Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

The Boy on the Bridge Author: Natalie Standiford
Publication: July 30, 2013
By: Scholastic 
3 Stars

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?

Thank you YABC and Scholastic this ARC.  

What I Liked: The cover for THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE as well as the time period covered is what captured my initial interest. I was in grade school in the eighties and can remember the tension between U.S. and the U.S.S.R. quite well.

I thought the storyline was interesting, American girl goes to Russia, is rescued by a cute guy and despite their two countries being staunch enemies and the language barrier, they fall in love and make plans to live happily-ever-after! *cue the drama* I did enjoy how the author made a point of showing when the characters were speaking Russian and the difficulties everyone had with the translations, some of which were pretty funny. Alexi was the most interesting character and I wanted to believe that he truly was in love with Laura but what unfolds kept me guessing until the last page. 

While reading this book, I found myself thinking of my husband's cousin who married her own cute guy from Russia. (They met while on tour with a performing arts group. She sings, he dances.) They too have had to find a way to overcome the language barrier and I'm sure it wasn't easy at first for her parents and siblings when they decided to move to Russia to raise their little family. But they love each other and they find a way to make it work.

What Left Me Wanting More: I had a really hard time connecting with these characters, and truth be told, Laura annoyed me. I also wanted an epilogue of some kind, not necessarily a happily-ever-after, but closure.  This would have been a defining moment in Laura's life and I wanted to know how it affected her in the long term.

Final Verdict: Not exactly what I was expecting, but still a decent story. 

Check out these 4 and 5 Star reviews...
Ex Libris
Ms. Yingling Reads
Reading Teen

Review also posted at YABC.


  1. Sad that the characters were hard to connect to. I have a copy of this one, but I just don't know if it is for me :(

    YA Sisterhood

  2. This is a definitely a different kind of love story. I liked the overall plot but I don't think I really fell for the characters.

  3. Jennifer - I would still encourage you to give it a shot. :) Jess, Yeah, I didn't fall for them either. :/