would never tell anyone in the whole world about it.” … She lowered her voice almost to a whisper. “It might be a whole secret country,” she continued, “and you and I would be the rulers of it.” 

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 1.08.52 PM.pngI’ve heard nothing but stellar reviews of Bridge to Terabithia, I fell victim to the long-lasting hype surrounding this book. I was excited to see it on Time’s 100 Best YA listTerabithia does not read like a YA, but more like “classic children lit,” like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess

In short, Jessie, the main character, is the only boy in his large family of sisters. He longs for a friend, someone around his age who wants to play. He loves to run and find pride in being the faster runner in his class. With the new school year, Jessie discovers a friend who not only can outrun him, but is also a girl named Leslie. Together they face schoolyard and life problems while building a fictional world in the forest named Terabithia.

Terabithia is a place where the children escape their day-to-day life and use the fictional space to process their problems and simply play with their imagination. It is a sweet call back to what it is like to be a child.

Right when you are enjoying everything, the story takes a turn. Jessie deals with the death of his friend and the emotions accompany a loss. As he works through grief he also is rebuilding himself; personally, this was my favorite part of the book. 

Like most famous books there is a certain amount of hype surrounding them. Terabithia is no exception to this. After reading Bridge to Terabithia I understand why it is a treasured classic, but honestly, Terabithia wasn’t for me. The writing was a tad dated and I don’t like books set in rural places. I didn’t hate Terabithia, or really dislike it, I knew a few chapters in I would finish it, but the story wasn’t for me. 

Bridge to Terabithia is best read by younger readers, older readers might grow bored of the day-to-day timeline. There are “hot topics” touched on that make it a relevant read in today’s world: identity, gender roles, bullying, death, and magic/imagination. Because of this Terabithia would make a great discussion piece for a classroom or book club.

Should you read Bridge to Terabithia? Yes! Terabithia has most definitely earned its spot on Time’s Best 100 YA list and in the hearts of many readers, just not mine.

Have you read Bridge to Terabithia? Did you like it? Was Bridge to Terabithia read to you as a child?


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