The Boy on the Bridge, by Natalie Standiford
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Publication: July 30, 2013, by Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover Edition (borrowed)
Goodreads Summary: A new breathtaking novel from Natalie Standiford about love and trust during the Cold War.
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?
After reading Natalie's Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, I was absolutely ready for more from this upcoming unstoppable author. Natalie actually did have the opportunity to spend a year or so in Russia for college, just like Laura here did, and it seriously is an amazing experience, at least from what I can imagine and what we read about in this book. The only thing that questioned me was-- there wasn't really any huge signs of the Cold War occurring. Yes, there were some uncertainties going on, especially between men and women, but I didn't see any significant war going on.
Laura is in Russia for college for six months, January-June. She expects a quiet year in the country where she will learn the language and the culture more. Little does she know that she will fall in love with a young artist and he will introduce her into a new world of difference and unusual events. Alexei does love her, he's even said it, and Laura loves him back and the thought of going back home to America just haunts her, because all she needs is to be with Alexei forever.
The plot sounds very simple. And it is in a way. It's a very light quick read, but inside, there's so much going on and so much importance and love and friendship between the protagonists. Everything is very complex and is full of plot twists and all throughout I was never bored once. Standiford just created some sort of wonderful magic.
The biggest idea in this book was love, and in fact true love. Laura and Alexei's love was unbelievable and so beautiful that it's just too awesome for words. You will be addicted to them from the start.
The only flaw and con was LAURA.
This chick made the worst decisions at the worst time and was so stupid to even talk about. She was immature and weird and overly attached to Alexei. He's all she thought and thought and did I mention thought about? I don't think I wanted to be him...
"He removed his hands from her shoulders with effort, as if resisting a great magnetic force. He turned and walked away to the metro. She stood on the edge of the bridge for a long time, watching him."
Wow, what a sight to look at. Imagine her sitting there for hours, imagining that he's still walking away. x)
Alexei was just amazing beyond words. He was so hot and perfect and the most amazing guy. I loved him to death despite his deep dirty secrets.
Overall, this book was beautiful. I loved it so much and it was one of the best contemporaries I've read this year! <3 p="">