Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

The Boy on the Bridge
By: Natalie Standiford
Pub. Date: August 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 248
Source: Netgalley and TLA 2013

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei, and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia--a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she's been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right?

As June approaches--when Laura must return to the United States--Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She's only nineteen and doesn't think she's ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn't she take it?
I didn't realize that this book takes place in 1982, which made it so much more interesting. Laura is in Communist Soviet Union, and the government has so much control over it's people, it sickening. Laura has always wanted to go to Russia and learn more about the dark, bloody past of this country, but the college program she is does not allow for anything besides what is government approved. When she meets Alexei (who goes by Alyosha) she learns what life is really like for it's occupants.

I loved the connection between Laura and Alyosha. They were so cute together! Sometimes it was hard to figure out what Alyosha's true intentions were. We learn that many Russians would form relationships with the Americans, hoping that they would get married and be able to move to America. I hated not knowing what Alyosha true feelings for Laura were!

I didn't like how much Laura changed after meeting Alyosha. I understand that she didn't have much time with him since the program is over in a few weeks, but at the same time, I hated that she stopped caring completely about her education. She stopped going to class, doing her work and kept missing curfew. I also hated that Alyosha didn't care that she was doing it either. He should have been more supportive of her education, instead of not caring if she failed.

I absolutely loved learning about Russian history. That country really does have a terrifying past! Learning about the history was my favorite part of this book. Also, the writing and the descriptions were so vivid that I really felt like I was transported to Russia.

The ending was definitely bittersweet for me, but I think it was beautifully done! Despite how it ended, I couldn't help but have a smile on my face when I closed the book.

I highly recommend The Boy on the Bridge. It is a quick read and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!


  1. So glad you enjoyed this one. I have a copy sitting on my bookshelf that I was not sure about. Definitely going to give it a try.

    YA Sisterhood

  2. This is the first I've heard of this one, but think it sounds really interesting. I don't know that I've seen any other books that take place during the time in Russia and it definitely has me intrigued. I'll definitely be looking out for it.

  3. An accurate portrayal of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Terrifying and heartbreaking. Highly recommend.
    Top Alaska Fly Fishing


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