Review Detail

4.0 1
Young Adult Fiction 2723
Putting Problems into Perspective
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
So your alarm went off late, your car won’t start, your DVR forgot to record that latest episode of the “Real Housewives.” We all have so many problems. After reading Michael Harmon’s “Under the Bridge,” I’ve learned that all my so called “problems” don’t even come close!

“Under the Bridge” follows Tate, a seventeen-year-old high school boy whose life revolves around skating at the local skate park and hanging out with his crew. That is until his younger brother Indy decides to get himself kicked out of school, get in kahootz with the new meth dealer in town, and become an accessory to a brutal murder here and there. Now Tate has to find a way to save his brother from a life in prison without getting himself thrown behind bars.

After reading just the synopsis of Tate’s story, I think we can all agree that a malfunctioning DVR doesn’t even come close to a real problem. Tate’s ordeal really slapped me in the face as to how lucky I am to have a life that is relatively problem free. This is such an important message for teenage readers out there, especially at such a hormonal and emotional time in which every slight glitch seems like such a CATASTROPHE! Seeing Tate actually have to fight for the life of his loved ones really puts things into perspective. Maybe getting turned down by your crush, or having to stay home to do chores around the house, or missing out on that spot on the varsity team isn’t so bad after all. What Harmon shows us through Tate’s story is that it’s not giving up that matters. Tate’s determination shows readers that if you fight for what you know is right, things will eventually work out. Sure, it might not be in the most graceful of ways, but eventually, the pieces will all fall into place.

Another great aspect of Harmon’s writing is that his depiction of Tate’s struggles physically affects you. Seeing Tate go to drug infested warehouses in the search for his brother left my heart pounding to know if he was going to get out of there alive. I found myself saying “Ooooooooh” out loud as my brain didn’t know any other way to let out the tension I was feeling when Tate discovered his brother was using hard drugs. I clutched my heart as Tate risks his life and his freedom to scheme Indy out of the destitute situations he has put himself in.

Despite the cliché, Harmon keeps you on the edge of your seat, and there were literally times where I was perched on the edge of my seat with anxiety. Ultimately, I was able to lean back and take it all in, as Harmon delivers a solid finish that could have gone sappy, happy go lucky, but didn’t. Instead, there was a nice balance of the good and the bad, and really, that’s what life is all about: Finding the good things in life that encourage you to keep fighting and move forward despite the things that make you want to call it quits.
Good Points
Writing that makes you physically react.
A great example of how not to lead your life.
Lessons on learning to make seemingly cumbersome rules work to your advantage.
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